Salient Energy, which is creating batteries meant to lead the shift towards renewable energy, won big at the Velocity Fund Finals with $35,000.
The team took a $25,000 prize, as well as a top hardware prize of $10,000. Salient Energy is working to commercialize battery technology that will help address fluctuations in power supply and demand that have been a hurdle in advancing renewable energy.
“Not many people know that the supply and demand in our electrical grid needs to be equal. This has been fine with fossil fuels, because even though demand can’t be controlled, we could just burn more or less coal to control our energy supply. However, if we want to rely on renewable energy, where we can no longer control supply or demand, we need to change how the system works,” said Ryan Brown, business lead and co-founder at Salient Energy. “The way we do this is to incorporate batteries, charging them in times of excess supply, and discharging them in times of excess demand, balancing the system.”
During the Velocity Fund Finals, 10 companies pitched their ideas to a panel of judges, which included Chris Best, co-founder and CTO of Kik; Dan Park, principal, Azure Capital Partners; Devon Galloway, co-founder & CTO of Vidyard; and Janet Bannister, partner at Real Ventures, evaluated companies on innovation, market potential, market viability and overall pitch. Three companies that also took the $25,000 top prize, as well as free workspace in Velocity, include (descriptions as per Velocity):
CubeXLab Technologies: provides automated vision inspection solutions that are affordable, flexible and easy- to-use for part and component manufacturers in automotive, fastener, plastic injection and pharmaceutical industries.
Knote: Offers a natural language processing platform to help companies leverage the power of artificial intelligence in documents and big data processing. Their tools enable companies to support employees by automating routine, time consuming work, and by improving efficiency.
UpGrain uses low frequency electro-magnetic field stimulation of seeds to increase overall yield of various crops by 20 percent. They use advanced mathematical algorithms to calculate the most suitable time to maximize treatment effects on seeds.
In addition to the Velocity Fund Finals, 10 teams of University of Waterloo students competed for three prizes of $5,000 and access to workspaces. The winners of that competition include:
Gymnatik: provides one day passes to gyms around the world.
MycoCup: a sustainable take-out cup made of agricultural waste and mycelium—the roots of fungi.
The Playful Pixel: hosts large group entertainment events that combine the best of theatre, board games, and video games.