Science startups dominate at Velocity Fund Finals

Friday, December 2, 2016

Penta Medical founders with winning fund final cheques

Velocity Science companies knocked out the competition at the Fall 2016 Velocity Fund Finals. Penta Medical, Avro Life Science, Vivaspire and Velocity Science alumn Curiato collectively won $90,000.

The Velocity Fund is a non-equity grant program for startups that offers $375,000 each year to local startups through its Velocity Fund $25K and Velocity Fund $5K programs. Velocity is a comprehensive entrepreneurship program at Waterloo.

Grand Prize $25K Competition

During the competition, 10 companies pitched their businesses to a panel of judges representing the investment, startup and business communities to compete for one of four $25K prizes and access to Velocity workspaces.

The judges considered innovation, market potential, market viability and overall pitch when making their decisions.

Three of the four grand-prize-winning companies are based at Velocity Science. 

Velocity Science, a partnership between the Faculty of Science and Velocity, is an entrepreneurship program focused on enabling students to initiate and develop world-class life and physical science startups by providing them with the right tools and resources.

Penta Medical, founded by 3B Science student Alexa Roeper and Engineering graduate Daniel Choi, was the big winner. They won $25,000 plus another $10,000 for best hardware or life-sciences startup.

Their company created a wearable device that assists with healing of soft-tissue injuries. Its design features the use of infrared technology on a wearable fabric that will increase the blood circulation of the patient. 

Roeper, Penta Medical CEO, gave the winning pitch at the competition.

As a medical-device startup, we need to cover costs for regulatory processes and the quality management systems we need to make our product," said Roeper. "Our ultimate goal is to build clothing that you can put on and set from your phone to treat any injury on your body, and today’s win is a huge step in that direction.

Penta Medical was also recently named one of the top female-founded tech startups by Girls in Tech.

Avro Life Science, also part of Velocity Science, won $25K for their fun and colourful medicated stickers to deliver seasonal allergy medication to children without the hassle of pills and syrups.

Avro Life Science founder Keean Sarani gave the pitch.

The third company to win $25K was Curiato. Curiato is developing Ceylon Systems, a combined smart mattress and patient management interface that leverages cloud, IoT and artificial intelligence to prevent the occurrence of ulcers.

They began in the Velocity Science lab and are currently working out of Velocity Garage.

Curiato's Chief Operating Officer Moazam Khan gave the winning pitch.

The final company to win $25K was Mirage VR for their full-body tracking virtual reality experience.

The judges for the Velocity Fund $25K competition were Andy Jenks, partner, Drive Capital; Ted Livingston, CEO, Kik; Mike Shaver, partner, Real Ventures; and Shirley Speakman, partner, Cycle Capital.

$5K Competition

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.

Velocity Science's VivaSpire develops superior portable oxygen delivery systems for patients in need of oxygen therapy, increasing oxygen output, while also providing additional user comfort, and a more compact profile.

Vivaspire co-founder Chris Hajduk gave the winning pitch.

More than 60 companies have used the funding from the Velocity Fund Finals to build businesses that solve important challenges facing consumers and businesses around the world,” said Jay Shah, director of Velocity. “Four in five of the companies that have won this competition over the years are still in business today, or have been acquired, and that is a testament to the talent, vision, and hard work of entrepreneurs here at the University of Waterloo.

The other winners of the $5K competition were Chasr Athletics and Eggplantr.

The judges for the Velocity Fund $5K competition were Jessica Chalk, founder and CEO, TrafficSoda; Jacqui Murphy, vice-president marketing, Auvik Networks; and Dan Silivestru, co-founder and CEO, bitHound.