Velocity Science startups win big at Velocity Fund Finals

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Time-release capsules, UV responsive marker ink and a hand-held device that measures vitamin levels have won Velocity Science startups $60,000 at the 2015 Winter Velocity Fund Finals.

During the Velocity Fund Finals, 10 companies pitched their businesses to a panel of judges representing the investment, startup and business communities. Judges weighed innovation, market potential, market viability and overall pitch.

Vitameter led the pack winning a Velocity $25K grant plus an additional $10K prize for the best hardware startup. Competing in the same category, Suncayr also won a Velocity $25K prize. Early stage startup Kue won the Velocity $5K prize for most innovative.

Velocity Science as a concept – market-driven solutions developed with lab-based research – has really taken off,” says Velocity Science Mentor Marc Gibson. “Our teams aren’t just winning; they’re attracting attention and investors.”

Vitameter is changing the way people manage supplements. The majority of Canadians have a vitamin deficiency and about half take pills to supplement their diet. Some blindly decide dosage and most take too little or too many pills.


With experience in nanotechnology and bio-sensors, their team has created the Vitameter – a personal handheld device that determines your vitamin levels within minutes. Each test is inexpensive and provides you with the information needed to manage your diet and supplements.

Suncayr is developing UV-responsive marker ink that tells you exactly when to reapply sunscreen. This can be drawn directly on the skin before applying sunscreen, and when the sunscreen is no longer blocking UV rays, the ink changes colour. 


With summer around the corner, Suncayr is making sun safety personal, fun and simple. They also recently finished second in the world at the James Dyson Award competition.

Kue is working on a timed-release capsule that will open after a specific amount of time. They are using this technology to develop a caffeine product that gives people a burst of energy before they wake up.

Josh Reid

All three companies were recently named in CyberNorth Inc.’s Top 55 Rock Stars of Waterloo.

Companies Fotofox and Pout were also grand-prize winners of $25,000 and space at the Velocity Garage and Velocity Foundry. The other winners of the Velocity $5K are CareChair (Best Pitch) and Node (People's Choice).

I am always so impressed by the outstanding quality of the companies that make up the University of Waterloo’s vibrant startup community,” said Feridun Hamdullahpur, president and vice-chancellor of Waterloo. “Today’s competitors embody the innovation and entrepreneurial spirit at the heart of this institution and our role as the intellectual engine of one of North America's richest innovation ecosystems. Sincere congratulations to all of the winners of these Velocity Fund Finals.”

The judges for the Velocity Fund $25K competition were Ted Livingston of Kik Interactive, Shivon Zilis of Bloomberg Beta and Boris Wertz of Version One Ventures.
The judges for the Velocity Fund $5K competition were Wayne Chang of the Conrad Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology Centre at Waterloo, Katherine Hague, The Blueprint, PCH International and Professor Sanjeev Bedi of UWaterloo.

This pitch competition is really a microcosm of the startup industry in general,” said Mike Kirkup, director of Velocity. “As this event has grown, more and more hardware and science startups have joined the software companies that pitch, and the Velocity Fund allows us to help all of the winners invest in their future through grants.”

Velocity Science, a partnership between Velocity and the Faculty of Science, is a on-campus discovery space designed to support students through networking, expert coaching, community-building as well as free access to lab space and instrumentation. It’s open to all undergraduate students at the University of Waterloo.

We know Velocity Science is a great place to come for biotech entrepreneurs, but we also want to attract students from other fields of science, such as, biology, chemistry, physics, pharmacy, vision science and environmental sciences,” says Gibson. “Science is one of the most untapped reservoirs of entrepreneurship on campus.”

If you’re interested in joining Velocity Science please contact Marc Gibson or Jessica O’Connor.