Velocity companies surpass $3 billion in funding
Just months after reaching $2 billion, Velocity founders achieve another major funding milestone
Just months after reaching $2 billion, Velocity founders achieve another major funding milestoneBy Velocity
Velocity companies at the University of Waterloo have now raised a cumulative total of $3.6 billion in funding. The total funding raised by founders just five months ago was $2.4 billion.
Growth-stage alumni companies from the University’s flagship incubator, such as ApplyBoard, Faire and Embark Trucks, led the charge while, back at Velocity,current early-stage companies raised more than $30 million collectively in 2021 — a glimpse at the momentum of Velocity’s next generation of alumni. It had taken two years for companies to go from $1 to $2 billion.
“The success of our current and former students can take many forms. Such interest from investors demonstrates both the value and scale of the impact the Waterloo community creates,” said Vivek Goel, president and vice-chancellor of the University. “Velocity has a long tradition supporting entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs who use business building to understand and solve the complex challenges or our time.”
The funding achievement was reached at the same time Velocity founders celebrated two other strong indicators: the number of jobs created by Velocity companies recently surpassed 5,000 and Embark Trucks, an autonomous trucking company started by Velocity alumni, went public with a $5-billion valuation.
“At Velocity the people we support, and in whom we invest, impress us every day. It’s their ingenuity and energy that continues to make Velocity what it is,” said Adrien Côté, Velocity’s executive director. He expects accelerated growth for Velocity companies in the year ahead, adding to Velocity’s productivity as an early-stage incubator and momentum throughout Waterloo’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.
The Toronto-Waterloo corridor is ranked 14th in the world according to the annual Startup Genome report. The University of Waterloo, which produces one in five founders backed by venture capital in Canada, has recently doubled down on its commitment to entrepreneurs and commercialization with a new Innovation Arena, set to open in 2023.
Waterloo is ranked the most innovative university in Canada by Maclean’s magazine and is also listed as the top Canadian university for founders by PitchBook, a U.S. data platform. Another American platform, AngelList Venture, recently released data showing ventures founded by Waterloo alumni produce a higher-than-expected return on investment than their counterparts at Stanford University and MIT.
Around the same time Embark Trucks went public, another company founded by Velocity alumni, saw remarkable growth: Float, a corporate intelligent spending and credit card company, brought in $37 million in new investments late last year, putting it on track to become a unicorn, a term used for privately held companies valued at more than $1 billion.
In addition to ApplyBoard, Faire, and Embark, companies valued more than $1 billion founded by Waterloo grads and former students, include Instacart, Databricks, Netskope, Wish, PagerDuty and Blend.
“Investing early and strategically in entrepreneurship is our best move to set founders up for success and build Canadian companies with global scale,” Côté said. “At Velocity we provide advice and know-how to students curious about entrepreneurship and help researchers commercialize their discoveries and combine it material monetary investments and a place for founders to grow a team and develop, build, and ship product.”
The University of Waterloo acknowledges that much of our work takes place on the traditional territory of the Neutral, Anishinaabeg and Haudenosaunee peoples. Our main campus is situated on the Haldimand Tract, the land granted to the Six Nations that includes six miles on each side of the Grand River. Our active work toward reconciliation takes place across our campuses through research, learning, teaching, and community building, and is centralized within our Office of Indigenous Relations.