Last week, students from the University of Waterloo pitched their early-stage startup ideas at the Concept $5K Semi-Finals hoping to be one of the 10 teams selected to move on to the Concept $5K Finals on . This competition is the successor to the Velocity Fund Finals $5K and it is the second time we’ve run it under the new Concept name.

Over two action-packed nights, a total of 30 teams took the stage to pitch their innovative ideas. Their goal was to convince the judges from the Student Venture Fund and the local startup community that their startup idea is worthy of $5K in funding. With a 3-minute time limit, the students’ pitches focused on stating the importance of the problem, their innovative solution, the potential market size, why they have the right team to solve the problem, and how they would use the grant if they won.

After the dust settled and the pitches were complete, our judges hurried off to a separate room to decide the deserving finalists. As per usual, there was a hearty debate in the judges’ room. Each team that pitched offered compelling reasons to be selected, and in an ideal world, we would love to fund them all. However, in this Concept world, only 10 student teams were chosen to advance.

Making the tough choices and finalist decision this semester was our panel of incredible judges. We’d like to extend our appreciation to the people who took time out of their busy schedules to help us select the worthy competitors. Thank you to our judges: Abi Chandra, Aislinn Shoveller, Rob Aranha, Jason Deglint, Megan Logan, and Neil Mistry. We could not do this without you and the feedback provided was incredibly helpful to the teams, and audience members!

And one final thank you we need to extend is to the School of Accounting & Finance’s Student Venture Fund. Since Spring 2019 they’ve helped us review the applications and select our semi-finalists, provided judges to help select the finalists, and provided one of the $5K grants!

If you were unable to attend the Semi-Finals or follow along on social media, our friends at Conrad School of Entrepreneurship and Business shared a big announcement! New this semester we will be partnering with them to provide an extra prize. Finalists will also be eligible for the Conrad School of Entrepreneurship and Business Award. This award will provide one student team with access to two first-year engineering co-op students who can help them achieve short-term business objectives through a 7-week placement.

Without further delay, we are proud to announce the finalists who will compete for Concept $5K Grants!


Get to know this term’s finalists

BeBlended
BeBlended is an online platform that connects black women with hairstylists.

HomeScouts
HomeScouts helps you settle into a home away from home, with zero added worries.

iuvoderm
iuvoderm is creating a patch that improves the healing process of diabetic foot ulcers through antimicrobial properties and drug diffusion.

Little You
Little You is an app for children to create, sell and share their 3D characters with pre-designed templates.

Reflect
Reflect is a guided journal app for mindfulness.

Simple Care
Simple Care is creating a urine analysis system in the form of a smart diaper.

SMRTCoat
SMRTCoat is creating a spray-on colour-changing impact solution that is focused on concussion detection.

Tomat.io
Tomat.io is building a tomato harvesting robot for greenhouses.

TrakTab
TrakTab is connecting chronic medication users to their loved ones through a smart pillbox.

Vision Spatial Technologies
Vision Spatial Technologies is building a computer vision powered traffic light that improves safety and reduces the liability of ski resorts.


Concept $5K Finals

Due to the ongoing situation with the COVID-19 virus, this semester will see a change to the Concept $5K Finals. As per University of Waterloo policies and Ministry of Health recommendations, we will not be bringing a crowd together to witness students pitch. Instead, our finalists will submit videos of their 3 minute pitches. Our panel of esteemed judges will select the top four teams, and award them $5K grants to help turn their concept into a reality.

It is unfortunate that we will no longer be able to host this great event, but the safety of our community is of the utmost importance. We appreciate your understanding through this time and are looking forward to letting students take the stage again in the future.

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