University of Waterloo Welcomes Handful of New Startups to VeloCity Garage

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It’s that time of the year again, where the University of Waterloo welcomes several young startups to the VeloCity Garage incubation hub.

The new cohort of student/alumni startups (at least one founder must be a student and or alumni of the university) features everything from a company that makes mobile games teaching kids programming skills to one than connects avid cooks among startups. In total now, VeloCity is hosting 35 seed-stage companies for its Winter 2014 term.

The new startups target a broad range of markets in both the business and consumer space, from online shoppers and retailers, to bloggers, marketers and researchers. Several more hardware-based startups are queued up to move into the Velocity Foundry workspace when the new location is ready.

“Demand for Velocity workspace continues to grow each year and we’re doing what we can to accommodate all of the great innovations and young entrepreneurs coming from the University of Waterloo,” said VeloCity’s Mike Kirkup. “We’re off to an amazing start this year, with a record 35 startups headquartered at Velocity Garage this term.”

Here’s this year’s startups:

Homefed is an online food network that matches hosts and guests to share home-cooked meals. Guests can discover, order and pay for meals online, share their experiences, and connect with others over the love of home-cooked food. They are currently promoting networks in Vancouver, Kitchener, Waterloo, Guelph, Cambridge, and the Greater Toronto Area. www.homefed.co.

LightBot makes mobile games that teach kids from Kindergarten to Grade 10 real-world programming concepts such as sequencing instructions, writing procedures, and creating loops and conditionals. Their first game is available for iOS and Android at light-bot.com. LightBot won a grant worth $25,000 at the Velocity Fund Finals last November.

MetricWire provides researchers with a platform for collecting high-frequency data from study participants and their environments via smartphones. Data can be streamed from multiple sources including GPS, camera and microphone, as well as external devices. To sign up for the open beta, visit www.metricwire.com. MetricWire won a grant worth $25,000 at the Velocity Fund Finals last November.

PiinPoint is an online predictive analytics tool that quickly recommends the best locations for new stores based on demographic, traffic, commercial real estate, and municipal data. Visit  www.piinpoint.com. PiinPoint won a grant worth $25,000 at the Velocity Fund Finals last November.

Sesame IO is a free online platform that lets kindergarten to Grade 12 teachers connect all of the everyday notable moments to make each student’s learning process visible. Teachers can collaboratively plan lessons on a calendar, capture student progress through photos, videos and audio recordings via the Sesame Snap app on their mobile devices, and record evaluations such as rubrics and checklists. Every student has a personalized learning portfolio filled with real evidence and feedback across all subject areas and grade levels that can be shared with other teachers and parents. sesameio.com.

uMentioned is a college-based messaging app for students to share and chat about anonymous stories with their friends and peers based on the events unfolding in their lives. Available today for iOS and Android. Visit www.umentioned.com. uMentioned won a grant worth $25,000 at the Velocity Fund Finals last November.

Velatron Labs is developing a personalized platform to help shoppers order the right-sized clothing online. Shoppers use a mobile app to take front and side profile pictures of themselves. The pictures remain only on the shopper’s phone. The platform creates a unique FitMap and an associated code for the shopper to enter at participating online retailers. The FitMap shows how the clothing fits the person’s body profile on the online shopping site. Visit www.velatronlabs.com.

Founders are Piyush Kumar, Rohit Verma and Pratik Patel, mechanical engineering 2013, are Waterloo alumni.

Wriber is an online writing coach for bloggers, marketers and publishers to keep ideas and content flowing. Wriber helps brainstorm topics to write about, suggests ways to expand on content as it is being written, and recommends wording tweaks to make content more discoverable by search engines while maintaining the integrity of the content. Beta is coming soon. Visit wriber.com.

Joseph Czikk

Joseph Czikk

Joseph Czikk is Managing Editor at Betakit. Prior to Betakit Joseph wrote for the National Post, Montreal Gazette, Vancouver Sun, Regina Leader Post, Techvibes and BC Business Online. Joseph often goes crazy on twitter during NHL and NFL games.