Velocity Fund $5K finalists, guest speaker named
The Velocity Fund Finals $5K competition provides equity-free grants to early-stage student startups to help remove some of the barriers that hinder entrepreneurial growth. The ten finalists will be pitching in the Student Life Centre next Thursday, July 18 for a share of $20,000 in prize money.
University of Waterloo students will have exactly 3-minutes to pitch their solution to a real-world problem and convince an esteemed panel of judges that they should win one of four $5,000 prizes. Ideas range from an implantable biosensor to detect hip and knee replacement infections, to a home appliance that extracts cannabis concentrate.
The Velocity Fund $5K finalists include:
- Clout AI, which provides a data analytics platform for music industry professionals to maximize sales and gain insight into trending performers;
- Counter Culture, which is creating a consumer-focused home appliance that extracts cannabis concentrate safely and easily;
- Emergency Response Africa (ERA), an EMS technology company that provides care to victims at the scene of an emergency and facilitates access to hospital care;
- Insula Medical, which is developing a compact and ergonomic insulin delivery system;
- luvoDerm, which is developing a product that improves the healing process of diabetic foot ulcers through antimicrobial properties and drug diffusion;
- Prefection Labs, which is developing an implantable biosensor to detect infections in hip and knee replacements;
- Stacktronic, which is developing a modular battery framework to reduce the capital and engineering resource costs of developing a battery pack for industrial electric vehicles;
- Theia Labs, which helps businesses understand storefront experiences better by using cameras that run proprietary computer vision algorithms;
- VOYHS, which gives trans people the resources to train their voice in order to boost their confidence and improve their lives; and
- WatFly, which provides an urban electric flight solution.
Before the finalists pitch, Velocity will host special guest speaker Hongwei Liu, who will be sitting down for a candid fireside chat with Velocity director Jay Shah. The chat will dive into the hard truths of building a startup and the guest speaker’s journey from student to CEO. Hongwei is the Founder and CEO of Mappedin, a startup that enables property owners to efficiently manage their floor plans and provide best-in-class wayfinding technology for their visitors. While pursuing an Electrical Engineering degree at the University of Waterloo, Hongwei won the Velocity Fund competition back in 2011. Since then, he has led the company’s growth from a small founding team to a 65-person operation based in Waterloo. To date, they have mapped over 450 venues in 25 countries, totalling 400 million square feet. Their many customers include shopping centres, healthcare facilitators, retailers, and city districts.
Applied Health Sciences welcomes new dean Lili Liu
A message from the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences.
The Faculty of Applied Health Sciences is pleased to welcome our new dean, Lili Liu, who begins her tenure this month. She succeeds Paul Stolee from the School of Public Health and Health Systems, who served as interim dean for a year after former dean James Rush accepted the position of Vice-president, Academic, and Provost.
Liu joins us from the Department of Occupational Therapy at the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine. She is an occupational therapist and holds a Bachelor of Science, a Master of Science and a PhD, all from McGill University. Her research has focused on user adoption of technologies for rehabilitation assessments and interventions, as well as ways technologies can help older adults and family caregivers.
Her five-year term began July 1, 2019.
Get ready to PLAY and other notes
On Friday, July 12, the Games Institute (GI) will host their PLAY event in the DC foyer between 12:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. Game developers will showcase and demo the games they created during the Spring 2019 GI Jam in an open setting, and members of the Games Institute will also be at the event. The GI Jam is a thrice-annual, multi-day event where attendees can learn about making games, make their own games, and finally showcase the game they created. Throughout the GI Jam, mentors from the Games Institute give talks and tutorials to the public about how to brainstorm, prototype and develop games.
The PLAY event is free and open to everyone. Registration is not required.
The University of Waterloo’s student Mathematics Society, MathSoc, is starting a first-year mentorship program in which upper-year students (mentors) will be paired up with first-year students (mentees) and help them transition to University. Application details are online.
Eric Lepp, a familiar face at Conrad Grebel University College, will be returning to the University of Waterloo for a two-year appointment as Visiting Assistant Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies (PACS) at Grebel. Lepp recently completed a PhD at the Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute at the University of Manchester. Previously he attended the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at University of Notre Dame where he earned an MA in Peace Studies, and the University of Waterloo where he earned a Bachelor of Social Work.
“Dr. Lepp has wide variety of teaching experience at Wilfrid Laurier and the University of Manchester, where he is known for his enthusiasm for peace and engaging with students,” said Dean Troy Osborne. “Grebelites know Eric as a bright and inviting colleague and are eager to welcome him back.” In addition to scholarly activity, the visiting professor will teach Roots of Conflict, Violence and Peace, The Practice of Peace, and Negotiation Theories and Strategies.
As part of his doctoral research, Lepp focused on the fans of the Belfast Giants ice hockey team, describing the politicization of both peace and conflict in Belfast through the lens of a sports club that spans the region’s historical divisions. His peers regard his scholarship for his thesis, Side by Side in the Land of Giants: A study of space, contact and civility in Belfast, as “conceptually, methodologically, and theoretically sophisticated.” They described his “side-by-side” methodology of sitting beside interviewees in a hockey arena as a “significant innovation” in studies of how societies move from conflict towards conciliation.
Lepp begins his work at Grebel on August 1.