Workspaces inside the Velocity garage

The University of Waterloo’s Velocity startup program will become North America’s largest free business incubator thanks to a new partnership with tech giant, Google, and the industry-led innovation centre, Communitech.

Occupying space in the Lang Tannery building currently used by Google, Velocity will expand by more than 29,000 square feet to provide space for up to 120 startups to work and collaborate, and benefit from co-location with Communitech’s network of industry partners and supports.

The expanded facilities will allow Velocity’s software, hardware, and life-sciences startups, currently housed in separate buildings, to grow as a community under one roof, and share insights through peer mentorship.

Velocity runs programs on the University campus and in the community. It does not charge companies or students fees to participate and it does not take any equity from startups. 

Find out what the expansion means in the Q and A below:

What will the expanded incubator space be called?

The Velocity Garage

How much additional space will the expanded Velocity Garage have?

29,554 square feet of additional space, for a total of 36,711 square feet.

Where is this new space coming from?

  • 7,157 sq. ft. from the existing Velocity Garage
  • 24,114 sq. ft. currently occupied by Google on the Tannery 1st floor
  • 5,440 sq. ft. of space from Tannery 188

Are any new facilities being built as part of this expansion?

We will be partnering with University of Waterloo Athletics to provide a fitness centre with a small gym, as well as machines to work out with, including treadmills, bikes, weights and more.

How will this impact companies in the Foundry?

Once Garage renovations are complete, Foundry companies will move in to the expanded Garage, so that all companies can continue to grow within an integrated Velocity community, with expanded resources

How much additional workspace is there?

We are effectively doubling our current startup incubator workspace

How many companies will be able to work out of the Velocity Garage?

There will be space for up to 120 startups to work

When do renovations begin for the expansion?

In December 2015 or January 2016

When will renovations be complete?

Our goal is to complete renovations by May 2016

How big will Velocity be, compared to other incubators, after this expansion?

Velocity will be the largest free startup incubator in North America 

Do you charge companies rent or take equity to work in the Velocity space?

No. We provide workspace, access to equipment, and mentorship for free – we do not charge rent or take any equity from startups based in the Garage. Our goal is to help provide companies with crucial early-stage resources to help them grow and succeed, with the hope that future companies will help sustain the program through donations.

How is Velocity able to support this growth in companies?

Velocity is expanding its programming and space on campus, which will allow us to foster entrepreneurship and generate an even larger number of companies who need incubation space. In January 2016, we will open Velocity Start, a large space in South Campus Hall at the University of Waterloo, for people to attend workshops, learn about entrepreneurship, and use a state of the art maker space. At the same time, Velocity Science will also move to a new 2,200 sq. ft. on-campus science lab, tripling its current capacity. These programs will facilitate the creation of new companies, and guide their growth, many of which will ultimately benefit from the resources in the Velocity Garage.

How will teams be impacted while renovations are happening?

There will be no impact on Foundry teams, who will move in once the space is ready. All efforts will be made to minimize impact on Garage teams, with renovations happening in separate areas of the building prior to the walls between the spaces ultimately being taken down.

What will happen to the Foundry building?

It will be sub-leased to successful companies who launch from the Velocity program, until the end of the lease with Manulife in May 2017

How is Velocity funded?

We are grateful for the support of the University of Waterloo, the Provincial and Federal governments, and the generous donations from past Velocity companies. We also receive limited sponsorship and are seeking assistance from the City of Kitchener and Waterloo, as well as actively pursuing funding from relevant grant programs.

Will software, hardware, and science companies be located in specific areas?

No, all companies will be spread out throughout the expanded Garage.

How can my company get involved in the Garage?

Recent University of Waterloo graduates and current students can apply at any time, as long as they are working on their idea full-time. We hold interviews once a month, at the start of the month.

Is this incubator space only open to University of Waterloo students/alumni?

Our audience is University of Waterloo students and alumni, but in exceptional cases, we will take companies from outside this ecosystem.

What does this mean for current students at the University of Waterloo?

We will have additional capacity to accept and foster the creation of innovative new ideas from UWaterloo students and alumni

How can I tour the Garage?

You can signup for a tour.