Electronic Products & Technology

Velocity companies raise more than $250M from investors

Stephen Law   

Electronics Engineering

Companies that are currently in or launched from the University of Waterloo‘s  Velocity startup program have raised more than $150-million in funding from investors in just the last 18-months, bringing the total since the incubator launched to more than $250-million.

The total investment includes funding from venture capitalists, angel investors, government programs and grants from the Velocity Fund. This funding milestone does not include acquisitions, such as Google purchasing BufferBox in 2012, or Kite going to Docker in 2015.

“The entrepreneurial drive at the University of Waterloo is supported by student network programs, dedicated residences, in classrooms, research labs, discovery and maker space and more,” says Feridun Hamdullahpur, president and vice-chancellor of Waterloo. “I congratulate the entire Velocity network of programs — current Waterloo students and alumni, and those who provide students and founders valuable support and mentorship — on reaching this milestone, and wish them continued success.”

Established companies among Velocity alumni, including Kik, Pebble and Vidyard, make up a large percentage of the funding. Companies that are earlier in the business cycle such as Thalmic, PumpUp, MappedIn, Couple and Fora, which Andela recently acquired, make up a significant though smaller level of funding. Current Velocity companies that have announced funding in the range of $1 million include Piinpoint, Kaizena, Sortable, SparkGig and TritonWear.


“Funding is a world of steep competition and Velocity companies continue to stand out and convince investors to believe in and support them,” adds Mike Kirkup, director of Velocity. “This achievement proves that we are doing something very right here in Waterloo and I commend all of our companies and their employees for their dedication and hard work.”

Velocity provides programs and resources to support entrepreneurs that include free workspace, mentoring and coaching in such areas as marketing, business planning, human resources, and legal advice. Velocity has built a robust investor network and is focused on ensuring that investors and companies create a good fit that will help Velocity companies achieve success.

There are six programs that make up the Velocity program at Waterloo:

* The Velocity Residence is a dorm for University of Waterloo students who wish to learn more about building a startup or work on their current companies.

* Velocity Alpha is a series of workshops, panels and sessions that runs each term to help educate the public about building a successful business.

* Velocity Science is a partnership with the Faculty of Science to provide a discovery lab, mentoring and coaching for any student with a startup in materials or life sciences.

* The Velocity Fund provides seed funding and pitch experience to companies through the Velocity Fund Finals, held three times a year.

* The Velocity Garage is 7,000-square-foot facility with free workspace and a peer community for more than 30 software startups.

* The Velocity Foundry has11,000 feet of free workspace and a peer community for more than 30 hardware startups.

This week, in partnership with Communitech, the University of Waterloo hosts the 2015 Waterloo Innovation Summit, where top business, academic and policy decision-makers share best practices on creating a leading innovation ecosystem.


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