Waterloo-based startup Alchemy maintains a mutually rewarding relationship with the University of Waterloo.
Co-founded in 2013 by Waterloo Engineering alumni Khanjan Desai and Chong Shen (both BASc '13, nanotechnology engineering), Alchemy was one of the first nanotechnology startups to emerge from Waterloo. Thanks to support from the University, the company has grown significantly and now employs 25 people locally plus 500 installers in 57 countries to sell its windscreen protection product ExoShield.
Born out of Desai and Shen's fourth-year capstone design project, Alchemy received support from the University from the get-go with funding and space provided through Velocity. The nanotechnology department also gave Desai and Shen access to an unused lab. As the company began to take off, they were awarded $60,000 in more funding from the University.
Desai and Shen are grateful for the support and maintain close ties with their alma mater. Alchemy is a co-operative education employer and hires undergraduate students from Waterloo most terms. The company also employs PhD students to work on its new applications for the Canadian Armed Forces. Desai and Shen are industry mentors and provide business advice to other Waterloo startups.
“Our team continues to have a really good relationship with the University of Waterloo,” said Desai, Alchemy's CEO. “I like to give back, when possible, to Velocity. Our team continues to use their scientific facilities and analytical equipment, so we continue to have a close relationship over there as well. And Waterloo continues to be the university that we hire from the most.”
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