WATERLOO, Ont. (Thursday, July 25, 2013) – A wearable health monitor and music-making application were among four winners awarded $25,000 funding from the University of Waterloo VeloCity Venture Fund today.
“We’re developers, and we love solving the problems that developers face. But there’s a lot more to running a business than that, and VeloCity has a great ecosystem to build great companies,” said Jeffrey Morgan, co-founder of Kite. “This has been an amazing experience. Today’s prize means we can get Kite to our users and become a dominant player in this market so much faster.”
Started in March 2011, the VeloCity Venture Fund awards University of Waterloo students with $300,000 in grants each year and the opportunity to build their startups at the VeloCity Garage in downtown Kitchener. At least one founder on a pitching team must be a current student of the University of Waterloo or a graduate of the University of Waterloo within the past year.
VeloCity Venture Fund finalists undergo a month-long qualification process. Today’s ten finalists submitted their written proposals in early July; in mid-July presented a 20-minute pitch to a panel of independent judges from the Kitchener-Waterloo business community; and today, the ten finalists presented their three-minute pitches to a second panel of judges.
“VeloCity runs an impressive program,” said Karamdeep Nijjar, venture capitalist at iNovia Capital and a judge at today’s event. “When I graduated from Waterloo in 2006, going right into a startup after graduation was not a career option. VeloCity is giving a competitive and hungry group of entrepreneurs the opportunity to do just that and be very successful.”
Today’s VeloCity Venture Fund recipients are:
Blacktree Health – A smart way to deal with stress, the ultimate health monitor wristband tracks your exercise, diet and sleep
Kite – A simple way to build and launch web apps in the cloud.
Planleaf – Project management via email.
SoundBrush – A new way for people to create music.
Past winners of the Fund include Kitchener-Waterloo startup notables Thalmic Labs, makers of the MYO armband; WestonExpressions which this week started taking orders for their Linkett interactive digital signage system; BufferBox, North America’s first network of parcel pick-up stations; and MappedIn who are transforming indoor mapping technology.
“The caliber of entrepreneurs coming out of the University of Waterloo and who join VeloCity is nothing short of impressive,” said Mike Kirkup, Director at VeloCity. “Today’s judges were faced with a very hard decision to pick four winners. The field of competitors for these prestigious prizes was stronger than ever.”
VeloCity also hosted a Demo Day earlier today. Demo Days provide students with early-stage startup ideas the opportunity to pitch their business ideas for a chance at one of three $1000 grants.
Experts from Waterloo’s Nanotechnology Engineering undergraduate program pitched their company Neverfrost – a sprayable transparent anti-frost coating for cars – which won two of the three grants for People’s Choice and Most Innovative. uwFlow – an online course planning website – won the best pitch award.
Demo Day winners are encouraged to apply for additional funding through the VeloCity Venture Fund competitions in future terms. VeloCity Venture Fund Finals take place three times a year and the program starts accepting submissions for the fall term competition in October.
Today’s other Velocity Venture Fund competitors were:
GoPexo – An online collaborative trip planner that makes it easy to plan the logistics of a group trip.
LibertyBit – A revolutionary Bitcoin currency exchange system for making payments around the world instantly with substantially reduced banking fees.
Redro – A social mobile ordering platform for users to discover and order what their friends are eating.
SesameIO – A centralized web platform that streamlines K-12 teachers’ workflow, from planning and assessment to sharing and curriculum tracking, to improve personalized learning and school effectiveness.
Tessoll – Consolidates and simplifies one of the biggest use cases for mobile devices: email.
Wriber – Makes it easy to write by providing suggestions as you type.
For more information about the VeloCity Venture Fund, visit 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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