In recent weeks, the total amount of funding raised by companies under Velocity — the University of Waterloo’s tech incubator — has surpassed $2.4 billion. This is a significant increase from $1.7 billion that was raised by the end of 2020.
Less than two years ago, Velocity announced that it had hit the $1 billion milestone over the past decade. Many of its residents and alumni have seen great success over the years.
Four Velocity alumni have reached unicorn status including ApplyBoard, Faire and Kik. A unicorn is a privately held start-up company valued at over $1 billion. The term was coined after the mythical creature to allude to how rare it is for a venture to achieve that level of success.
Faire, which was formed through Velocity, is an online platform that enables retailers to find and try thousands of unique items risk-free. Last October, the value of Faire almost tripled after a funding round that brought the company’s estimated worth to $7 billion. In June, ApplyBoard — an educational recruitment platform powered by artificial intelligence — raised $375 million and was valued at $4 billion.
These financing rounds played a significant role in helping Velocity surpass the $2 billion milestone, increasing the total funding raised by Velocity companies by 40 per cent since November 2019.
“We continue to see the Velocity alumni scale companies that can reshape entire industries. Supporting the next generation of founders poised to build the next billion dollar companies is what we are focused on,” said Adrien Côté, Executive Director, on the Velocity blog.
This year, most of the funding went to Software & Service companies, with a growing interest in the Health, CleanTech and Food and Agriculture sectors.
In 2023, the University of Waterloo will launch the Innovation Arena — a 90,000 square-foot space that will contain lab facilities, equipment and business offices dedicated to supporting breakthroughs in health tech. It will be located in the City of Kitchener’s Innovation District with Velocity at its core.
“Velocity and the Innovation Arena are redefining the borders of the university,” said Côté in a video posted on the University of Waterloo’s YouTube channel. “It’s a door into the work and the thought and the energy of turning ideas and research into businesses with impact”.
Velocity is currently accepting applications for new start-ups to join the incubator in 2021.