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Catching up with Velocity Fund $10K winners, Vena Medical

This past July, Velocity hosted the Spring 2017 Velocity Fund Finals (VFF), a pitch competition that awards $125,000 each term to startups to help them build their business. We caught up with the $10K hardware winner, Michael Phillips, Co-Founder of Vena Medical, for a post-VFF update. You can watch their pitch from VFF online.

Vena Medical is making navigating through arteries faster, easier, and safer by providing physicians with a camera that sees through blood.

How has your company developed since winning VFF?
VM: Since winning the VFF hardware prize, the team was able to rapidly iterate through prototypes, and even managed to do a slight technology pivot that will significantly improve customer adoption. This culminated in us conducting our very first animal study on Halloween at the Texas Heart Institute’s Cardiovascular Research Lab with the world renowned Dr. Billy Cohn, which is a major milestone for the company. The resulting video is generating tons of buzz in our physician network.

What is your company currently working on?
VM: With a high-fidelity prototype, positive pre-clinical evidence, and a clear path to market, Vena Medical has opened a $1.5M seed round with the first tranche, allowing us to complete product development, conduct extensive pre-clinical studies, and file PCT’s on our provisional patents. The second tranche will be used to prepare for our FDA submission.

What do you enjoy most about building a startup?
VM: The best part about building a medical device startup is getting to create a solution for an unmet clinical need. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing your product in action – especially if it’s making life easier for both patients and physicians.

What did you like most about competing at VFF?
VM: For our team, the greatest part was the networking afterward. Making great connections with people when they already have a basic understanding of your business is a real game changer. We still keep in contact with several people we only met for the first time at VFF.

Are there any tips you can give to startups that are pitching?
VM: When you think you’ve practiced too much, keep practicing. There’s a plateau that needs to be overcome in order to become a truly great speaker. When all is said and done, be open to talking to anyone you can. Everyone has a different perspective and it’s your job to filter it and use it to your advantage.

On Thursday, November 30, another twenty startups will compete at the Velocity Fund Finals in the SLC at the University of Waterloo to pitch for their share of $125,000. Don’t miss this event by registering to attend! Come join us for a great event with awesome pitches and free boxed lunches for the first 200 attendees. Audience members and live stream participants will also have a chance to win 1 of 5 Google Home speaker sets!


The Fall 2017 Velocity Fund Finals is sponsored by Thomson ReutersSequoia, and Magna

Thomson Reuters provides professionals with the intelligence, technology and human expertise they need to find trusted answers in the financial and risk, legal, tax and accounting, and media markets. The new Thomson Reuters Toronto Technology Centre will create 1,500 high-quality technology jobs in Canada and accelerate research for cognitive computing, visualization, UX, and cloud development.

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