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Catching up with Velocity Fund $25K winner, Bibu Labs

Last March, Velocity hosted the Winter 2018 Velocity Fund Finals, a pitch competition that awards a share of $130,000 in funding each term to help startups build their business. Next Wednesday, July 25, we will host the 22nd 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, Tahseen Shabab, Founder of Bibu Labs, for a post-VFF update. Watch their pitch from last term. See also, our update for Fuzzbuzz, with more updates coming this week.

Bibu Labs provides dynamic defence mechanism against cyberattacks.

Q: How has your company developed since winning VFF?

Tahseen: Since VFF, we have gotten significant interest from both the Industry and Academia. For instance, a large North American Defence group visited us at Velocity Garage for a demo and we are currently in active conversation. In May, we were invited to present at a Major AI Conference,”AISquared Forum”, hosted by UofT and Tsinghua University along with delegates from Google, IBM, MIT and more. Also, we have been invited to demo in front of 200+ professionals from the Financial and Telecommunication sectors in Mid August in Toronto. We have recently secured strategic partnerships with IBM and Splunk enabling us to reside as an App into QRadar and Enterprise Security SIEM platforms respectively. This enables us to target their existing customers, coauthor white papers and lower the cost of adaptation of our solution. De-risking our customers is paramount to our company, and we have designed a proprietary mechanism to make our core solution fault tolerant to human error.

Q: What is your company currently working on?

Tahseen: We are currently working on transforming our initial POC into a simplified version of our end product. This would enable us to deploy our solution in customer environments to collect real-time data and generate some revenue. We are also looking towards growing our team.

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

Tahseen: Bibu Labs has enabled me to continue my journey in the field I love, and has enabled me to meet some interesting people along the way. For instance, prior to starting Bibu Labs, I would frequently travel from Toronto to Waterloo to meet Professor Larry Smith, who has greatly impacted my way of thinking. Over the past few months, I have got mentorship from 2 xCEOs with $100M+ exits in Cybersecurity, CISOs and Senior Executives of major firms and other experienced professionals in Cybersecurity and AI.

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

Tahseen: The Velocity team did an excellent job with the decor and marketing of the event. I thought the design of the VFF Booklet was genius. The flawless organization of the event made all the hard work put in during preparation worthwhile.

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

Tahseen: Some of the most effective preparation strategies I received were from my Velocity mentors. One of these strategies is the concept of “Anchoring”. The trick is to orient your pitch with visual queues on your slide. I would randomly shuffle my deck and practice resuming my pitch instantly. This technique reduces the likely hood of stalling during the pitch. Another strategy that helped me a lot was to practice to the point where I would subconsciously repeated my pitch during my sleep. I also benefited from the constant reminder to be as clear as concise as possible. In addition, I used two strategies I developed during my days performing as a guitarist at large rock concerts. The objective of these strategies was to calm my nerves on pitch day. First, while practicing for the pitch, I would go to an empty room and visualize a large crowd/audience in front of me. I have never pitched before VFF, and this strategy helped me out a lot. Secondly, on the day of the pitch, I was listening to a certain kind of music from the time I entered the Grand Hall till the point my name was called by Jay to step on stage. This helped me detach myself from the noise of the competition and stay focused during the pitch.

Come join us on Wednesday, July 25, 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 pairs of Beats headphones or portable Bluetooth speakers!

The Spring 2018 Velocity Fund Finals is sponsored by Thomson Reuters and Magna.