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Catching up with Velocity Fund $25K winners, EPOCH

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 one of the $25K winners, Jade Choi, Co-Founder of EPOCH, for a post-VFF update. You can watch their pitch from VFF online.

EPOCH is a skills and services marketplace that connects refugees and community members, using time as a means of exchange.

How has your company developed since winning VFF?
E: We finished up an accelerator in Boston, travelled to Europe (including Germany, the Netherlands, and Sweden) to meet with our partners and test our MVP in a refugee settlement. We also pitched at the UN Headquarters during the General Assembly, and met former President Bill Clinton!

What is your company currently working on?
E: We are focused on releasing our beta platform with a few pilot customers in early 2018.

What do you enjoy most about building a startup?
E: The constant learning and adapting to new discoveries and challenges. Also, getting to work together with people from different academic and professional backgrounds.

What did you like most about competing at VFF?
E: Being exposed to the incredibly supportive and collaborative ecosystem. I was so inspired by everyone’s passion. The feedback process leading up to the pitch was extremely constructive and valuable.

Are there any tips you can give to startups that are pitching?
E: For me, I chugged a large coffee right before going up, but I don’t think that’s for everyone. The usual tip: practice a lot. Also, I made my team glare at me while I practiced in front of them, because it used to throw me off when people would look disinterested or confused when I presented. At the end of the day, I think it’s key to remember everyone is out there to support you! The pitch is a small byproduct of all the hard work you and your team have put into actually building the startup. It’s exciting to share more about your startup, and know that “you is kind, you is smart, you is important” (that’s a quote from The Help – my brother/co-founder, Keith, always says to me before a pitch as a joke…sorta).

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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