capstone

Two Velocity Science startups awarded $50k each to further their companies post-graduation

Capstone Design provides University of Waterloo Engineering students with the unique opportunity to conceptualize and design a project related to their discipline in their final year of study. Since 2014, the Palihapitiya Lau Venture Creation Fund has awarded two prizes of $50,000 to Waterloo Engineering students who plan on continuing to develop their Capstone Design project post-graduation. Today it was announced that two Velocity Science startups, Vena Medical and VivaSpire, are this year’s recipients.

Vena Medical is a team of two Mechanical Engineering students, Phillip Cooper and Michael Phillips. Together they have developed SWIRVE, a short wave infrared vascular endoscope that is small enough to be snaked through arteries and transmit images to a camera and a monitor outside the body. To date, the duo has put in countless hours developing a prototype that can see through water, and they have also scrubbed to watch surgeries at a hospital in London. Vena Medical is also one of 20 companies competing for a share of $125,000 in funding at the Velocity Fund Finals on March 30th.

Christopher Hajduk, John Grousopoulos, and Mostafa Saquib are Nanotechnology Engineering students and the co-founders of VivaSpire, a start-up that’s developing a lighter and longer-lasting portable oxygen concentrator. It’s the beginning of their long-term goal to develop a concentrator that is a wearable technology. They plan to use the $50k to invest in hardware to improve their nanoparticle production process so that they can achieve a high-performance prototype by the end of the summer.

“This award is going to accelerate our first steps towards filling up antique stores with heavy oxygen therapy equipment.”
– John Grousopoulos, Co-founder of VivaSpire

Thanks to the support of Waterloo alumni Chamath Palihapitiya and Brigette Lau, founders of Social Capital, these entrepreneurial student teams will be able to continue to develop their companies. The fund expects teams to commit to working full-time for at least four months after graduation, which these startups will be able to do through workspace and mentorship provided by Velocity.