NanoCnet, a science company developing key technology used in consumer electronics, was among the big winners at the Velocity Fund Finals at the University of Waterloo. Velocity is an entrepreneurship program at Waterloo that provides the knowledge, workspace, community and funding that startups need to succeed.
Founded by two graduates of nanotechnology engineering who earned their PhDs at Waterloo, NanoCnet has been working out of the Velocity Science discovery lab on campus to develop highly flexible, conductive and cost effective nanomaterials. They are used in conductive thin films in all electronics, including touch panels, displays, and wearables. In addition to winning one of the grand prizes of $25,000, NanoCnet also won the top hardware prize, worth $10,000.
“The current flexible electronics industry is facing major changes. Traditional conductive materials, which are the building blocks of electronics, have serious problems. They are either expensive, non-flexible, or degrade quickly, which limits the performance and form factors of future electronic devices,” said Hadi Hosseinzadeh Khaligh, co-founder and CEO of NanoCnet. “We’re developing a fundamentally different approach using nanotechnology to create a new generation of conductive materials that are easy to fabricate, flexible and 20 times more durable than existing materials on the market.”
During the competition, 10 companies pitched their businesses to a panel of judges representing the investment, startup and business communities. Judges considered innovation, market potential, market viability and overall pitch.
The following three companies were also grand-prize winners of $25,000. They will be admitted to the Velocity Garage startup incubator.
- Envoi offers retailers infrastructure for same-day delivery in order to meet consumer demand that is not currently fulfilled by traditional courier services.
- ShiftRide is an on-demand mobility platform, giving people access to cars shared by car owners nearby.
- Tabnex helps businesses make smarter and faster hiring decisions, by providing real-time data and predictive intelligence on candidates who have applied to job opportunities.
“The Waterloo-Toronto Corridor is punching way above its weight at producing globally competitive, high-growth companies. We’re delighted that so many of the top startups in the corridor have roots here at the University of Waterloo,” said Jay Shah, director of Velocity. “This is the twentieth time we have run the Velocity Fund Finals, awarding more than $2 million in grants to help startups accelerate growth and achieve the biggest impact possible. Term after term we witness those companies go faster, be bolder, and attack their problem with more ambition, in part, thanks to the funding and subsequent incubation this competition offers.”
An additional 10 teams of University of Waterloo students competed for three prizes of $5,000. The winners of the Velocity $5K are:
- SannTek is developing a nanotechnology-based sensor to quantify marijuana intoxication.
- QALM is a smart stream trap monitoring solution that makes invisible leaks visible.
- GreenSorbs is designing a sorbent boom to clean up oil spills using a material made from landfill waste.
The judges for the Velocity Fund $25K competition were Eva Lau, managing partner of Two Small Fish Ventures, Karamdeep Nijjar, partner at iNovia Capital, Christopher Reid, CEO and founder of Sortable and Jennifer Smith, senior business executive.
The judges for the Velocity Fund $5K competition were Steven Fyke, creative director of SnapPea Design, Heather Galt, vice-president of marketing and head of advanced programs at Communitech, and Zoran Hristov, quality manager at AirBoss Rubber Compounding.
A video of the event is available online.
About the University of Waterloo
University of Waterloo is Canada’s top innovation university. With more than 36,000 students we are home to the world's largest co-operative education system of its kind. Our unmatched entrepreneurial culture, combined with an intensive focus on research, powers one of the top innovation hubs in the world. Find out more at uwaterloo.ca.
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