23-year-old donates US$1 million to support Waterloo student entrepreneurs
The University of Waterloo is today announcing a US$1-million donation to support its students' business startup ambitions.
The University of Waterloo is today announcing a US$1-million donation to support its students' business startup ambitions.By Media Relations
WATERLOO, Ont. (Tuesday, March 29, 2011) - The University of Waterloo is today announcing a US$1-million donation to support its students' business startup ambitions.
The donation, made by 23-year-old former Waterloo student and high tech entrepreneur Ted Livingston, will be used to help fund VeloCity, the unique residence-based program for student entrepreneurs.
Livingston's generous support of VeloCity has inspired the university to establish a $1-million seed fund for student startups. Over the next several years the fund will provide at least 30 student ventures with $25,000, four months of office space, incorporation services and mentoring. In addition, 75 student startups will receive $500 prizes as part of the first stage of the screening process.
"This is truly a wonderful development for our students who dream of launching their own successful startup," said Feridun Hamdullahpur, president of the University of Waterloo. "Ted exemplifies the entrepreneurial spirit that so often defines Waterloo and the need to give back that we seek to encourage in all our students."
Both VeloCity and the amount of the $25,000 investments have special significance to Livingston, the founder and CEO of Waterloo-based Kik Interactive Inc. Livingston, who studied mechatronics engineering at Waterloo between 2005 and 2009, founded Kik (then called Unsynced) while in the VeloCity residence in the winter term of 2009.
The $25,000 awards exactly match the amount of money left to Livingston by his grandfather - money that kept Kik afloat and fuelled the company's development in its earliest days.
Livingston's donation was made possible by the sale of some of his personal Kik shares in a recently completed $8 million round of venture capital (VC) funding. The shares, valued at $1 million, were sold to one of three VC investors to prevent further dilution of other Kik employees' shares.
"With few responsibilities and surrounded by other talented minds, UW students are uniquely positioned to start world-changing companies," Livingston said. "Unfortunately, few investors are willing to bet on young entrepreneurs, especially in Canada, so getting the start-up funds they need is a huge challenge. This fund is a step towards changing that."
VeloCity is a student residence-based start-up incubator established in September 2008 at the University of Waterloo. VeloCity is a community that educates and connects talented, like-minded students with each other and with the surrounding start-up community, support and mentorship. To learn more, please visit www.velocity.uwaterloo.ca.
The University of Waterloo, located at the heart of Canada's Technology Triangle, is one of Canada's leading comprehensive universities. Waterloo is home to 30,000 full- and part-time undergraduate and graduate students who are dedicated to making the future better and brighter. Waterloo, known for the largest post-secondary co-operative education program in the world, supports enterprising partnerships in learning, research and discovery. For more information about Waterloo, visit www.uwaterloo.ca.
Sean Van Koughnett, founding director, VeloCity, 519-888-4567 or email@example.com
Michael Strickland, Waterloo media relations, 519-888-4777
Waterloo news release no. 21
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 centralized within our Office of Indigenous Relations.