StartUp Pledge

Startup Pledgers

Waterloo is an entrepreneurial ecosystem where technology leaders and startup founders share the same goal: to bring innovative and world-changing ideas to the global marketplace. 

The StartUp Pledge program


What it is

StartUp Pledge is a unique program intended for entrepreneurs, with an emphasis on the founders of early startups.

StartUp Pledge invites you - University of Waterloo alumni and the broader entrepreneurial community - to pledge your intent to donate a portion of your company’s future success to Waterloo.

Pledgers with professor

How it works

The process is simple. You make a written pledge to donate equity from your startup.

When your company has a liquidity/trigger event such as an IPO, an acquisition, merger or exit, a small portion of the options realized from such an event are donated or converted into a cash donation to the University of Waterloo.

This is a personal commitment, not a corporate one; therefore your support does not impact corporate earnings or operating cash. The University of Waterloo does not hold equity in your company, nor is it involved with the daily operations of your company

When we receive your pledge intent, one of our staff will call to confirm your intent, welcome you to the program, and explain the next steps.

Feridun and Paul Salvini

Why make the pledge?

  • By supporting the next generation of innovators, your gift will help drive Waterloo’s renowned entrepreneurial ecosystem.
  • You will inspire and encourage student success at the University of Waterloo.
  • You will help fund important programs, chairs and resources in research and education.
  • When you incorporate philanthropy into your corporate culture, you send a powerful message to your clients and the community that you care about giving back and making the world a better place.

What's the story behind the socks?

Waterloo’s entrepreneurial ecosystem starts with ideas. Those ideas come from our students, faculty, staff, and alumni, and are hatched in any number of places across campus, including the classrooms, labs, and hallways of our faculties. The colours on the socks represent our six faculties.

Ideas are also hatched beyond our campus, during co-op work terms, or overseas study and volunteer experiences. Then there are the places where ideas are incubated and commercialized, like in Velocity, St. Paul’s Greenhouse, and the Accelerator Centre. Those are the “connectors”, represented by the gold stitching set against a black backdrop — the official colours of the University of Waterloo.

The geometric shapes on the socks echo the bold honeycomb pattern on the face of the Mike & Ophelia Lazaridis Quantum-Nano Centre. This iconic facility would never have been realized if not for an extraordinary philanthropic investment by the co-founder of the greatest entrepreneurial success story to come out of Waterloo. When the Lazaridises made their gift, in many ways it was the ultimate act of giving back, providing an enormous boost to Waterloo’s startup ecosystem. 

Over the years, other successful founders have stepped up to give generously of their time and their philanthropic investment, demonstrating their own commitment to tomorrow’s startups and to fueling Waterloo’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Questions? We can help

For more information about making the pledge, contact