Scoop: Former LifeSciences BC chief Dr. Lesley Esford has joined SFU VentureLabs as executive director
Previous leader Virginia Balcom is now overseeing strategic marketing at B.C. quantum computing startup Photonic.
SFU VentureLabs, the Vancouver-based incubator, has quietly hired Dr. Lesley Esford to be its new executive director. She replaced Virginia Balcom, who had been in the role since August of 2019. While no formal announcement has been made, Vancouver Tech Journal confirmed the news on Thursday morning (June 9).
Dr. Esford is a stalwart in B.C.’s life sciences community, having worked with over 100 companies through multiple roles, according to her VenturesLabs bio. Over the past two decades, Esford has been involved with several organizations including the BC Institute of Technology, the Consulate General of Canada, NRC-IRAP, Accel-RX, New Ventures BC, and Coast Capital Venture Connection. She is also the past president and CEO of LifeSciences BC, a prominent industry association.
Balcom, the former VentureLabs head, joined quantum computing startup Photonic in February of 2022 and remains an entrepreneur in residence at the organization, according to her LinkedIn. Photonic was launched in 2016 to commercialize research coming out of Simon Fraser University’s Silicon Quantum Technology (SQT) Lab, headed by Dr. Stephanie Simmons and Dr. Mike Thewalt.
VentureLabs celebrated its 10-year anniversary in 2021, a year in which it directly accelerated 109 science and technology-based ventures in Canada. Those companies hired nearly 100 employees and earned $8.5 million in revenue according to data released this past January.
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