Companies in the University of Waterloo’s Velocity startup program have raised more than $100 million in funding in the five years since the incubator was launched.
Investment received by Velocity companies includes funding from venture capitalists, angel investors, government programs, and grants from the Velocity Fund, as well as from crowdfunding website, Kickstarter.
Startups such as Kik, Pebble and Thalmic Labs raised the most funding of all startups to come through Velocity. MappedIn, Palette and Weston Expressions are some of the more recent startups to successfully attract significant investment.
Pebble, the first Velocity team to crowdfund on Kickstarter, made headlines in 2012 when they raised more than $10 million with almost 70,000 pre-orders of the Pebble watch – beating their fundraising goal of $100,000. In January of this year, Palette raised more than $150,000 on Kickstarter for their freeform interface that offers hands-on controls for software.
The $100 million milestone does not include acquisitions, such as Google’s acquisition of BufferBox in 2012.
“The Velocity approach to supporting young entrepreneurs is making a noticeable impact – our startups have raised over $100 million in just five years,” said Mike Kirkup, director of Velocity. “We’re now in a great position to help attract the next $100 million.”
Velocity’s funding milestone coincides with the launch of the Northleaf Venture Catalyst Fund announced last week by Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne on a visit to Waterloo Region last week. The fund aims to drive private sector investment in Canadian companies in the early-to-middle stages of growth.
“What differentiates Velocity from other incubators is the positive and tangible impact it has achieved in a very short period of time. Their efforts have contributed to Waterloo becoming a well-known source of tech talent and emerging technology in Canada,” said Michael Mahon, director of strategic investments and initiatives at BDC Venture Capital. “We congratulate Velocity on achieving this important milestone and we look forward to working with them to support the vibrant startup ecosystem that exists in Waterloo.”
Velocity supports young entrepreneurs with innovative ideas by giving them free space, startup programming and mentorship to build their ideas into businesses. When the time is right, Velocity guides companies towards angel investors, venture capitalists and government grant programs. Startups are selected for the Velocity Garage workspace through an ongoing application process, or by winning Velocity Fund competitions.
Velocity has contributed more than $750,000 to the $100 million funding total with grants to emerging startups through Velocity Fund competitions. The competitions were first held in 2011 after a $1 million donation to Velocity from Ted Livingston, founder of Kik. The competitions take place three times a year. Previous fund winners include MappedIn, Planboard, BufferBox, Weston Expressions, Thalmic Labs, Kira Talent, Voltera, and Kite, among others. The most recent winners from the November competition, now operating at the Velocity Garage workspace, include PiinPoint, LightBot, MetricWire and uMentioned.
A complete list of past Velocity Fund winners and the list of the 35 startups currently operating at Velocity Garage are available on the Velocity website.
About the University of Waterloo
In just half a century, the University of Waterloo, located at the heart of Canada's technology hub, has become one of Canada's leading comprehensive universities with 35,000 full- and part-time students in undergraduate and graduate programs. Waterloo, as home to the world's largest post-secondary co-operative education program, embraces its connections to the world and encourages enterprising partnerships in learning, research and discovery. In the next decade, the university is committed to building a better future for Canada and the world by championing innovation and collaboration to create solutions relevant to the needs of today and tomorrow. For more information about Waterloo, please visit www.uwaterloo.ca.
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