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Science startups dominate at Velocity Fund Finals

Thursday, December 1, 2016

A company recently named one of the top female-founded tech startups is among the big winners at the Velocity Fund Finals held today at the University of Waterloo. Velocity is a comprehensive entrepreneurship program at Waterloo.

Founded by Alexa Roeper from the Faculty of Science and Daniel Choi, a graduate from Mechatronics Engineering, Penta Medical created a wearable device that assists with healing of soft-tissue injuries. Its design features the use of infrared technology on a wearable fabric that will increase the blood circulation of the patient. The company also won an additional prize of $10,000 for best hardware or life-sciences startup.

"As a medical-device startup, we need to cover costs for regulatory processes and the quality management systems we need to make our product," said Roeper. "Our ultimate goal is to build clothing that you can put on and set from your phone to treat any injury on your body, and today’s win is a huge step in that direction.”   

Photo of Penta Medical holding their big cheques

Penta Medical won $35,000 at the Velocity Fund Finals.

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 and space at Velocity. Three of the four grand-prize-winning companies are based at Velocity Science.

  • Avro Life Science is developing fun and colourful medicated stickers to deliver seasonal allergy medication to children without the hassle of pills and syrups.
  • Curiato is developing Ceylon Systems, a combined smart mattress and patient management interface that leverages cloud, IoT and artificial intelligence to prevent the occurrence of ulcers.
  • Mirage VR is bringing your imagination into reality with a full-body tracking virtual reality experience.

“More than 60 companies have used the funding from the Velocity Fund Finals to build businesses that solve important challenges facing consumers and businesses around the world,” said Jay Shah, director of Velocity. “Four in five of the companies that have won this competition over the years are still in business today, or have been acquired, and that is a testament to the talent, vision, and hard work of entrepreneurs here at the University of Waterloo.” 

During the VFF event, an additional 10 teams of University of Waterloo students competed for three prizes of $5,000 and access to Velocity workspaces.

The winners of the Velocity $5K are:

  • Chasr Athletics aims to use sports analytics to enhance training for athletes and coaches, by developing a system of “smart” athletic cones that can track and time athletes throughout their drills.
  • Eggplantr is making it easier to establish and maintain food gardens by developing a digital tool to generate and print permaculture planting layout plans on biodegradable weed barriers.
  • VivaSpire develops superior portable oxygen delivery systems for patients in need of oxygen therapy, increasing oxygen output, while also providing additional user comfort, and a more compact profile.

The judges for the Velocity Fund $25K competition were Andy Jenks, partner, Drive Capital; Ted Livingston, CEO, Kik; Mike Shaver, partner, Real Ventures; and Shirley Speakman, partner, Cycle Capital.

The judges for the Velocity Fund $5K competition were Jessica Chalk, founder and CEO, TrafficSoda; Jacqui Murphy, vice-president marketing, Auvik Networks; and Dan Silivestru, co-founder and CEO, bitHound.

For more information on the Velocity Fund Finals, please visit

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


Media Contact:

Pamela Smyth
University of Waterloo

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