About the Velocity program
What would happen if we took the University of Waterloo’s brightest students and gave them access to a learning-focused community of mentors and like-minded peers, the latest equipment, and the resources to turn their business ideas into successful startups? What better place to build such a unique community than University of Waterloo, which Maclean’s Magazine has named “Canada’s most innovative university” 21 years running.
With these questions in mind, the University of Waterloo’s Velocity program was born. Drawing on the Region of Waterloo’s thriving startup community and the University of Waterloo’s most ambitious, entrepreneurial students, Velocity’s first program — the Velocity Residence — was created in 2008. In the years since, Velocity has grown into a set of six interlinked entrepreneurial initiatives: Velocity Residence, Velocity Garage, Velocity Alpha, Velocity Science, Velocity Foundry and the Velocity Fund Finals (VFF).
Each of these unique initiatives supports Velocity’s vision of developing an engaging community that fosters creativity and entrepreneurship while turning students’ ideas into sustainable businesses. They also form the perfect complement to the environment at uWaterloo — a university that holds entrepreneurship as one of its key pillars — by equipping students with the knowledge and tools necessary to navigate the entrepreneurial space, supporting knowledge sharing among peers, providing access to a diverse network of mentors, and allowing students to maintain ownership of their intellectual property.
Velocity’s commitment to education, idea sharing and the creation of support systems has allowed it to become a highly successful startup community, which contributed to the success of companies like Kik, Thalmic Labs, BufferBox, Vidyard and MappedIn.
Mike Kirkup is Director at Velocity, the University of Waterloo’s startup incubator. Mike joined the Velocity team in 2012 to help foster entrepreneurship throughout the University of Waterloo and the startup community of Kitchener-Waterloo. During his time at Velocity, he has mentored such startup successes as BufferBox, MappedIn and Thalmic Labs, to name a few.
Mike understands both the creative and commercial paths to building successful businesses. For over a decade, he mentored hundreds of startups focused on developing mobile applications. His approachable demeanor and deep understanding of entrepreneurial culture has made him a notable influencer across the Velocity community, Kitchener-Waterloo.
As a student, Mike spent several years at the University of Waterloo, completing an undergraduate degree in Math and a Masters in Management of Technology.
As our Associate Director, Nancy makes sure everything at Velocity runs smoothly. Immersed in an energetic atmosphere, she finds it inspiring to be around passionate students who are working hard to make their entrepreneurship dreams a reality. To her, success means finding your passion; something Velocity students do every day. Nancy has been part of Waterloo for 20 years, both as a student and a staff member in Development & Alumni Affairs, Communications & Public Affairs and Marketing & Undergraduate Recruitment.
Associate Director, Velocity Foundry
Peter provides design, manufacturing, and process support to companies involved with the brand new Foundry program. Gained from a long and diverse career in mechanical engineering and manufacturing, Peter specializes in supporting the teams with the expertise needed to develop physical product. Peter’s favourite thing about Velocity is working with the incredible array of companies and entrepreneurs involved with the program. He is incredibly happy to be able to share everything he has done in his career to help teams develop their ideas. Their intelligence, enthusiasm, and spirit is awe inspiring to see and keeps Peter’s love of engineering alive.
Associate Director, Velocity Garage
Wes is overseer and uber coach at Velocity Garage, a startup incubation space focused on building great software companies from concept to commercialization.
His career in tech has spanned a number of sectors, including automotive, financial services, education, government, insurance, social entrepreneurship, and not-for–profits, to name a few. In the category of software and mobile app development, he has built solutions for notables like AutoTrader, Equitable Life, ING Direct, Yellow Pages, the WWE, and a number of startups. He has run several student and youth venture capital programs complete with coaching and training. He has even founded and operated several technology companies of his own in Kitchener-Waterloo, including his latest startup, BitBakery, which he continues to oversee alongside his full-time responsibilities at Velocity.
Head of Public Relations
Victoria is the head of Public Relations at Velocity and is the go-to person for Velocity businesses and students who need guidance in telling their story to media and influencers.
Victoria has more than 15 years’ experience in the communications field and is passionate about audience definition, story-driven communications, collaboration and relationship building. She spent almost 10 years in the trenches of tech and regional journalism as an editor at Computerworld Canada and as a writer and columnist for community papers in Toronto.
It’s also important to note that she can pretty much say every line of Ghostbusters.
As Manager, Operations for Velocity, Sarah keeps the ship sailing smoothly with responsibility for facilities, finances and reporting. With this new role, Sarah continues her Velocity
career after managing their events and programs.
Sarah has been with the University of Waterloo and its programs for the last decade and embraces the enthusiasm and passion that the Velocity companies and students embody. She is thrilled to work with the companies and be part of the excitement that these entrepreneurs bring to their startups.
One her favourite ways to spend her off time is helping family and friends plan events, from birthdays, to special events to weddings.
519 404 7465
Manager, Velocity Programs
As manager of Velocity Programs, Erika enjoys planning and attending all sorts of events, from dinners to Velocity Fund Finals! In fact, as a fourth year French & Business student at University of Waterloo, she spent 8 months studying in France, planning her travels to neighbouring countries, and to various cafés for coffee and baked goods. Erika also loves to bake, often sending emails around the Garage to spread the word on delicious treats at her desk. Erika’s favourite thing about working at Velocity is meeting tons of new people and hearing about innovative startup ideas!
Director of Research Initiatives & Entrepreneurship , Faculty of Science
As the Faculty of Science’s Director for Research Initiatives & Entrepreneurship, Marc is responsible for the operation of the Velocity Science lab. Marc is a proud alumnus of the University of Waterloo’s Honours Biochemistry program and is a former researcher who holds a Master’s degree in Drug Design & Biomedical Science from Edinburgh Napier University and a PhD from the University of Dundee, Scotland, where he investigated chemotherapies for African sleeping sickness, a neglected disease found throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Prior to joining the Faculty of Science, Marc worked as a business developer with Mitacs and he is currently completing his MBA.
519 888 4567 ext. 32089
Marketing Assistant, Velocity
Mitchell is the Marketing Assistant for Velocity, and as such regulates social media daily, creates blog posts, sends out the weekly updates, photographs events and does whatever else is needed. Mitchell is in his third year at the University of Waterloo and is in the Arts and Business program, majoring in Speech Communication with specializations in both Interpersonal Communication and Intercultural Communication. He loves the vibrant, diverse, fast-paced, and hardworking atmosphere at Velocity and comes to work each day excited to learn as much as he can while on his co-op term here. On top of being a communication’s student, Mitch also studies languages and is involved on campus with coordinating the International and Canadian Student Network.
226 339 8109
Programs Assistant, Velocity
As Programs Assistant, Melissa is very involved in the behind-the-scenes organizing and coordinating of events at Velocity. She helps out with weekly workshops, dinners, the Velocity Fund Finals, and a whole bunch of other fun stuff. Melissa is in her third year at the University of Waterloo in the Recreation and Leisure Studies Program. She loves spending time outside whenever possible. Melissa also competes in a number of sports such as lifesaving, ringette, and ultimate frisbee.
226 220 7257
Facilities Assistant, Velocity
Phil is the Facilities Assistant at the Velocity Garage and is tasked with aiding the teams within the overall facility. He manages the entrance process of entering companies, and serves as an important cog in the well-oiled machine that is Velocity. He just completed his second year in the Recreation and Sports Business program at the University of Waterloo. He likes everything that revolves around sports and loves to travel. In his spare time he enjoys photography, playing guitar and cooking.
226 220 8037