Director's Message

Championing the next generation.

Alroy Almeida (BASc ’13)

Deeptech Director, Velocity

This image shows two people sitting together facing each other talking. One person has a computer and is sitting on a grey couch. The other is sitting across on a chair with hands on knees. You can tell they are deep in conversation. The people are Alroy Almeida a director at Velocity and founders of Pink and New Jenni.

Alroy Almeida meets with founder Jenni Lien.

I joined the Velocity team almost ten years to the day from when I first joined as co-founder of Voltera (Velocity ‘13). I quickly learned what has changed, what hasn’t and how Velocity’s mission has remained steadfast while operations evolve with the times.

Let me explain.

During the pandemic Velocity had to limit access to its physical spaces. All teams continued working with us and for the first time we accepted ones that were geographically distant and remote-first. What became clear was that being a Velocity founder means being engaged with our two core services: coaching and community. It is what founders want and they are coming to Velocity for it. Even with an uptick in remote teams and the challenges that come with engaging our services remotely, we strive to strike a balance between flexibility and value delivery.

Current founders want to learn from startups zero to 18 months ahead of them and absorb the execution and growth mindset from experienced founders. Community also exists for startups that launched out of Velocity in years past. They are now part of a support system that gives back to the next generation of founders.

Over the last decade, the number of incubators, accelerators and other startup support systems have ballooned and the number of startups and founders has grown in tandem. There’s no direct competition as founders can be part of multiple programs simultaneously. And due to tremendous efforts by Velocity’s team on campus, there has never been a larger cohort of student founders. Overall founders are more knowledgeable and prepared to run a business than ever before.

Society and industry may have influenced Velocity’s evolution over time, but constants remain. Since our first full year of operation in downtown Kitchener back in 2013, we continue to attract the same ratio of hardware and software companies, overall averaging at 52 per cent of pure software teams.

Beyond developing founder skillsets and mindsets needed to build rapidly growing businesses, Velocity continues to help founders overcome the conservatism and failure avoidance that can creep into startup communities and hamper growth. We aim to build founders up when they make tough decisions and cheer them on when they dedicate themselves to building a real business.

I continue to be excited to work with new founders, to motivate and champion them and be a reliable and honest sounding board.