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Chris Thiele wrote his last exam of the spring term in the middle of August, and by the first week of September, he began his second Enterprise Co-op (E Co-op) term on a plane to Hong Kong.

Balancing the roles of student and startup founder has become routine for the 4A electrical and computer engineering student. He has been working on the smart gardening system Grobo since spring 2014, when he met his co-founder Bjorn Dawson in Conrad’s BET 300: Foundations of Venture Creation class.

With four months to focus solely on building Grobo, Chris charted an ambitious course that took him from Hong Kong, to the manufacturing ​centres of China, to California, and back to Waterloo in time for the E Co-op end-of-term presentations—with many lessons learned along the way.

I would like to introduce you to Danny Yaroslavski, who is the founder of Lightbot, a startup dedicated to teaching kids to code through gaming. This alumnus worked full-time on Lightbot during his Spring 2013 Enterprise Co-op term and further developed his business in Conrad's BET 300: Foundations of Venture Creation course.

Lightbot was featured prominently in Hour of Code 2014, an international initiative to introduce millions of young students to one hour of computer science and programming. Lightbot is used by students worldwide and is available to play in 29 languages.

Danny has received considerable recognition for his innovative work, winning a Velocity Fund Finals award of $25,000 and being named to Forbes Top 30 Under 30 in the education category.

In September, I participated in Hack the North with my Suncayr co-founders, Derek Jouppi and Andrew Martinko, and our classmate Dave Badami. Hack the North is Canada's largest international hackathon, where students come together for 36 hours to collaboratively code a unique solution to a problem from scratch. For those familiar with Suncayr’s technology (a marker ink that tells you when to reapply sunscreen), you may be wondering what on earth we were doing at a hackathon. For us, it was all about networking. We found out that Sam Altman, the president of Y Combinator, was going to be there, so we knew that we had to go too.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

My first Velocity Fund Finals

Thursday March 27th was the first time I attended the Velocity Fund Finals (VFF). While I have previously heard about the event, I've always missed the pitch competitions.

At this term's VFF, ambitious Waterloo students pitched their startup ideas to a panel of judges to win funding. The VFF event was an exciting day with great opportunities for networking, enjoying our university's innovative and entrepreneurial culture, and learning about some of the amazing things fellow students are involved in.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

5 Lessons from Silicon Valley

Harry Gandhi, an Enterprise Co-op (E Co-op) and BET 300 student, recently traveled to Silicon Valley to attend Startup Grind 2014 and a "Biotech Business Bootcamp" as a semi-finalist in the OneStart Competition, the world's largest biotech idea competition.

As entrepreneurs, most of us will probably end up going to Silicon Valley at some point, whether it’s to meet potential investors, build relationships or learn about the "Valley mentality."

These are five main take-aways I learnt in my recent trip to Silicon Valley.

Calvin Chu has travelled from Waterloo, Ontario to San Francisco, California to Shenzhen, China all to develop his startup, Palette. What started as a fourth year design project during Calvin's Mechatronics degree at the University of Waterloo quickly grew into an international entrepreneurial pursuit.

Palette is a freeform, tactile interface that gives hands-on control of your favourite software.

Palette is a hardware platform made up of a variety of modules that lets you build a physical interface customized to your personal needs. Each module has a single physical input, like a button, dial or a slider. You snap together modules like Lego, no coding or soldering required!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Imran is different. Are you?

Imran is different. Are you?

To cap off Global Entrepreneurship Week, we are happy to share a video of young entrepreneur Imran Jiwa. Imran, a University of Waterloo undergraduate student studying Arts and Business, has a strong entrepreneurial spirit, which naturally led him to the Conrad Centre. Imran is currently enrolled in Conrad’s BET300: Foundations of Venture Creation course, an introductory undergraduate course that guides students through processes of turning an idea into a venture. Course instructor, Wayne Chang, noticed Imran’s talent early on.