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So you think you can win a pitch competition? What you need to know about the Velocity Fund $25K

Velocity is excited to open applications for the Velocity Fund $25K Startup Investments this week! While there are some changes from previous competitions that applicants need to know, Velocity is still looking for one key ingredient: inspiring, ambitious entrepreneurs. If you have an amazing idea that can change the world, or if you need help turning your unicorn into a reality, apply today!

I am interested in the Velocity Fund $25K Startup Investments. Tell me more.

The Velocity Fund $25K Startup Investments provide four scalable startups with early-stage funding to get their product up to the market faster. Velocity is focused on scalable companies (software, hardware, science, and social impact businesses) that use technology as a core aspect of the business. Velocity and the University of Waterloo (UWaterloo) are known for engineering and technology, so having a working prototype is strongly encouraged as it helps demonstrate your ability to execute. Tech startups who wish to pitch at the competition should apply here before February 24, 2019. After applications close, top applicants will be invited for an interview with a panel of Velocity leaders and alumni on March 7, 2019. The top ten startups chosen from the interviews will be able to present their pitch at the Velocity Fund Finals $25K, where they will compete to win one of four $25,000 investments.

I have heard of the Velocity Fund $25K before. What has changed?

On Wednesday, January 16, we announced that Velocity is changing the Velocity Fund $25K pitch competition in a major way. Here is everything you need to know about the new and improved competition:

  1. Investments instead of grants: Winning startups will receive a minimum investment from an AngelList powered Venture Fund instead of grant funding.
  2. Modified applicant criteria for the $25K competition: This year we are including any startup (with or without UWaterloo affiliation) at the Velocity Garage incubator and/or any UWaterloo grad who has convocated in the past 10 years. For more information on eligibility and criteria, click here. If you are interested in applying to our incubator, check out the application form.
  3. Off UWaterloo campus event: The Velocity Fund Finals $25K pitch competition will be held on March 27 at the Tannery.

Who won the Velocity Fund $25K prizes last time?

On November 27, 2018, the following four teams competed at the 23rd Velocity Fund Finals $25K grant competition and won $25,000 each for their startup.

  1. Brink Bionics
    Brink Bionics is developing bionic arms with machine learning that integrate with the human body and provide amputees with a more intuitive experience. Watch their pitch here
  2. CataLight
    CataLight is making safe drinking water accessible for all by developing a new kind of water treatment solution. Watch their pitch here
  3. Pulse Industrial
    Pulse Industrial is developing a smart monitoring system for steam traps to improve safety and reduce CO2 emissions. Watch their pitch here
  4. Membio
    Membio is developing the first truly scalable biological manufacturing platform. Watch their pitch here.

Intelline also won the $10K hardware prize. Intelline designs and manufactures affordable and scalable cryocoolers, enabling the widespread commercial use of superconductor-based technologies. Watch their pitch here

I’m a new startup company. What are 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 startups 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 the Velocity Fund $25K Investment Pitch Competition:

  • January 28, 2019Applications open for Velocity Fund $25K
  • February 24, 2019 – Applications close for Velocity Fund $25K
  • March 7, 2019 – Velocity Fund $25K company Interviews
  • March 27, 2019 – Velocity Fund Finals $25K

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