The Velocity Garage is a springboard for high-performance founders and startups.

The Velocity Garage incubator is home base to 80+ early-stage startups building technology-based businesses in the heart of Waterloo Region.

Our program provides valuable resources to founders and startups, including:

  • workspace for your company
  • a dedicated/full-time Business Advisor Team
  • being part of a community of high-performance startups and founders (many of whom will be further along in developing their startup than you, so you can learn from their experiences)
  • access to the Velocity network, including alumni companies, investors, and industry experts

Velocity does not charge rent or take equity to join the Garage but we do expect startups to contribute back to the program. Your startup must be your number one priority and we expect that you will be an active member of our community, engaging with and lending your expertise to other peer startups.

Companies accepted into the Velocity Garage have access to our 37,000 sq. ft. facility, located in the Tannery in downtown Kitchener. The facility includes workspace, meeting rooms, a science lab, assembly space, workshop, and prototyping lab, as well as a fitness room and small basketball court.

Velocity invests a lot of resources (both tangible and intangible) into our companies. Our goal is to see these resources translate into higher-growth, faster-moving, more competitive, more ambitious companies. The startup path isn’t easy and we’re not here to make it any easier, just more fruitful.

The energy in the Velocity Garage is infectious and provides an environment of (somewhat controlled) creative chaos married with a productization focus that enables founders to realize their maximum potential. Velocity companies think big and have the execution horsepower to back up those aspirations; as evidenced by the fact that they have raised over $500 million in funding and have customers worldwide. Come and see first-hand what the Velocity Garage is all about, request a tour.

 

APPLY TO THE VELOCITY GARAGE

CRITERIA

1. Team

Our primary focus is supporting University of Waterloo alumni and students, however we do consider exceptional applicants with different backgrounds from around the world.

2. Business concept and opportunity

When considering your fit for the Velocity Garage, we look at the underlying problem space you’re trying to solve to determine if the basis for a high-growth tech company exists. That being said, we recognize that in the early-stages of a startup everything can change substantially, so we’re also looking at founding teams that show the characteristics of high-growth company builders.

3. Company revenue and size

We are most effective helping startups that are generating less than $250,000 in annual revenue and with less than 10 team members, and limited operational experience. It’s AWESOME if you’re generating more revenue or have grown your team larger than that but we’re probably not the right fit in that case.

4. Contribution to the startup community

The community is a huge asset to startups in the program, however it’s only as strong as its members are willing to invest their time and energy into helping each other. This isn’t a huge time commitment (we don’t want to take away focus from your startup), it’s about being engaged, connecting with your peers and sharing your lessons learnt, and domain expertise where appropriate, within the community. If you’re looking for heads-down ‘leave-me-alone’ space, we’re probably not the right fit.

 

PROGRAM STRUCTURE*

During your time in Velocity, recurring board meetings are held between you and (typically two) Velocity Business Advisors. These board meetings enable your Advisors to support you, push you outside your comfort-zone, and hold you accountable to your company’s success. Advisors will ask difficult questions, identify weaknesses and risks in your business, and raise concerns about your trajectory. Advisors will provide guidance on how to approach some of the biggest challenges facing you and your company. These meetings are not formal Board of Directors meetings; however we do conduct them in a similar format and style that is fine-tuned to push founders to achieve their maximum potential.

The Velocity Garage is split into 3 stages of companies, described at a high level below:

Stage 1: The goal of Stage 1 is to ensure you have enough information to justify spending the majority of your time building your product. This means having an in-depth understanding of questions like:

  • who is your target customer?
  • what problem(s) are you solving for them?
  • what is the value of that problem being solved for them?
  • how will you target/identify your customers?
  • how will you sell/distribute to them?
  • is your solution conducive to adoption?

For some companies, there are specific additional questions that need addressing to warrant moving onto building your product, such as:

  • what regulations apply to your business?
  • how will you satisfy them? In what timeline? At what cost?
  • what certifications do you need to sell your product?
  • what type of testing or trials are necessary?
  • what intellectual property is most important to pursue?

Much of Stage 1 will focus on reaching out to customers or prospective-customers. You might think people want your product, but that is not sufficient, you need to get real market data points.  

Additionally, think of Stage 1 like a three month ‘startup probation’. The Velocity program is not suitable for every startup (and vice-versa). This period of time allows both yourself and Velocity to ensure there is a good fit with the program and the community of other startups.

Stage 2: With the insights you have from Stage 1, you’ll be well equipped to focus on building your product and getting early adoption and/or investment. You should be ready to pursue either:

  1. Building a minimum viable product that is the optimal trade-off between value to your customers and the fastest possible timeline to sell/deliver. Now is the time to build, secure a pilot (or many), secure your first sales/partnerships, and potentially secure investment.
  2. Building and validating your technology in a way that optimizes the trade-off between product readiness and technology demonstration, in order to attract substantial investment to support the longer-timeline productization of your technology.

Stage 3: With the product and/or technology progress from Stage 2, you’ll likely start focusing on either:

  • establishing a repeatable sales pipeline/process to accelerate your revenue growth
  • moving from technological derisking (proof of concept, proof of principle) to a more polished and developed version of your product

In this stage, your goal should be to become self-sufficient of Velocity (e.g. via investment or revenue)

Alumni: When a company moves out of the Garage, they are still part of the Velocity family. While structured engagement ends, the Business Advisor team is happy to continue to help founders/startups on an as-needed basis. Alumni continue to be included within our network and the benefits that come with that (e.g. introductions to potential investors) and are invited to various Velocity events.

* We’re constantly changing things to better enable us to help startups and founders. Treat this as a high-level overview, and expect things to constantly evolve over time.

Sound like a great fit for your startup?

Apply to the Velocity Garage