Hardware startups are outnumbering software startups for the first time in the University of Waterloo VeloCity Garage program’s history. The startup incubator today announced its new lineup of ten startups, and the hardware focus has even prompted the university to open a new location.
According to the incubator space, the shift to more hardware-based startups will see the University expand Velocity with the opening of the “Velocity Foundry” later this year to support hardware, materials and life sciences startups.
“The costs of building a hardware startup have dropped significantly in recent years, putting us at the cusp of an entirely new era in business,” said Mike Kirkup, director of Velocity. “Velocity is geared up for the boom in hardware, materials and life sciences startups with new programs, specialized workspaces and more funding through the upcoming Velocity Foundry.”
The Velocity Foundry will provide extra space, tooling and specialized facilities that hardware startups need to build and test prototypes of their products. The space will also provide mentorship and programming.
Velocity has also increased the funding available for hardware startups. Palette, a company that created a freeform hardware interface that can be custom configured to control software, won the first-ever award for best hardware-based startup at the most recent Velocity Fund Finals held in March.
Along with Palette, these companies are the new tenants of the VeloCity Garage:
In addition to Palette, the new startups that will call Velocity their headquarters include:
- Boogaloo Bunks is building a product that provides comfort and privacy in shared sleeping quarters such as youth hostels. Founders: Caleb Polley, Speech Communications, and Brendan Coady, Mechanical Engineering.
- EyeCheck is an endeavour to provide low-cost vision care to millions of people currently underserved by care in their region. Using image processing techniques and basic imaging equipment, EyeCheck aims to deliver high quality vision assessments to provide glasses to those who need them most. The team currently has a working hardware and software prototype, and are aggressively testing in order to proceed to clinical trials within a year. Founders: Ashutosh Syal and Daxal Desai, Systems Design Engineering.
- HearthStats is a free web app that tracks wins and losses for gamers of the free-to-play digital strategy card game HearthStone – Heroes of Warcraft. HearthStats is currently available in multiple languages. Support for other popular web-based games coming soon. Founder: Jeffrey Tong, Chemical Engineering.
- MBLOK, by Kwelea, is a fit-in-your-pocket expandable memory block that connects via Bluetooth to all of your personal devices for centralized, offline access to personal content such as movies, pictures, videos, documents and more. It’s a great way to easily and securely share files between your laptop, smartphone, tablet or smartwatch without extra wiring. It boasts a long battery life of up to 300 hours per charge, Bluetooth 4.0 transfer speed,128 bit transfer encryption, and 256 GB of storage. Watch for the MBLOK Kickstarter campaign starting later this month. Founder: Anton Kabanov, Mechanical Engineering.
- Medella Health is building a wearable technology solution that continuously and non-invasively monitors blood glucose levels and communicates the data with a mobile device so that patients can better manage their diabetes. Founders: Harry Gandhi, Biotechnology and Economics; Huayi Gao, Nanotechnology Engineering; Ali Amin, Mechatronics Engineering; and Maarij Baig, Biochemistry.
- PetroPredict is a well-integrity prediction engine for the oil and gas industry that enables subsurface engineers to identify low capital and high reward optimization opportunities in their fields. PetroPredict’s vision is to revolutionize the way the energy industry makes decisions to improve their profitability. Founders: Dominic Toselli, Mechanical Engineering, and Andrew Andrade, Mechatronics Engineering.
- ShockLock, by Ansik Inc., is a safety jack that reinforces worn-out struts to hold up vehicle hoods and trunks. It’s fail-safe, easy-to-use, and prevents a lot of headaches, particularly for mechanics and automobile enthusiasts. ShockLock is currently gearing up for a beta test launch with over 25 mechanic and auto service shops throughout the Toronto-Waterloo corridor. Founders: Yashin Shah, Speech Communication and Management Studies, and Shiva Bhardwaj, Electrical and Computer Engineering.
- TicketLabs Inc. is changing the way concert organizers and promoters sell tickets. With TicketLabs, event organizers can create branded mobile and web pages with powerful social features and checkout flows built in so that users can easily purchase tickets and invite their family and friends to do the same. Promoters can also sell directly to their social networks. Founders: Ian Roberts, Biochemistry and Business, and Patrick Hannigan, Computer Science and Business.
At least one cofounder must be a Waterloo student or alumni for their startup to be considered for entry at the incubator.