While the "Ten with Ken" team was at the University of Waterloo to profile the Velocity incubator, we sat down with President & Vice-Chancellor Feridun Hamdullahpur to discuss the overall innovation ecosystem at what has been ranked Canada's #1 most innovative university for the past 25 years.
UWaterloo started off in the 1950s as a revolutionary idea - an Engineering-focused university created by local industrialists. From the beginning it focused on co-operative work-integrated learning, and to this day co-op experiences prepare UW students and faculty to think more innovatively. The institution has been building momentum for decades, attracting more and more innovative faculty and students.
Dr Hamdullahpur emphasizes the importance of outward connections with the world -- international, applied research, industry connections, co-op, research commercialization, and entrepreneurship. Innovation doesn't come from turning inward, retreating into the library or the lab, but from interacting with the world outside the university.
Some of UW's advantage has sprung from its creator-owned intellectual property policies. UW could benefit in the short term by taking a percentage of new discoveries and startup companies, but Dr Hamdullahpur believes UW, and the country, benefit more from allowing creators to retain complete ownership of their ideas.
Many colleges and universities want to know how to nurture a more innovative or entrepreneurial culture. Dr Hamdullahpur admits that it is a huge advantage for an institution to have been born that way, but suggests that it is possible to grow later. It cannot be partway, however: it must penetrate all aspects of operations. He also firmly believes that if institutions do NOT embrace innovation, they will become "insignificant" in another 15-20 years.
Dr Hamdullahpur is very proud of Waterloo's reputation and track record, which only makes him more determined to ensure the institution continues striving to stay on top.
Check out out site visit to the University of Waterloo's Velocity incubator to learn more, and hear from some of the student entrepreneurs who have recently founded startup companies on the strength of their co-op experiences. https://youtu.be/lj1AnCfYRMk
Ten with Ken recently went onsite at the University of Waterloo, to learn more about the world's largest free business incubator, Velocity. For the episode, we spoke to 4 young entrepreneurs, including Ian Tao, Founder and CEO of Sesame. This is our complete interview with him.
Sesame provides competency-based assessment software to primary, secondary and tertiary educators (licensed on a per-student basis). It allows instructors to upload visual, video and text records of a student's acquired skills and competencies, such as in nursing labs or performing arts courses where narrative text and a summative grade are insufficient. As more and more college and university programs gravitate towards competency-based assessment, tools like Sesame will be required.
For more information about Sesame, visit: https://sesamehq.com
Ten with Ken recently went onsite at the University of Waterloo, to learn more about the world's largest free business incubator, Velocity. For the episode, we spoke to 4 young entrepreneurs, including Rachel Thompson, Founder of Marlena Books. This is our complete interview with her.
Marlena Books is a social company producing reading material for individuals with Alzheimer's and Dementia, to improve their quality of life and their dignity. Currently they have 5 hardcover print books, but they are also developing e-books and hope to add 5 more titles each year.
For more information about Marlena Books, visit: http://www.marlenabooks.com
Ten with Ken recently went onsite at the University of Waterloo, to learn more about the world's largest free business incubator, Velocity. For the episode, we spoke to 4 young entrepreneurs, including Steven ten Holder, CEO of Acorn Cryotech. This is our complete interview with him.
Acorn Cryo sends collection kits to individuals who want to cryogenically preserve their own young cells, for use in medical breakthroughs in the future. Young cells will be much more resilient for use in various stem cell therapies, or even to grow new organs for implantation.
For more information about Acorn Cryotech, please visit: http://acorncryotech.com
Ten with Ken recently went onsite at the University of Waterloo, to learn more about the world's largest free business incubator, Velocity. For the episode, we spoke to 4 young entrepreneurs, including Daniel MacKenzie, the Chief Technology Officer at HealthIM. This is our complete interview with him.
HealthIM has built upon PhD research to create a software tool for front-line police officers to record details of a mental health crisis and share that information quickly with other community partners, such as hospitals and mental health professionals. The company is in field with full-paying customers, police forces in Southern Ontario.
For more information about HealthIM, please visit: https://healthim.com
Ten with Ken goes onsite at the University of Waterloo, home to the world's largest free business incubator, Velocity. The program's facilities include a campus Residence, Science facility, Start lounge, and the downtown Garage. In this extended episode, director Jay Shah gives us a tour of the Velocity Garage, explains the 3-stage model of business incubation, and introduces us to some exciting new companies:
Maluuba, an artificial intelligence company recently acquired by Microsoft.
Innovative Protein Technologies, which makes FrostArmour spray foam to protect crops from frost damage.
Alchemy, which is creating nanotechnology films to protect windshields from impact damage.
Vitameter, whose desktop device provides realtime analysis of the vitamins in your blood.
Qidni Labs, which is developing an implantable artificial kidney, which could make dialysis obsolete.
We learn about the tight connection between Velocity and Waterloo's longstanding co-op program, and the critical importance of mentorship and peer community as supports for startups. We hear about the funding model for Velocity, which charges companies no rent and takes no equity. (The Start-Up Pledge encourages companies to give back when they make it big.) Jay tells us what brought him back to Velocity after he sold BufferBox to Google: the exciting promise of major breakthroughs based on hard science.
We also got the chance to interview 4 dynamic young entrepreneurs:
Daniel MacKenzie, CTO of Health IM, which has produced software to help police officers record details of mental health crises and share them with community partners. (Full interview at https://youtu.be/GZUkzEOwjv4 ).
Ian Tao, Founder and CEO of Sesame, which provides competency-based assessment software to primary, secondary, and tertiary education. (Full interview at https://youtu.be/rwc4Pd5es6I ).
Rachel Thompson, Founder of Marlena Books, which publishes titles specifically designed for individuals with Alzheimer's and dementia. (Full interview at https://youtu.be/T5dbA0C5610 ).
Steven ten Holder, CEO of Acorn Cryotech, which preserves your young cells so you can use them for life-changing medical procedures in the future. (Full interview at https://youtu.be/WAuS8ly2zD8 ).
3 of these CEOs never even contemplated entrepreneurship until they were immersed in the innovation culture at the University of Waterloo. They were surrounded by entrepreneurial role models, had the opportunity to work in startups as co-op students, and gained the confidence to launch their own ventures.
Next week, Ken sits down with President & Vice-Chancellor Feridun Hamdullahpur, to discuss the broader innovation ecosystem at the University of Waterloo, and to explore just what other institutions might have to do to nurture entrepreneurialism on their own campuses.