Term: 3 Years
Velocity’s business incubator is Canada's most productive startup support system by job creation and investment. The Venture Director, Velocity Incubator is accountable to the Executive Director Velocity for all strategy, programming, investments, and partnerships pertaining to Velocity’s impact launching scalable businesses into the Canadian economy. The incumbent must be passionate about helping startups grow, is deeply familiar with and invested in the startup and investor communities across Canada and North America, and also motivated to work with entrepreneurs from the UWaterloo community and beyond. They have a customer centric approach to service delivery: founders are first. The incumbent is directly experienced with business diligence strategies and processes, either as an investor, venture partner, or a company founder. The incumbent will be responsible for creating support systems at Velocity such as a highly supportive peer-group, structured resources, deep advisor/founder relationships, due diligence, comprehensive infrastructure (office, labs, etc) and strategic partnerships with the best of the global startup ecosystem.
Velocity is in its next era. Equity is foundational to allow all committed entrepreneurs to enter the program, broader engagement with the business community is expected, and focus on returns is critical with the recent launch of two micro-VC funds. Velocity is also building supports for research-initiated spinouts from the University of Waterloo and has increasing numbers of such startups within the portfolio. Success in the role is also contingent on sustaining internal/external relationships with stakeholders particularly those within the University of Waterloo that can be points of origin of companies for the Velocity portfolio (e.g. Student Innovation, Office of Research, and Faculties). Effective collaboration with the Director, Velocity Campus is essential for bridging Campus world with the startup ecosystem locally and abroad. Ultimately, the incumbent for this role leads the venture support mission for Velocity with the agency of a founder: purposeful, efficient, and with dire focus to create great outcomes.
This role is contingent on funding.
Strategic Direction and Leadership
Assures that all Incubator operations as it relates to admission, support strategies, and investment decisions are equitable and supportive of equity seeking groups
Accountable for growing a successful company portfolio - a portfolio designed to maximize the output of venture back-able companies
Leads and is accountable for all Velocity investments, including effective due-diligence processes, management of returns, securing and communicating with limited partners, and assuring that all activities proceed with fiduciary excellence
Assimilate and develop modernized strategies for maximizing startup success as markets/trends evolve
Drives a culture of excellence as it relates to best-in-class thinking around venture creation, venture support, and venture success
Operations & Management
Provide senior-management hands-on guidance on the day-to-day operations of Velocity Incubator as it relates to start-up supports, including advisement, community building and marketing
Responsible for the recruiting, coaching, and dismissal of Velocity Incubator staff
Ensure efficient processes are in place and are being used
Ensure the Velocity team is in harmony with, and implements, the overall vision of our program
Ensure a healthy, supportive team culture
Coaching and motivating staff who report to this position as well as the Velocity team in general
Support in creating yearly budgets for Provost approval. Ongoing oversight and management of the Garage budget and financial statements and approval of new spending
Assist the Executive Director in securing new funding for startups and collaborate with Director Velocity Campus as relevant in putting forward joint funding applications
Partnerships and Relationship Building
Manage investor relations - be the point of contact for current investors and cultivate new investor relationships; attract them to the Velocity portfolio and facilitate connections to portfolio companies
Manage partner relations and best leverage the global and local ecosystem - be the lead for Velocity Demo Days , as well as other national and international partners (ie. Communitech Strategic Growth Team, TechTO, Y-Combinator, Indie Bio, TechStars etc.)
Have a strong network which the incumbent would be able to tap into in order to continue to bring valuable resources to Velocity portfolio (speakers, investment advisors, specialized mentorship / domain expertise etc.)
Manage internal partners and relationships, most importantly with the Velocity Campus team and leadership but extending to other aspects of University of Waterloo (e.g. Deans, Office of Research) where start-up relevant
Mentorship and Program structure
Lead and manage a driven and diverse business advisor team
Assist with program structure evolution and changes that best position Velocity to support startups (new programs, infrastructure, process, resources, etc)
The incumbent will mentor startups in the Velocity Incubator and regularly participate in advisory board meetings, office hours, ad-hoc meetings
Evaluate applications to Velocity and Velocity Investments and conduct interviews/diligence in support of strategic Incubator objectives
Minimum five years in a leadership role is required. The incumbent will have experience as an entrepreneur and will understand the nature and challenges inherent in starting and growing a business. A clear understanding of the principles and application of key areas of business especially as they apply to start-ups is required, including but not limited to product development, marketing, sales, intellectual property, operations management, fundraising and talent development and management
Experience managing staff is required
Strong strategic, analytical, technical, communication and organizational skills are essential
A high level of knowledge and expertise in the strategy and process of technological innovation, with a deeper understanding of digital media, software, web, mobile, hardware and life sciences
Expert knowledge in leading edge tools, trends and techniques in these rapidly changing fields
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The University values the diverse and intersectional identities of its students, faculty, and staff. The University regards equity and diversity as an integral part of academic excellence and is committed to accessibility for all employees. The University of Waterloo seeks applicants who embrace our values of equity, anti-racism and inclusion. As such, we encourage applications from candidates who have been historically disadvantaged and marginalized, including applicants who identify as First Nations, Métis and/or Inuit/Inuk, Black, racialized, a person with a disability, women and/or 2SLGBTQ+.
All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadians and permanent residents will be given priority.
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