Pitching as a student? What you need to know about Velocity Fund $5K

Calling all University of Waterloo entrepreneurs! Applications for the Velocity Fund $5K Student Grants are open and waiting for your amazing innovative ideas! Compete in the VFF $5K by presenting a 3-minute pitch to a panel of judges to win one of four $5,000 grant prizes and help build your start-up.

I am interested in the Velocity Fund $5K Student Grants. Tell me more.

The Velocity Fund $5K Student Grant is an early-stage pitch competition for University of Waterloo students. Students who wish to pitch their innovative idea should apply before February 17, 2019. After applications close, top applicants are invited to pitch their start-up ideas in front of a panel of judges on either March 5th or 6th. The top five teams from each night qualify to pitch at the Velocity Fund Finals, where they compete for one of four $5,000 student grant prizes.

I competed in the Velocity Fund $5K before. What has changed?

There are two major changes applicants and attendees should be aware of: additional $5K prizes and the Velocity Fund Finals.

This winter, Velocity is partnering with Ontario’s Ministry for Seniors and Accessibility (MSAA) and GreenHouse and offering four additional $5,000 prizes for ideas that directly tackle an accessibility issue. Teams that are invited to pitch at the qualifiers on March 5th and 6th will be eligible to win this prize along with a chance to compete at the Velocity Fund Finals. Therefore, an eventual winner of Velocity Fund $5K Student Grants can win up to $10,000 worth of grants.

Velocity Fund Finals will become a 2-day event. The ten $5K Finalists of Velocity Fund Finals will compete on the first day – March 26, 2019. There will be more than just pitches on that day. Stay tuned for more announcements.

Who won the Velocity Fund $5K prizes last time?

Fall 2018 VFF $5K Winners:

On November 27, 2018, the following four teams competed at the 23rd Velocity Fund Finals $5K competition and won $5,000 each for their start-up idea.

  1. FEM in STEM
    FEM in STEM empowers young women to develop careers in underrepresented industries through programming and resources. Watch their pitch here.
  2. Material Futures Lab
    Material Futures Lab uses bacteria to create natural eco-friendly pigments for textile dyeing. Watch their pitch here.
  3. Oleotech
    Oleotech is using oleophilic properties of fibre from waste tires to remove hydrocarbons in stormwater runoff. Watch their pitch here.
    Learn about the start-up’s progress in the industry here.
  4. PriveHealth
    PriveHealth is a gamified cybersecurity training platform for healthcare professionals. Watch their pitch here. 

I’m a new University of Waterloo student. What is the Velocity Fund Finals?

As the story goes, the Velocity Fund Finals were established in 2011 when Kik founder, Ted Livingston, benevolently donated $1 million to the University of Waterloo. Since 2011, Velocity has held three pitch competitions a year and supported over 90 grant-winning startups. In 2013, Velocity received a donation from the founders of Bufferbox, Mike McCauley, Aditya Bali, and Velocity’s own, Jay Shah. Their generous donation sparked creation for another award, which was given to winning start-ups to build successful hardware. Velocity also received another $1 million donation from local Angel Investor Mike Stork to extend the momentum of student entrepreneurs at the University of Waterloo. In January 2019, Velocity announced that the pitch competition was going to evolve in order to better fund the best entrepreneurs.

For more information on the Velocity Fund Finals and the changes, click here.

TL: DR: Dates to Watch For Velocity Fund $5K Student Grant Pitch Competition:

January 21, 2019Applications open for Velocity Fund $5K
February 17, 2019 – Applications close for Velocity Fund $5K
March 5, 2019 – Velocity Fund $5K Qualifier: Night 1
March 6, 2019 – Velocity Fund $5K Qualifier: Night 2
March 26, 2019 – Velocity Fund Finals $5K

The Winter 2019 Velocity Fund Finals is sponsored by Thomson Reuters.