Science entrepreneurs dominate 2017 Spring Velocity Fund Finals

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Spring 2017 Velocity Fund Final $25,000 competition winners with large cheques.

Crop frost protection, skills marketplace and wearable oxygen devices were just some of the winning Science innovations at the Spring 2017 Velocity Fund Finals today. Science entrepreneurs and Velocity Science companies won a total of $85,000 in funding.

Altius Analytics Labs, Epoch, Innovative Protein Technologies and VivaSpire each won $25,000 and for the first time in Fund Final history a different team, Vena Medical, won the $10,000 best hardware/science prize.

Science and Business student Lisa Tran, Accounting student Jade Choy and alumus Keith Choy are hoping their startup, Epoch, will ease the transition for Canadian refugess. Epoch is a skills and services marketplace that connects refugees and community members, using time as a means of exchange. 

The students' passion was sparked by first-hand experience volunteering with refugees arriving in Kitchener-Waterloo, and has been shaped by partnerships with many of the agencies working to help support and integrate newcomers into the community. 

Innovative Protein Technologies is a biotechnology company dedicated to developing eco-friendly crop protection products. Their first product, Frost Armour, protects crops against frost damage during the spring growing season. Biology alumna and co-founder Erin Laidley gave the winning pitch.

"Frost damage not only affects farmers’ livelihoods, but also our food supply," said Biology alumna Erin Laidley. "There are other spray-on solutions, but ours is non-toxic and has no negative environmental impact.”

VivaSpire is making lightweight wearable machines that purify oxygen from the air, without the need for high pressure. The company won $5K last December in the Fall Velocity Fund Finals. Chris Hajduk gave the winning pitch.

Man wearing vivaspires wearable oxygen machine while pitching.

Vena Medical is making navigating through arteries faster, easier and safer by providing physicians with a camera that see through blood.

“Building a business is one of the boldest risks you can take, and yet our companies continue to demonstrate the vision, talent, and drive to think big and tackle challenging problems,” said Jay Shah, director of Velocity.

During the VFF event, an additional 10 teams of University of Waterloo students competed for three prizes of $5,000 and access to Velocity workspaces. 

The winners of the Velocity $5K are:

  • HALo works to provide manual wheelchair users with accessible solutions to motorize their wheelchairs.
  • QuantWave provides faster, cheaper and simpler pathogen detection for drinking water and food suppliers.
  • SheLeads is a story-based game that helps girls realize their unlimited leadership potential.