Entrepreneur and angel investor, Mike Stork, is giving back to the Waterloo Region startup community with a generous donation of $1 million to Velocity at the University of Waterloo.
The donation is a double win for student entrepreneurs. The gift has inspired the University to grow the Velocity Fund run by the University's startup incubator, to support entrepreneurs emerging from the University.
"We are tremendously grateful to Mike Stork for this generous investment. Mike is one of the most successful angel investors in Waterloo Region with close ties to the University of Waterloo and, in particular, Velocity," said Feridun Hamdullahpur, president and vice-chancellor of Waterloo. "We are delighted with this gift that will provide additional funds for young entrepreneurs and early-stage startups."
Stork, who was named angel of the year in 2013 by Golden Triangle Angelnet is a member of Waterloo's Board of Governors and an active volunteer for Velocity. He has been active in the Waterloo Region business community for more than 30 years and has played an active role in a number of startups.
"The University of Waterloo has adopted an unconventional approach to entrepreneurship that I strongly support," said Stork. "Velocity is one of the most exciting and important elements of the University's vision for entrepreneurship and it's produced businesses that Waterloo Region can be proud of. I'm proud to support it as a volunteer and donor."
The Velocity Fund has awarded more than $750,000 in grants since its inception in 2011. It was first established in 2011 following another $1 million donation from former Velocity resident and Kik founder Ted Livingston. The competitions take place three times a year. Velocity takes no intellectual property rights or equity in return.
"Mike is a true mentor and a knowledgeable advisor to many startups at Velocity. We're always grateful for his support," said Mike Kirkup, director of Velocity. "His donation helps assure the future of Velocity and will allow the University to continue to incubate exciting businesses that have the potential to open up entirely new markets."
Previous recipients of the Velocity Fund include BufferBox, Kira Talent, MappedIn, reebee, Thalmic Labs, Vetica, Voltera and Weston Expressions. The most recent startups to receive funding include LightBot, MetricWire, PiinPoint, and uMentioned.
The Spring 2014 Velocity Fund Finals will be held on Thursday, March 27 in the Student Life Centre Great Hall.