Waterloo Watch


Velocity fund winner joins Y Combinator

UW’s own PiinPoint, a location analytics startup, has joined the Y Combinator seed accelerator in Silicon Valley. Formerly a part of Velocity, the company was one of four winners of the Velocity Fund Finals back in November. 

According to the Daily Bulletin, cofounders Jim Robeson, alumnus of UW’s master of business, entrepreneurship, and technology program, and Adam Saunders, a student in the faculty of environment, moved to California shortly after opening the PiinPoint office in Kitchener and plan to return to Velocity in April after developing their business in the Y Combinator.

They are the seventh startup from Velocity to participate in the Silicon Valley-based accelerator, past participants including Thalmic Labs, BufferBox, Vidyard, Pebble, Couple, and reebee. 

The Y Combinator specializes in providing advice, connections, and seed money to its participants in three-month-long programs. It’s “the most prestigious program for budding digital entrepreneurs,” according to their website.

Associate provost of students talks student space and BlackBerry buildings

Associate provost of students, Chris Read spoke to Imprint about student space on campus in relation to the new BlackBerry buildings UW purchased in February. 

“The university is trying to be as thoughtful as possible to make the best use of the net space gain,” said Read. “This was a big investment on the university’s part and so we know that student space is something that we need to keep working on and provide more of.”

UW now owns BlackBerry 1 (at the corner of Philip and Columbia), BlackBerry 16 (the former BF Goodrich building), and BlackBerry 3, the building closest to the General Services Complex. Planning for what and who will be going into these spaces is underway, the surveying being headed up by associate provost, resources Beth Jewkes and manager of space planning Scott Nicoll.

“The principles guiding the use of these buildings are to consolidate academic activity in the centre of campus, to consider units that have previously been spread across several places or off campus,” stated the Daily Bulletin

“[Student space] is something that we’re well aware of, and we know we have to make best use of this opportunity for the investment that we’ve made in the BlackBerry buildings,” added Read. “It is more likely that it will be non-academic units, but it is unlikely that, for example, a big chunk of the math faculty will move into the BlackBerry buildings.” 

Velocity has an angel investor watching over them

Michael Stork, an investor and entrepreneur from the Waterloo Region, has invested $1 million in UW’s Velocity centre. 

Stork has 30 years of experience in business and business-related initiatives in the KW area including serving on the board of governors at UW and is the current chairman of the Waterloo Accelerator Centre. 

He was also named they Golden Triangle Angelnet (GTAN) Angel of the Year for 2013. GTAN is a non-profit organization based in Cambridge that connects angel investors with prime investment opportunities. 

According to The Record, Stork describes Velocity’s work with startups as “just tremendous.” From what he has seen of the all the applicants to the incubator (where he is also a volunteer) he said, “The startups are all very worthy of potential investments.” 


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