Meet Velocity’s new portfolio companies
Velocity launches its first virtual Velocity Fund Pitch Competition (VFPC)
Velocity launches its first virtual Velocity Fund Pitch Competition (VFPC)By Angelica Sanchez University Relations
It was an event well-attended, although presented entirely virtually for the first time ever.
Within the initial 12 hours, Velocity’s virtual Fund Pitch Competition (VFPC) garnered more than one thousand pageviews through its new VFPC video portal — a page designed specifically for this term’s competing entrepreneurs. Eleven companies went head-to-head in hopes of receiving up to $400,000 in pre-seed investments.
Each VFPC seeds four investments worth $50, 000 given to top competing teams. However, early-stage startup companies in health-tech may also be eligible for an additional $50,000 from the Velocity Health Tech Fund.
Of the 11 finalists, eight pitched from the “virtual VFPC stage,” a platform housed at Velocity’s Kitchener incubator, while the remaining three finalists pitched remotely through video submission.
As with regular in-person competitions, this virtual process allowed judges to experience pitches alongside audience members tuning in. Investees were selected based on the potential of their startup company and how well each founder could pitch their solutions virtually.
All finalists received coaching and feedback from Velocity Business Advisors and their peers as part of the VFPC process, but only four split the funding.
MedMe Health is an interdisciplinary team of pharmacists, product designers, health informatics strategists and software engineers who are passionate about improving the quality of pharmacy care.
Its female co-founder, Rui Su (PharmD ’18), graduated from Waterloo’s School of Pharmacy. The virtual pitch was presented by MedMe Health’s co-founder and CEO, Purya Sarmadi.
“MedMe Health is a patient care platform for pharmacists to deliver clinical services at scale. Our algorithms identify service opportunities while our software helps to deliver them much more efficiently,” Sarmadi says in MedMe Health’s pitch.
Since the initial release of their product, MedMe Health have conducted hundreds of interviews with pharmacists and pharmacy owners to ensure that their solution delivers real value to community pharmacists everywhere. By the end of June, 21 pharmacies across Canada are using services provided by MedMe Health. Through the Velocity investment, MedMe Health will be launching to 350 pharmacies that are waiting for these services.
Tutturu.tv is on a mission to help people have meaningful social experiences in a remote world with virtual browsing.
Its female co-founder, Keer Liu, is a Computer Science student at the University of Waterloo. Liu is also recognized with a Co-op Student of the Year award for the Faculty of Mathematics. The virtual pitch was presented by co-founder and CEO, Philip Scott, a Computer Software Engineering student at the University of Waterloo.
“Nobody wants to watch three videos or spend hours on set up. We need a technology that’s reliable, simple to use and just works. Enter virtual browsing — a new way to watch movies and TV shows online with your friends,” Scott says in Tutturu’s pitch. “Forget about downloading apps or signing up for accounts. Tutturu provides you to a link to our site that works immediately.”
Tutturu’s virtual browsing feature allows users not to have to share their screens in order to watch movies together. Within the past six months, Tutturu obtained 190,000 users sign-ups with 60,000 of those as active users each month and 1,700 actively paying subscribers. The company is targeting the $1.2 billion anime streaming market.
Able Innovations is developing advanced assistive device technology that could change how, and where, older adults spend their golden years. The virtual pitch was presented by co-founder and CEO, Jayiesh Singh.
“Transfer refers to the daily routine tasks of lifting and moving immobile individuals between beds, stretchers or wheelchairs. At Able Innovations, we’re automating this highly labour-intensive task by developing the DELTA platform that enables single caregiver, effortless transfers,” Singh says.
Through the creation of the DELTA platform, Able Innovations eliminates the risk of injury to staff and the risk of infection transmission, while creating a more dignified care experience for patients. In the midst of a pandemic, many hospitals have expressed immense interest in Able Innovations’ DELTA platform.
Boogaloo Beds founder and CEO, Caleb Polley (BA '15), delivered the virtual pitch remotely from Colorado. Its female COO, Donna Cutshall, is also the head of manufacturing.
“We’re building smart beds called Boogaloo that enable a person to completely control their environment,” Polley says.
The Boogaloo bed comes with a canopy to block outside stimuli creating a cozy, safe space. Soothing forms of sensory input such as light, sound, vibration, weighted blankets and aromatherapy, will help a loved one calm down faster and sleep longer. Overall, Boogaloo Beds create a calming environment that enables self-regulation and minimizes meltdowns.
Since the launch of Boogaloo beds, the company has already sold more than $85,000 of product and just closed contracts with the two large medical device distributors. Boogaloo Beds aims to build more smart beds for people with special needs while helping them improve safety, sleep and sensory regulations.
The University of Waterloo acknowledges that much of our work takes place on the traditional territory of the Neutral, Anishinaabeg and Haudenosaunee peoples. Our main campus is situated on the Haldimand Tract, the land granted to the Six Nations that includes six miles on each side of the Grand River. Our active work toward reconciliation takes place across our campuses through research, learning, teaching, and community building, and is co-ordinated within the Office of Indigenous Relations.