The Problem Lab presents the Quantum Valley Investments® Problem Pitch. The competition invites teams of up to four students to choose an important industry problem and thoroughly research its history, scope, and impact. Students pitch their findings to a panel of judges to compete for a share of up to $30,000 in grant funding.
Teams with the best understanding of an important problem will receive $7,500 to research and develop a solution to the identified problem. Teams will have an opportunity to double their prize winnings post-event if they are able to demonstrate financial need and progress over time, in consultation with the Problem Lab.
- Attend the research workshop on May 23rd in MC 4058.
- Choose a problem and pitch category you'd like to participate in.
- Open Pitch: Students can pitch an important problem on a topic of their choosing.
- Billion Dollar Problems: Students can opt to research and pitch their understanding on an important problem within topics presented during Larry Smith's Billion Dollar Briefing in Velocity Start.
- Research the problem and conduct a problem analysis using our methods.
- Submit your application.
- Participate in the pitch.
This competition is open to teams of 1 to 4 people. We encourage teams to bring together individuals from diverse backgrounds and areas of study. The team member pitching at the competition must be a current full-time, or part-time, University of Waterloo student (undergraduate or graduate). All members are encouraged to attend prep sessions prior to the competition.
Choose a problem
- Discovery Tools - Significant obstacles and limitations to research in biological and physical sciences.
- Talent Identification - There is a lack of an accurate, reliable and systemic means to assess talent.
- Entertainment Machinery - The entertainment industry has a powerfully continuing need for new entertainment attractions and environments.
- Manufacturing Robots - The use of robots in mass manufacturing has been plagued by serious limitations in effectiveness.
- Artificial Intelligence (AI) Data - The ability for machine learning to create powerful applications across a wide range of applications and industries is severely limited by the availability of adequate training data.
- Digital Ads - The growing ineffectiveness of online advertising.
- Human-Proof Cybersecurity - Cybersecurity failures caused by human error or malicious intent.
- Non-Lethal Weapons
The need to restrain persons without causing harm.
- Recommendation Engines - The need for recommendation engines to serve e-commerce and search.
- Truth-Teller - The difference between true and false information online.
How to research a problem
Our methodology for identifying important problems allows you to judge importance objectively and dependably. For each chosen problem, conduct the following analysis:
- Start looking for important problems in domains you find personally interesting.
- Document as many examples of important problems as you can find.
- Select a problem for further investigation.
- Analyze the scale, context, and history of the problem. Critically evaluate the past attempts to solve the problem.
If you have any questions, please contact us.
|Spring 2019 competition timeline||Date/Time||Location|
|Application opens||Monday, May 6|
|Research workshop with UWaterloo Entrepreneurship Librarian||
Thursday, May 23, 4:30 - 6:30 p.m.
Sunday, June 2, 11:59 p.m.
|Teams accepted after initial screening||Thursday, June 6|
|One-on-one mentoring sessions with accepted teams||Monday, June 10 - Wednesday, June 12||MC 2057|
|Pitch deck submission deadline||Sunday, June 23, 11:59 p.m.|
|Competition semi-finalists notified||Thursday, June 27|
|Practice pitches||Tuesday, July 2 and Thursday, July 4, 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.||
|Competition qualifiers||Monday, July 8, 5:00 - 7:30 p.m.||QNC 1502|
|Competition finalists notified||Tuesday, July 9|
|Quantum Valley Investments® Problem Pitch Competition||Thursday, July 11 from 7:00 - 10:00 p.m.||
E7 Pitch Space (2nd Floor Atrium)
Funding provided by the Quantum Valley Investments® Problem Pitch Competition is to be used for research and development (R&D) toward a solution to the problem identified. Funds must be used within one year of receiving the monies and will be administered through reimbursement of approved expenses. All receipts and documentation must be provided.
The decision to award one or two competition winners is at the judges’ discretion. Winners may be eligible for additional funding, up to the amount of the initial funding, based on their R&D progress.
The Problem Pitch Competition is made possible by $300,000 in funding from Mike Lazaridis and Doug Fregin, principals of Quantum Valley Investments® and founders of Blackberry.