The Quantum Valley Investments® Problem Pitch Competition


Velocity and the Problem Lab present the Quantum Valley Investments® Problem Pitch. The competition invites teams of up to four students to choose an important industry problem, and thoroughly research it to understand its history, scope, and impact, before pitching the findings to a panel of judges on June 14, to compete for a share of up to $15,000 in grant funding.*

The winning team will demonstrate the best understanding of an important problem and will win $5,000 to be used to fund R&D for a venture that solves the problem identified. The 2nd place team will win $2,500, and the audience will decide which team wins the 3rd place People’s Choice Award! Both the 1st and 2nd place teams will be under consideration to double their prize winnings post-event if they are able to demonstrate financial need and progress over time, in consultation with the Problem Lab.

The Quantum Valley Investments® Problem Pitch Competition applications have closed, register to attend in the audience.

Read about the Winter 2018 winner, Exor!

Pitches are not to exceed five minutes and must clearly answer the Problem Pitch questions, with research and sources cited:



  • Document the number and characteristics of those affected by the problem.
  • Determine how relatively important the problem is to those affected.
  • Solving the problem should produce global sales of at least one billion dollars in the near to medium term.

You may wish to consult market research and media articles to acquire this information about your specific problem.


  • What are the causes and effects of the problem?
  • Is your problem a primary problem – one that causes other problems?
  • Or is your problem a secondary problem – one that is caused by other problems? [Solving a primary problem would solve other problems, amplifying its effect.]
  • What circumstances or conditions affect the problem?

Consult media articles, industry research, and people within your own network to help uncover what important problems exist.


The history of the problem provides the insight necessary for an excellent solution.

  • How long has the problem been recognized?
  • Does the problem appear to be growing in importance?
  • Has the scale of the problem changed?
  • Has there been a change in those affected by the problem?
  • Have the causes or effects of the problem changed?
  • Have the circumstances and conditions affecting the problem changed over time?
  • Has the primacy of the problem changed over time?

Consult academic research, government sources, industry research, textbooks, and media articles to gain greater insight into your specific problem.


  • Describe previous attempts to solve the problem. [You need to know why they failed. You are looking for a specific mistake, one that you can take action to correct.]
  • Identifying an actionable mistake is essential since it tells you where to start your own research for a solution.


Important Dates:

  • Applications Open: Tuesday, May 1
  • Application Deadline: Monday, May 21 at 11:59pm
  • Research Workshop:** Wednesday, May 23
  • Problem Methodology Workshop:** Thursday, May 24
  • Problem Topic Deck Submission Deadline: Sunday, June 3 at 11:59pm
  • Problem Pitch Finalists Notified: Tuesday, June 5
  • Practice Pitching Session: Friday, June 8 and Monday, June 11
  • Quantum Valley Investments® Problem Pitch Competition: Thursday, June 14, 7:00pm – 10:00pm

** Optional but strongly recommended.



This competition is open to teams of 1 to 4 people. We encourage your team to bring together individuals from diverse backgrounds and areas of study. The team member pitching at the Quantum Valley Investments® Problem Pitch Competition must be a current full-time, or part-time University of Waterloo student (undergraduate or graduate), and is encouraged to attend prep sessions prior to the competition.

*Funding won at the Quantum Valley Investments® Problem Pitch Competition is to be used for R&D to develop a solution to the problem and must be used within 1 year of receiving the funding. It will be administered by reimbursing approved expenses – receipts and documentation must be provided for reimbursement. Competition organizers will determine if an expense is eligible or not. The decision to award one or two competition winners is at the judges’ discretion. First and second place Problem Pitch winners may be eligible for additional funding, up to the amount of the initial funding, based on their R&D progress. The Quantum Valley Investments® Problem Pitch Competition is a collaboration between Velocity and the Problem Lab.