Momentum shares how Velocity propels founders’ potential.

Executive Director’s message

The freedom to innovate.

Adrien Côté (BSc ’99)
Executive Director, Velocity
Members of Grease Tech celebrate with their peers at the Winter 2024 Velocity Pitch Competition.

The day I first visited Velocity was wonderfully memorable. Teams of creative, focused, ambitious people were building businesses, turning prototypes into products, making sales calls: nearly seventy startups under one roof making what many deem impossible happen. A freedom to innovate permeated every conversation I had with a founder or one of their co-op students, or employees, indeed the space itself. I was inspired that so many people had chosen building a business as the next step after completing their degree, one of the hardest paths to starting a career. Velocity was their resource to help get things off the ground and find the best direction.

Business incubation and acceleration has been around for more than twenty-five years. Supporting startups is an industry now, compared to 2008 when Velocity was founded. Thousands of startup programs now exist globally, each having its own twist and thesis to beat the odds to have their participant companies gain outsized success. Velocity has avoided various trends in startup programming and preferred to adapt as required as we engage new startups. We feel compelled to get people to the best next step, no matter what type of business they are pursuing or their envisioned path to business success. We feel limiting Velocity to industry-standard business incubation and acceleration tactics limits the possibilities for creative and ambitious people to achieve success.

Velocity is one of the reasons the Waterloo is ranked first in Canada and 21st globally for founders according to PitchBook 2023. These startups are providing solutions to a wide breadth of sectors from using quantum technology to safety proof the future and rapid testing for disease diagnosis to infusing artificial intelligence into educational curriculum to prepare the workforce of tomorrow.

Our world needs more people to be highly effective entrepreneurs, to challenge the status quo by taking ownership of their ideas and making them tangible by selling highly desirable services and products that improve the way we manufacture, care for each other and our planet, have fun, acquire knowledge, increase the value of assets, and more. As founders come to Velocity with new ambitions and technologies, Velocity will find new ways to help founders beat the odds and create value. This means Velocity will likely look very different five years from now, as it looks very different today than it did fifteen years ago. However, Velocity will always endeavor to be an oasis for innovation, allowing founders to make the impossible happen and where businesses get off the ground in the best direction for the founder.

Momentum is a snippet of what happens at Velocity and shares how we think about propelling the potential of founders we engage. As you read the founder stories be inspired and heartened that our world can change for the better.  

Do big things.