In Part 1: Welcome to Waterloo Region, we introduced you to our community and took you on a tour of some of our most influential facilities that help produce our community of innovators. Let’s take a look at where our innovators go for support and growth to get their ideas created!
Accelerators, Incubators and Hubs
Of course, no startup community would be complete without great leadership and financial support, and Waterloo is no exception. With a strong history of entrepreneurial spirit and technical innovation, we pride ourselves in keeping homegrown talent well-fed.
The Accelerator Centre is an incubator for high-tech early-stage companies. There they benefit from indepth business coaching and support services such as access to office facilities, education, connections to capital, R&D support, talent recruitment, technology transfer assistance, and commercialization expertise.
they have graduated 33 companies since 2005, generated 1000 jobs, and have contributed more than $43 million in revenue
The Accelerator Centre helps companies move to market faster, create jobs and contribute to the local economy. So far they have graduated 33 companies since 2005, generated 1000 jobs, and have contributed more than $43 million in revenue to Waterloo region’s economy. 100% of the graduate companies have remained in Ontario and 84% are from the local area. Today, there are 45 companies in residence.
The University of Waterloo is the home of what is affectionately called our local dormcubator, VeloCity. It is another of this region’s ‘hives of innovation’ designed especially for students who want to build businesses between classes. Originally a residence program, VeloCity has seen significant success and demand for students to test drive their business ideas in this experiential learning environment.
VeloCity startups have raised over $90 million in funding and created hundreds of employment positions
What sets VeloCity apart from a typical incubator or accelerator program is it specifically focuses on providing entrepreneurial resources for all students at the University of Waterloo, and is open to all students and faculties on campus, and has no restrictions on industry. Traditionally the startup scene has been dominated by tech, but at VeloCity there are no such restrictions. This space provides all the typical accelerator services such as mentorship, networking, education about sales, finances and marketing, and can house up to 50 companies per year.
As an added bonus, the ideas that you come up with at the University of Waterloo are your own. UW has an inventor-owner policy, which means that any ideas that you come up with at the University have no ownership ties to VeloCity or to the University of Waterloo.
“Since VeloCity’s start five years ago, we have supported the launch of over 45 companies, including Kik Interactive which today has over 80 million registered users; BufferBox, which was acquired by Google last year; and Thalmic Labs, which recently raised over $15 million in funding from outside investors,” said Mike Kirkup, Director at VeloCity. “Together, VeloCity startups have raised over $90 million in funding and created hundreds of employment positions.”
Communitech is a 30,000 square foot accelerator for digital media startups located at the Tannery in downtown Kitchener. Ian Klugman, Communitech’s president, has said that Waterloo region welcomes three new startups every day. Communitech has 15 years of collaboration among its top tech entrepreneurs, investors, services providers and other startup focused organizations.
1000 jobs created and generating more than $30 billion in revenue
Communitech has helped support and build the tech industry in this region, with close to 1000 jobs created and generating more than $30 billion in revenue.
Communitech’s accelerator, Hyperdrive, is a six month program, divided into one three month sprint with a demo day and an investment of $150,000, then a three month sprint of sales and marketing growth. Hyperdrive offers ‘soft landing’ spots in tech hot beds like New York City as well as other leading hubs so that no matter where you are, your company can have global validation.
We’ve always got a lot going on in Waterloo region, and we’re happy to share our successes with you!
Here are just a few of the best places to keep up with all the comings and goings of this bustling region:
Part 1 - Welcome to Waterloo Region
Part 3 – Success Stories