Students Guide to the University of Waterloo startup ecosystem

Hello, I’m Jonny, a final year student studying in the Science and Business co-op program at the University of Waterloo. I am specializing in Biochemistry and doing a minor in Economics. I used all my co-ops to explore industries from finance, to consulting, to renewable energy and venture capital. Along the way, I found my passion for working with startups and being in VC. After finishing up an internship this summer at Esplanade Ventures, a HealthTech focused VC in Canada, I moved down to Silicon Valley. I got lucky enough that all my courses are still online and I wanted to come immerse myself in this awesome startup ecosystem.

So you’ve decided to come to the Kitchener/Waterloo region… whether you’re a student here at Waterloo or one of the other schools in the region, or perhaps working for a startup, you just can’t seem to avoid hearing things like:

“Waterloo is the best place to be for startups”
”Waterloo is the Silicon Valley of Canada
”Waterloo is one of the most innovative and entrepreneurial hubs in Canada”

But then this is all you see when you move here…

A quiet empty street

Quiet, empty streets with a bunch old houses and the occasional apartment buildings. That’s how I felt when I moved to Waterloo back in 2017 from beautiful British Columbia.

This inspired me to create a guide, where I tried my best to map out all the resources, communities and information you will need to know to tap into the startup ecosystem at the University of Waterloo. This article was inspired by Sinjon Santos (connected through Dom and the RippleX fellowship) after we had a chat and he shared with me this student’s guide to the UC Berkeley startup ecosystem. I wish Waterloo's guide could be as long and detailed as the UC Berkeley one, but the startup ecosystem in Canada and Waterloo specifically, is not there yet. In a few years, it will be.

See the full guide created by Science and Business student Jonny Hsu, including resources and links for funding opportunities, UWaterloo campus specific opportunities, conferences, Waterloo student clubs, fellowships and communities, and other ways to get involved.