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Winners announced in University of Waterloo’s Velocity Fund Finals

Image: Velocity Fund
Image: Velocity Fund

Winners have been announced at the 14th Velocity Fund Finals at the University of Waterloo.

A $125,000 prize has been split between four companies: Acorn Cryotech, HealthIM, Sweat Free Apparel, and Thalo, each of whom won $25,000.

Another $15,000 was awarded earlier in the day to three teams who won $5,000 each in the Velocity Funds competition, with Finuvo winning Best Pitch, BioFlex Implant awarded Most Innovative, and audience-selected Hash taking the People’s Choice prize.

The remaining $10,000 was awarded to Thalo, who won the the Top Hardware or Life Sciences pitch prize.

Acorn Cryotech, a human cell cryptopreservation solution “for everyone”, according to their website, is a team of undergraduate engineering students at U of W.

“This just helps us get to the next level. We really weren’t expecting to win,” said team member Lauren Kennedy.

Thalo is working on building a “next-generation reflective display technology” for digital device screens.

Sweat Free Apparel, based out of Velocity Science, are making undershirts that never get sweat stains.

HealthIM, a bit of a veteran already in the Waterloo scene, are developers of a secure reporting system to standardize communications between police services and health practitioners to cut down on emergency room wait time and improve services for mental health patients.

“We feel fantastic! It is awesome already being a part of the Garage,” said HealthIM’s Daniel Pearson-Hirdes. “The support we’ve received is amazing and it’s such an exciting place to be right now!”

Judges for the $25,000 prizes were Golden Venture Partners Partner Ameet Shah, Azure Capital Partners Vice President Dan Park, Real Ventures General Partner Janet Bannister, and Kik Founder & CEO Ted Livingston.

Judges for the $5,000 prizes were PCH vice-president of Community Engagement & Hackathons Katherine Hague, Accelerator Centre VP Client Services Andrew Jackson, and Communitech VP Startup Services Steve McCartney.

“I can say with certainty that this is the best group of pitches we’ve seen in the history of the $5K competition,” said Velocity Director Mike Kirkup.

Results of the event were nearly upstaged by Kirkup’s announcement that the departure of Google from the Tannery building has freed up 80,000 square feet of space previously occupied by the search engine giant, which will be occupied by Velocity as of December 1.

The Velocity expansion will create North America’s largest free technology incubator.

Google has taken its 350 employees and moved into 185,000 square feet in the Breithaupt Block development.

The Velocity Fund’s next competition takes place in March 2016.

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