During the 2017 Fall term, the inaugural Waterloo Student Venture Fund (SVF) team reviewed 30 company pitches, conducted due diligence on three of these companies and presented two investment recommendations to the SVF’s Investment Committee. The recommendations resulted in the SVF’s first investment of $25,000 in Nicoya Lifesciences Inc. in its financing round in January 2018.
Nicoya's mission is to provide lifesciences researchers with cutting edge technology to unleash their limitless potential and help them make their next big discovery.
Pictured at right are Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Feridun Hamdullahpur, president and vice-chancellor of the University, as they consider the product’s impact as Ryan Denomme, Nicoya’s co-founder and CEO, describes how their OpenSPR product reduces the cost of biointeraction testing to speed up the development of new pharmaceuticals.
The SVF, along with Ripple Ventures, Golden Triangle Network (GTAN), MaRS Investment Accelerator Fund, BDC Capital, Garage Capital, Angel One, Maple Leaf Angels, Innovative Grade Ventures, Waterloo Alumni Angels, and Laurier Startup Fund generated to a total of C$2 million in financing for Nicoya Lifesciences Inc.
“Nicoya originated as a nanotech engineering student project, going on to win a Communitech pitch contest and incubation in the Accelerator Centre and Velocity Garage," notes Frank Hayes. "The Student Venture Fund worked with other GTAN investors on due diligence, including with UW’s Chemistry Professor Thorsten Dieckmann, to validate Nicoya’s competitive advantage. Our investment provided the final link in a chain of entrepreneurial education and support that the University of Waterloo has been crafting for many years.”
The University of Waterloo’s Student Venture Fund’s investment in Nicoya Lifesciences adds a new dimension to the University’s contributions to the Waterloo entrepreneurial ecosystem.
The SVF is a School of Accounting and Finance experiential initiative launched with the Conrad Centre in September 2017. The primary goal of the SVF is to provide students with hands-on training in Angel and Venture Capital investing with guidance from industry experts and supervision by faculty.
Annie Shi, one of the student Analyst for the SVF found the experience valuable, “The entire investment process from attending angel meetings, to performing due diligence with the Nicoya team, to presenting to the Investment Committee has been a great learning opportunity.”
In most finance classes, we learn how to crunch the numbers but here we're forced to move away from the financials. We focus instead on the product, the market traction, and management's potential. The practical experience I received from the SVF has been invaluable.
- Read more about Nicoya Lifesciences and their work at Velocity Science.
- Read more about the history of Nicoya Lifesciences.