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23-year-old tech whiz gives $1-million to Waterloo

Former University of Waterloo student Ted Livingston is donating $1-million (U.S.) to his alma mater. And he's 23.

If there's any doubt that Waterloo is where the money is at, this should make it much more clear.

Mr. Livingston is the founder of Kik Interactive, a Waterloo-based social messaging service that can be used on various mobile platforms -- iPhone, Android, and BlackBerry. That's a big deal, particularly in Canada, where BlackBerry Messenger is the leading text messaging service. (For those of you who don't understand why Kik is so popular, ask a teenager just how much better 'BBMing' is than texting.)

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Earlier this month Kik raised $8-million in venture capital funding from RRE Ventures, Spark Capital, and Union Square Ventures, according to TechCrunch. The million that Mr. Livingston is donating comes from selling some of his personal shares in the financing.

The money will help fund VeloCity, a residence-based program for student entrepreneurs at Waterloo. The university said the fund will provide 30 student ventures with $25,000, four months of office space, incorporation services and mentoring.

Seventy five student startups will also receive $500 prizes as part of the first stage of the screening process.

It should be noted, however, the Kik is being sued by Research In Motion. Mr. Livingston was previously employed at RIM on three occasions. Just after leaving he quickly went about developing Kik, and RIM claims Mr. Livingston infringed on their intellectual property rights.

At the time of the lawsuit Kik called RIM's lawsuit unjustified, and said it plans to "vigorously defend" against it.

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About the Author
Reporter and Streetwise columnist

Tim Kiladze is a business reporter with The Globe and Mail. Before crossing over to journalism, he worked in equity capital markets at National Bank Financial and in fixed-income sales and trading at RBC Dominion Securities. Tim graduated from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism and also earned a Bachelor in Commerce in finance from McGill University. More

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