A biotech startup entrepreneur who studied at the University of Waterloo and took part in Communitech’s Fierce Founders Bootcamp has landed a prestigious Thiel Fellowship for 2017.

Laura Vaughan is co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer at Acorn Cryotech, a UW Velocity company that cryo-preserves clients’ stem cells for potential therapeutic use in the future.

The Thiel Fellowship lasts two years and provides US$100,000, along with high-level mentorship, to young entrepreneurs who are encouraged to leave their studies to build their companies. It is funded by the Thiel Foundation and was launched in 2011 by San Francisco-based billionaire entrepreneur and investor Peter Thiel.

Vaughan is among a select group of 25 recipients of the fellowship this year, which routinely attracts thousands of applications from around the world. This is the third consecutive year that a Waterloo student has been named a Thiel Fellow (previous local recipients were Alex Rodrigues and Panashe Mahachi in 2016 and Harry Gandhi and Liam Horne in 2015).

A year ago, Acorn Cryotech was selected to participate in Communitech’s Fierce Founders Bootcamp for female-led startups.