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Palihapitiya - Lau Venture Creation Fund

Palihapitiya/Lau Venture Creation Fund provides two $50,000 awards to University-selected Capstone Design teams whose intention is to transform their Capstone Design project into a promising startup post-graduation. 

In 2017, the winning projects involved concepts for an endoscope for use in arteries and a much smaller, lighter device for people requiring portable oxygen therapy.

Michael Phillips and Phil Cooper of Swirve Palihapitiya Lau Venture Creation fund The endoscope – called SWIRVE, an acronym for ‘short wave infrared vascular endoscope’ – is the brainchild of mechanical engineering students Michael Phillips, 22, of Sussex, New Brunswick, and Phil Cooper, 22, of Pembroke, Ontario, who plan to call their startup Vena Medical.

John Grousopoulos_Mostafa Saquib and Chris Hajduk of VivaSpire of VivaSpire Palihapitiya Lau Venture Creation fundVivaSpire is the second team made up of nanotechnology engineering students John Grousopoulos, 22, of Kitchener, Mostafa Saquib, 21, of Kitchener, and Chris Hajduk, 22, of Guelph. 

Learn more about Vena Medical and VivaSpire's projects

The Palihapitiya/Lau Venture Creation Fund, which began in 2014 (then limited to ECE students) is a gift from Chamath Palihapitiya and Brigette Lau, founders of Social Capital, a venture capital fund that aims to solve the world’s hardest problems by starting and investing in breakthrough companies in healthcare, education, financial services , consumer and enterprise. 

With the support of Chamath and Brigette, both of these entrepreneurial student teams will be able to expand the potential of their ideas, further expanding the capabilities of their working prototypes and through mentorship explore future business opportunities for Vena Medical and VivaSpire.

Your project could be the next one to benefit from the Palihapitiya/Lau Venture Creation Fund.

brigette and chamath at capstone

Brigette Lau and Chamath Palihapitiya at the 2012 Waterloo Engineering Capstone Design Symposium in the Davis Centre.  It is here where they first saw the Athos team's wearable technology for athletes. In November 2013, Chamath's VC firm, Social Capital, provided $3.5 million in seed funding.  In November 2015, Social Capital was the lead investor of $35 million Series C funding for Athos.