Catching up with Velocity Fund $25K winner, Envoi

Last November, Velocity hosted the Fall 2017 Velocity Fund Finals (VFF), a pitch competition that awards a share of $130,000 in funding each term to help startups build their business. Next Wednesday, March 28, we will host the 21st Velocity Fund Finals, to witness another 20 startups breaking new ground and pitching their innovative startups (register here). We caught up with one of the $25K winners from last term, Maarij Rehman, CEO of Envoi, for a post-VFF update. Watch their pitch from last term.

Envoi offers retailers an infrastructure for same day delivery in order to meet consumer demand that is not currently fulfilled by traditional courier services.

Q: How has your company developed since winning VFF?

E: Since last fall, we have launched in the GTA, our biggest Canadian market, and have been adding new clients to our portfolio every week. We placed an importance on ramping up sales and reaching scale as quickly as possible. Our next stop later this year will be the North-Eastern US.

Q: What is your company currently working on?

E: We’re redesigning the front end that our consumers use, while monitoring and iterating on the data we get from everyday operations. Once the new console is done we’ll move towards developing an API for our enterprise customers, so they can connect directly to our back end.

Q: What do you enjoy most about building a startup?

E: For us at Envoi, what drives and inspires us the most is knowing that we are creating something of value to others. Every time a customer responds in the affirmative, saying that they are desperate for a solution to the problem we are solving, it gives us another reason to keep going and be better. Six months ago, what we are doing didn’t exist for them. Now it does, and we made that happen. The feeling that knowledge induces is addictive.

Q: What did you like most about competing at VFF?

E: The most enjoyable part for me was the overall environment leading up to the big day. This is where the value of having a network like Velocity really becomes apparent: practice sessions in which past VFF winners give you feedback to increase your chances of winning, having access to so many people willing to help you improve and push you to be better, when they have no obligation to do so. You don’t realize how much these things matter until you need them, and it is quite a humbling and inspiring experience.

Q: Are there any tips you can give to startups that are pitching?

E: This is your moment to shine. Be proud of what you have done, and let that pride show in your pitch. The judges and the audience won’t believe in the importance of your solution until you do with all your heart. You will be feeling a lot of emotions on the big day, so channel them into the pitch. Let your frustration show when you talk about the problem, let your inspiration show when you talk about your solution, and let your happiness show when you talk about your differentiation and traction. These are small things, but in a room where you are up against nine other equally impressive companies, the smallest things can sometimes make the difference.

Come join us on Wednesday, March 28, as another twenty startups will take the stage at the Velocity Fund Finals in the University of Waterloo Student Life Centre (SLC) to pitch their startup ventures. Don’t miss your chance to attend the event – register here! Audience members and live stream participants will have a chance to win 1 of 5 Fitbit Flex 2 Fitness Trackers!

The Winter 2018 Velocity Fund Finals is sponsored by Thomson Reuters, Sequoia, 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.