Sunday Briefing | #119

If anyone ever questions the vibrancy of Vancouver’s tech ecosystem, please send them today’s newsletter—the longest bi-weekly briefing yet.

The Vancouver Tech Journal brings you news, insight, opinions, and the lesser-known stories from Vancouver's innovation ecosystem. It is written by William Johnson, an independent writer, communications advisor, and consultant based in Vancouver, B.C.

Ravi Kahlon was named B.C.’s Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation. And once again, Government missed out on giving that ministry the best acronym of all time—JEDI. If only they had used Development instead of Recovery… Ah well, hey JERI! (“Gerry sounds like a nice guy you go and have a drink with at the bar.” - my English fiancée while I was writing this).

Kahlon is B.C.’s fourth minister in charge of tech since 2017, succeeding Michelle Mungall, Bruce Ralston, and Amrik Virk (the Liberal defeated in the 2017 election).

Deloitte announced the winners of the Technology Fast 50, Companies-to-Watch, and Enterprise Fast 15 awards. The annual program analyzes the nation’s fastest-growing tech companies in terms of average growth over the past three years. Per Techcouver:

the B.C. companies on the Technology Fast 50 list are:

A few observations from Brendan Cooper, Deloitte’s Senior Manager Tax & Legal and BC Fast 50 co-lead: 1) This is Mojio’s 3rd year in the top ten. 2) There is an interesting industry cross-section among the F50 winners—Mojio (mobility), Jane (health-tech through practice enablement), Later (social media), Thinkific (Ed-tech), Freightera (Transportation), and ImmunoPrecise (Biotech). 3) Certn is the 2nd Vancouver Island company to be recognized as a Company to Watch. He also says, “It was a very competitive year... with 381% growth at number 50… the highest we’ve ever had.”

Christy Wyatt, CEO of Vancouver-based Absolute Software, was named New CEO of the Year by The Globe and Mail Report on Business. “Profit margins have grown to around 10 per cent, and revenue was up 12 per cent between fiscal 2018 and 2020. The company has added about 1,000 customers since Wyatt joined, bringing the total to 13,000,” reports Joe Castaldo. You can read my profile of Wyatt from March in Daily Hive: The Vancouver CEO leading the fight against the $6 trillion cybercrime industry.

The BC Tech Association announced its 26,000 square-foot BC Tech Innovation Hub will close at the end of November. Per Betakit’s Isabelle Kirkwood, “The BC Tech Innovation Hub had been open since 2014 and provided over 80 companies with workspace. The hub most recently had five startup tenants, which will no longer be housed there by the end of November.” BC Tech CEO Jill Tipping told Betakit:

It feels like the innovation hub was really the heart of the community, and its loss is going to be challenging. But we have to focus on the future, and think about what we can do next, and find a way to continue to help the community to come together.

Chime, a fintech firm headquartered in San Francisco, has opened an office in Vancouver. The company is one of many Silicon Valley companies that have set up shop here. From the Chime Medium blog “Hello, Vanouver!”:

We chose Vancouver because it has an existing talent market due to tech heavy hitters who have been there for years (and many who have recently arrived on the scene), it’s close to San Francisco, and it’s in the same time zone. We had a theory: that we would find great talent in Vancouver. So we set out to test it.

Rhino Ventures: Entrepreneurship Full Cycle—A short profile of Rhino Ventures and partner Jay Rhind in The New Business Review.


5 Questions: Pender Ventures exec Maria Pacella talks investing in inflection-stage tech companies

Greg Smith encourages businesses to build post-COVID resilience by boosting their online offerings

Karn Manhas says goodbye to the traditional office

Money talks

BC venture deal volume dropped to new low in Q3, but total funding shows a healthy ecosystem

Nanaimo's aDolus Technology wins the 2020 New Ventures BC Competition, takes home $135,000 in cash and prizes

Vancouver ground zero for new venture capital funds

TELUS creates new $100 million venture capital fund for startups

Vancouver fintech Mogo acquires Carta Worldwide in $24m deal

Spring Activator’s Impact Investor Challenge Awards Indiegraf $100,000


The Vancouver User Experience Awards, which recognizes the work of startups, freelance practitioners, agencies, and user-centric enterprises in creating incredible experiences, announced their winners. POWERSHiFTER, Charitable Impact, and Engine Digital were recognized for UX for Products, UX for Good, and UX for Commerce, respectively. Read the full list.

Local makers shine in SFU’s annual product entrepreneur competition. This year’s #MadeBySFU competition was a celebration of product entrepreneurs and an important reminder to support local businesses. Recreative Apparel took home the SFU Innovates Prize and Charlie & Paisley won Top Fan Favourite Award. Read the full winners list.

Quietly breaks through at the Content Marketing Awards for the second year running. “Back-to-back recognition shows we’re living out our mission of using data to help create compelling, industry-leading content for our clients,” says Quietly CEO Sean Tyson. “That’s always our goal; accolades are simply a bonus for doing great work.”


Fewer than 1 per cent of employees working in B.C.'s tech sector self-identify as Indigenous: survey

B.C. tech sector earns high marks in its latest report card, but there’s still work to do at home and abroad

Vancouver ranks as one of the top tech talent cities in Canada

New and novel

Vancouver company launching vending machine serving salads, fresh food

Good vibes only

Vancouver non-profit aims to alleviate seniors' technological isolation

VCC helps students enter and succeed in Vancouver’s rapidly evolving tech industry

Making moves

Vancouver’s AbCellera taps billionaire investor Peter Thiel for its board

B.C. furniture e-commerce company Cymax Group hires RBC, TD to lead IPO

Very Vancouver

What’s Next for the Co-Inventor of Vancouver’s Favourite Waterproof Sneaker

Out of town

COVID-proof: The Okanagan high-tech sector

Ideas and opinions

Ray Walia, CEO of Launch Ventures, writing in Business in Vancouver: Renewed effort needed to put global spotlight on Vancouver tech

Tara Clark, CEO of Social T, writing on LinkedIn: How to Use Social Media as a CEO

Greg Malpass, CEO of Traction on Demand, and Karn Manhas, CEO of Terramera, writing in the Vancouver Sun: Now is the time for strong plans and bold action to bolster B.C.'s economy

Brenda Irwin, managing partner of Relentless Venture Fund, writing on LinkedIn: A Village Story About Kindness

Colin Weston, host of the ModGolf PodCast, writing at Techcouver: How Golf Technology and Experience Design Can Help Us Through The Winter of COVID

Dr. Diane McIntosh, chief neuroscience officer at TELUS, writing at Techcouver: Adapting To Physical And Social Isolation During COVID-19

Andrew Reid, CEO of Rival Technologies, writing in Entrepreneur: 3 Ways to Win Consumer Confidence with Market Research

From the Launch Academy blog: 11 Local Entrepreneurs Reveal What Entrepreneurship Means to Them


Purchaser of Vancouver-based investment firm accused of falsifying info to get $172M loans

How a Vancouver-based tech company is helping small businesses fight cybercrime

Vancouver company develops COVID-19 screening device that uses artificial intelligence

General Fusion unveils demo plant design after commissioning architect (PHOTOS)

Vancouver Startup Caption Creates Google For Podcasts


Call for applications for the "Canadian XR Market Accelerator Program" in partnership with the Washington Technology Industry Association (WTIA) and Consulate General of Canada in Seattle. BC startups in the Extended Reality sector with a strong interest in the PNW/US market are encouraged to apply by Dec 7th. More info from Troy DeFrank online.

Check out Badhouse Provocative Startup Stories on December 3. A friendly pitch competition for early-stage startup founders + wisdom from the trenches. This week’s event features Holly Peck (AI engineering director @ Soul Machines), Sheila Vashee (partner @ Basis Set Ventures), John Karayel (principal @ Flow Capital), and a learning talk on Planning a seed fundraising round presented by Annika Lewis (associate @ Vanedge Capital). Learn more and register.


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