University of Waterloo students are behind a boom in new startups launching in Waterloo, Ontario. Buddingup, Unsynced, and Findit Off Campus are the newly launched startups. It seems VeloCity, a startup incubator unveiled in 2008, has sparked renewed entrepreneurial spirit at the University of Waterloo.
Robin Speziale of Buddingup, Ted Livingston of Unsynced, and Paul Lee and Krishna Sivaranjan of Findit Off Campus represent a new generation of entrepreneurs from the University of Waterloo. And while not all entrepreneurs behind these new startups were members of VeloCity – a campus incubator for Waterloo students – they can thank VeloCity for renewed entrepreneurial spirit at the University of Waterloo.
These new student-launched startups vary in concept. Buddingup.com, a job site for students and new grads, was founded by Robin Speziale, an Honours Arts and Business student at the University of Waterloo. Speziale states he started buddingup.com to “provide students and grads a better job search experience”. Buddingup features entry level, internship and co-op job listings.
Among the VeloCity hatched startups are Unsynced and Findit Off Campus. Ted Livingston founded Unsynced.com, a music platform for the Blackberry, recently selected as one of 16 finalists in the international BlackBerry developers contest. Also, Paul Lee and Krishna Sivaranjan launched FinditOffCampus.com, a student housing site that offers an interactive map with local business search and bus route display feature to ease the housing process for students.
Buddingup, Unsynced, and Findit Off Campus were all launched by University of Waterloo students. No wonder StartupNorth writer Jevon MacDonald recently stated that “This pretty much makes Waterloo the go-to university for students serious about doing a startup”. MacDonald explains that “we have a bit of a thesis here at StartupNorth… that the biggest problem with the startup environment here in Canada isn’t that VC’s aren’t investing as much as we might like these days… but we think that the biggest issue is that there is no push that gets an early stage idea from the notepad to the web.”
Since opening in fall 2008, University of Waterloo’s VeloCity has been a welcome solution to Canada’s startup problem. Sean Van Koughnett, director of VeloCity, recently stated in Imprint – University of Waterloo’s official campus newspaper – that VeloCity has “largely met or exceeded the expectations of students, partners, and administrators”. “For students, it[VeloCity] has provided them with an opportunity to develop ideas they feel passionate about, to work and live with like-minded students, and to build professional networks.”
Indeed, the University of Waterloo is fostering a new generation of startups and the entrepreneurs behind them. For soon-to-be graduating high school students looking to join the new startup boom in Waterloo, Ontario – the University of Waterloo is a great place to start.