Electronic Products & Technology

Waterloo counterfeit prevention firm lands $25K prize

Stephen Law   

Electronics Engineering

Velocity Fund awards Black Box Technologies

A young company of three Nanotechnology Engineering students from the University of Waterloo is one step closer to its mission of eradicating counterfeit products after recently winning $25,000 at the Velocity Fund Finals.

Black Box Technologies, which works out of the Velocity Science workspace, is developing an ink for anti-counterfeit application. Each ink has a unique signature and, once applied, is verified by scanning the object with a phone.

Velocity is a comprehensive entrepreneurship ecosystem program from the University of Waterloo and Velocity Science is a program developed in partnership with the Faculty of Science.

One of the problems that Perry Everett, co-founder of Black Box Technologies, identified is counterfeit electronics, where products not performing to standard, or at all, could have monumental consequences for technology manufacturers. The team will use their $25,000 prize to further app development and image processing, as well as creating new nanotech ink formulas.


“I cannot stress enough the importance of the Nanotechnology degree program. Without it we would never be able to build this tech,” says Everett. “Velocity Science has created the perfect bridge from initial idea to commercialization. It was the take off point for the business.”

During the awards event, 10 companies pitched for the chance to win one of four $25,000 prizes and workspace at the Velocity Garage for software startups, or the Velocity Foundry for hardware startups. In addition to Black Box Technologies, Lani, Site2Site and Varden Labs won $25,000 each. Varden Labs was awarded an additional $10,000 as the best hardware pitch.
* Lani is a payment and management system for 3D Print Centres. It enables universities, public libraries and 3D Print Centres to automate payment, manage users, designs and materials.
* Site2Site automates time cards, job budgeting and performance, equipment tracking, receipt collection and more for construction companies.
* Varden Labs is building autonomous electronic shuttles for campus and community environments.
“The Velocity Fund has helped over 50 companies to date, giving out more than $1 million in funding. I am thrilled that we are once again able to help inspire and support innovation. Today we saw pitches for companies that will be incredibly impactful. Our ability to help these companies start on the path to success is fundamental to our work at Velocity,” adds Mike Kirkup, director of Velocity.

Earlier in the day, three early stage student startups were awarded $5,000 each. The winners of the Velocity Fund $5K are:
* Best Pitch: Arc Home – Developing breeze, a smart air register that integrates with smart thermostats and allows the customer to control the temperature of individual rooms in their home.
* People’s Choice: HiredWell – a mobile-optimized solution that enables brick-and-mortar businesses to seamlessly gather all required information from walk-in job seekers and quickly screen this information with an easy-to-use dashboard.
* Most Innovative: Thalo – Thalo is building a new display technology to increase the battery life and daylight visibility of mobile devices.

The judges for the Velocity Fund $25K competition were JS Cournoyer of Real Ventures, Ted Livingston of Kik Interactive, Karamdeep Nijar of iNovia Capital and Mike Stork of Stork Holdings.

The judges for the Velocity Fund $5K competition were Wayne Chang of the Conrad Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology Centre at Waterloo, Andrew Jackson of the Accelerator Centre and Steve McCartney of Communitech Startup Services.

Fig 1: Winners of the Velocity Fund $25,000 prizes and $10,000 hardware prize.

Fig 1: Winners of the Velocity Fund $25,000 prizes and $10,000 hardware prize.

Fig 2: Winners of the Velocity Fund $5,000 prizes.

Fig 2: Winners of the Velocity Fund $5,000 prizes.


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