University of Waterloo entrepreneurs make Forbes’ list
Both ed-tech entrepreneurs got their start while Waterloo computer science students and both won $25,000 grants at Velocity Fund Finals
Both ed-tech entrepreneurs got their start while Waterloo computer science students and both won $25,000 grants at Velocity Fund FinalsBy Staff Marketing and Strategic Communications
Two entrepreneurs who got their start while students at the University of Waterloo have been named to the 2015 Forbes 30 Under 30 list.
Danny Yaroslavski, 23, founder of LightBot and William Zhou, 22, founder of Chalk.com, were named by Forbes in the education category for “rethinking learning with the three C’s: code, college readiness and community impact.”
Yaroslavski came up with the idea to teach young children how to code through gaming while studying computer science at the University of Waterloo. He took his idea for LightBot to the Velocity Fund Finals in the fall of 2013 and was one of four teams that won $25,000 grants. Now, more than five million children as young as four are getting their first taste of computer science through Lightbot.
Zhou was also studying computer science at Waterloo when he decided to launch his first venture which was sold to a UK firm. The next year he started another venture, which resulted in Chalk.com, a lesson planning, assessment and collaboration tool, now used by 100,000 teachers. In 2012, Zhou received validation for his idea - winning $25,000 in the Velocity Fund Finals.
Both Yaroslavski and Zhou were students in Waterloo’s Enterprise Co-op program, run through the Conrad Centre for Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology. They also both took entrepreneuship courses at Conrad. Read more about Zhou’s Waterloo connections.
Velocity is one of the University of Waterloo’s entrepreneurship programs. It’s designed to support entrepreneurial students and alumni with free workspace and expert coaching as they build businesses. The non-academic program includes the Velocity Garage and Foundry incubation spaces in downtown Kitchener. On the main campus, there is Velocity Residence, Velocity Alpha and Velocity Science. The Velocity Fund awards more than $300,000 in grants to startups each year.
Last year, three Waterloo entrepreneurs were named to the annual Forbes list. Eric Migicovsky, a systems design engineering grad and CEO of Pebble Technology; Ted Livingston, who became CEO of Kik Interactive Inc. while a mechatronics engineering student; and Douglas Lusted, an environment and business student who is CEO of WestonExpressions, were all named to the prestigious list.