How does it work?
This is a three-year program with a spring cohort intake although participants may enter/exit at almost any stage. The core value is in the intense mentoring, both in person and online, by Lyon Wong along with Wayne Chang, Carolyn MacGregor, previous cohort participants and international guests. Participants will get an insider knowledge on how venture capitalists choose teams and spend considerable time on self-development and personal reflection. You will be asked to examine your core values and motivations with a focus on building a solid foundation for all your future endeavours.
With no other program like it on campus, this program is designed to evolve and shift to meet the needs of the participants and the availability of mentors. The structure nominally follows an annual cycle from a Spring cohort with ongoing participant intake to expose as many students as possible to the mentoring and ideas. During the year, selected individuals (based on an application process) will be invited to participate in intense mentoring workshops in person and online. This mentoring is designed for personal self-development as an entrepreneur -- your "Founder OS." Mentors include Lyon Wong, Spectrum 28 partners, program directors Carolyn MacGregor and Wayne Chang, previous cohort members and guests from the entrepreneurial and business worlds. Spectrum 28 has made $2 million available throughout the three-year program for investing in teams that have proven to be ready for investment and have met certain benchmarks established by Spectrum throughout the program.
There is no guarantee for funding as it is based on team readiness as determined by Spectrum 28.
Who is eligible?
All engineering undergraduate and graduate students are eligible, although students in 3A and above are preferred. At least one of your team members must be in engineering and at least one team member must be graduating in 2018 (or recently graduated) to be considered. You can also be enrolled in another incubator program. Faculty members are also encouraged to apply.
Who is Spectrum 28?
Based in Silicon Valley, Spectrum 28 is a venture capital fund co-founded by Waterloo Engineering alumnus Lyon Wong (Systems Design Engineering ’03). As a general partner, Lyon plays a large role in the mentoring of the companies they invest in and will be a significant presence in this new Waterloo Engineering Spectrum 28 Student Venture Program. Lyon, along with the Faculty of Engineering's Carolyn MacGregor and Wayne Chang will lead the classes and workshops.For more information, please visit Spectrum28.com and follow them on Crunchbase.
How is this different from Velocity?
This program is either a standalone program or precursor to Velocity, and designed to complement it, not be a replacement for it. We provide entrepreneurial foundational classes on "founder framework" or what is required beyond building a startup in terms of personal growth, mindset, motivations and the ability to execute, as well as intense mentoring. This, along with having faculty technical expertise as an essential part of the program, gives participants a distinct advantage in the startup world.Faculty share valuable insight and knowledge, while at the same time they are part of the funding committee, so they are evaluating startup teams/ideas firsthand, which translates into more knowledge to share in the classroom.
Should there be teams ready for investment throughout the three-year program, it is also expected that equity funding amounts for the selected teams will be about 2-10x larger per team than Velocity currently offers. The Waterloo Engineering Spectrum 28 Student Venture funding can help teams after any initial Velocity funding, or even for teams that haven't gone through Velocity, but are ready for regular seed funding.
What kind of projects are you looking for?
We are not looking for projects as much as we are looking for entrepreneurs or those with entrepreneurial aspirations.If you don't have an idea in mind yet, we will work with you to help achieve the necessary growth mindset that a successful founder requires. For funding, we'll support teams that address the question of "Why Now" and really have a clear understanding of their customer. Some of the industries that are ripe for disruption, and certainly overdue for change includes health, construction, finance, business, and retail.
What kind of mentoring would we receive?
For individuals selected (based on an application process) for the intense mentoring workshops and sessions run by Lyon Wong, Carolyn MacGregor, Wayne Chang and guests, you can expect the focus to be on personal self-development as a startup leader. Self-reflection along with interactive exercises and assigned homework will help you define and refine your motivations and desires. Highly personal in nature, and completely confidential, you will receive personalized feedback as well as getting unique insight into the daily lives of successful entrepreneurs and venture capitalists. This style of mentoring will best suit individuals who are adaptable and open-minded. You will be expected to share your own personal journey and motivations with the group (12-24 people per workshop). At the end of each session, you will be assigned homework, which assists in self-reflection and allows the mentors to better understand your needs and concerns.
How does the money get allocated?
Funding begins at $40,000 per company, determined by the needs, ideas, and decision by the Waterloo Engineering Spectrum 28 Student Venture program judging panel/investment committee. There is no guarantee for funding in any program cycle for any team as it is based on team/idea readiness as determined by Spectrum 28.