Incubating the future

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The University of Waterloo,  along with its startup incubator, Velocity, have decided to boost local hardware startups by creating a hardware haven in the Waterloo region.


The facility, which will be opening its doors in the late summer, is located at 24 Water Street in Kitchener’s core. The 11,000 sq. ft. of unused space was formerly a mall.


The space will be called the Foundry and will be home to as many as 30 startups — 16 have already secured a spot for their projects. Until the Foundry is completed, the hardware startups will continue to work from UW’s current software incubator, the Velocity Garage. This move will divide UW’s incubator facilities into two categories — hardware and software —  giving startups more work space to develop their products.


The Velocity Foundry website states that “members are encouraged to use the space to solve problems collaboratively, share ideas, contribute to the startup community by mentoring others, and launch their startups.”


The website also provides a list of requirements that startups need  to fulfill in order to secure a spot at the Foundry.


The first requirement is that each startup or team needs to have at least one founder or co-founder who is a current UW student or alumni. The team should also consist of 10 people or less. The second requirement is that only startups that generate less than $25,000 in annual revenue can apply. The third requirement is that the startups need to be willing to contribute to the local startup community.


The Velocity Foundry website states, “We want to encourage a grassroots community who helps each other, mentors startups, and contributes to the broader startup ecosystem in the Waterloo region.”


Startups working at the Foundry will also be required to meet with the Velocity team to discuss their progress by fulfilling self-created objectives each month. This is to ensure that the teams are using the time and space provided in an efficient manner.


The final requirement that startups need to meet is to provide an overview of their business concept detailing the problems their startup solves, as well as identifying their target market.


UW&rsquo;s Velocity director, Mike Kirkup, said in an interview with <em>The Record</em> that Velocity&rsquo;s final goal is to work with around 40 to 50 companies by the end of the summer.&nbsp; &ldquo;Our goal is to have over 50 companies in the two programs easily by the end of this year,&rdquo; Kirkup said.


The Velocity Foundry is expected to open in August with an official launch scheduled for September.
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