Velocity Fund awards $35K to drone company to improve commercial flight times

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Pegasus Aeronautics, a hardware company seeking to extend the airtime range of drones using advanced hybrid powertrains, was among the big winners at the Velocity Fund Finals held today at the University of Waterloo.

Velocity LogoVelocity is an entrepreneurship program at Waterloo, providing the knowledge, space, community, and funding that startups need to thrive. In addition to receiving a share of today’s $125,000 in funding, today’s winners will be admitted to the Velocity Garage, the largest free startup incubator in North America.

Founded by four Waterloo students and graduates from the Mechanical, Electrical, and Mechatronics Engineering programs, Pegasus Aeronautics seeks to use its hybrid powertrain technology to keep drones in the air longer and make unmanned aerial vehicles a viable option for industrial operators. In addition to winning a $25,000 prize, Pegasus also won the top hardware prize of $10,000.

Pegasus recieve their winning $25k cheque from Mike Kirkup, director of Velocity.Pegasus recieve their winning $25k cheque from Mike Kirkup, director of Velocity.

“Drones are the perfect way to remove people from dangerous tasks, and to help save companies money,” said Matt McRoberts, co-founder and CEO of Pegasus. “Our technology solves a need that has been hindering the industry from its inception by removing the limitations that batteries place on drone flight time. Winning the Velocity Fund Finals will allow us to execute our plan to accelerate our beta testing phase in order to bring our product to market sooner.”

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 will receive free workspace at the Velocity Garage:

  • Fiix is a platform to connect customers with affordable, skilled mechanics at their home or office.
  • Landmine Boys built a specialized robot to defuse landmines without an explosion or human interaction, in order to eliminate damage to the environment and risk to operator safety. The recently won one of six major awards at the Norman Esch Capstone Design Awards.
  • Okey is an app that logs you into your digital accounts when there is close proximity to your mobile device, to save time and improve security.

“The Velocity Fund has enabled the growth of more than 75 companies in Waterloo region by awarding more than $1.5 million in funding,” said Mike Kirkup, director of Velocity. “It is a testament to the University of Waterloo’s entrepreneurial culture to see so many incredible companies today, and we look forward to having them join our community of startups at the Velocity Garage.”

During the 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:

  • AVRO Life Science is developing novel approaches to conventional transdermal drug patches to provide better delivery mechanism of antihistamines.
  • Gamelynx is a digital gaming platform that provides users with the ability to play in-person games with their friends, without the use of physical game boards or cards. Gamelynx received the people’s choice award by audience vote.
  • Moocow Unicycles designs and sells unique, durable unicycle parts.

The judges for the Velocity Fund $25K competition were Ameet Shah, partner, Golden Venture Partners, Devon Galloway, co-founder, Vidyard, Sunil Sharma, managing partner, Extreme Venture Partners, and Ted Livingston, founder & CEO, Kik.

The judges for the Velocity Fund $5K competition were Adam Belsher, CEO, Magnet Forensics, Dan Silivestru; co-founder & CEO, bitHound, and Steve McCartney, VP startup services, Communitech.

More information on the Velocity Fund Finals 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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