Where is the love for BC's tech sector? | The Sunday Briefing
It depends on who you ask.
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By the way, today’s Briefing is 1,738 words, a 6-minute read. Enjoy!
💰 What mattered in the federal budget
Last week, the federal government released Budget 2021: A Recovery Plan for Jobs, Growth, and Resilience.
The Liberals say this budget is their multi-year program to “finish the fight against COVID-19—and ensure a resilient economic recovery that creates jobs and growth for Canadians.” It’s an ambitious plan that positions Canada’s leaders in science and technology as core to Canada’s economic future.
To get up to speed, read our Cheatsheet: Top 30 highlights for innovators in #Budget2021
🌱 The top cleantech stories so far this year
The BC cleantech sector is made up of nearly 300 companies that employ more than 16,300 people and generate annual revenues of around $2.4 billion.
The sector is also about to get a boost with the launch of a new Centre for Innovation and Clean Energy. With so much happening on this front, we decided to highlight the top Vancouver cleantech stories so far in 2021.
Read our round-up: 15 Vancouver cleantech stories you may have missed this year
In a guest column, Foresight CEO Jeanette Jackson argued that new approaches are required to address the global climate emergency.
“Earth Day offers the temptation to share some platitudes and resume the status quo. The problem is: the status quo is destroying our planet,” she wrote.
🤏 Tech made a brief appearance in the BC government’s 2021 budget, “StrongerBC for Everyone”
In it, the province projects an $8.1 billion deficit for 2021 and proposes investments in public services, infrastructure, and training, as well as other measures meant to spur economic growth and tackle major challenges like mental health and climate change.
Once again, Vancouver Tech Journal has read the full document so you don’t have to. Check out our brief summary: BC budget's tech spending touches on clean energy and skills development
🥇 In The Techies, a new column, James Matthews highlights the best tweets from a busy budget week
⏩ Quick Takes
Chain reaction: In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, BC Tech Association is partnering with Surrey, Richmond and Langley on a $400,000 Supply Chain Resiliency Program.
Spike in social: At Collison Conference, Hootsuite CEO Tom Keiser said his company “‘saw traffic activity on social media platforms explode,’ as businesses reinvented how they connected with customers by necessity.”
Fun money: According to Indeed, jobs related to the video game industry have seen "remarkable growth" Canada-wide in the wake of the pandemic—and these are average salaries in Vancouver's video game industry.
Net-tax: As announced in Canada’s budget, the Hollywood Reporter reports that Canada is set to start collecting a new 3 percent ‘digital services tax’ on foreign tech platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Spotify.
📈 PulseCheck: Healthtech news keeping hearts racing.
Abcellera’s COVID anti-body treatment is still “sitting on hospital and pharmacy shelves amid the country’s third wave of the pandemic because doctors say a plan on how to administer the drug was never made,” reports CTV News. “We are proud to have contributed to a solution that's helping so many people around the world, but of course, it would be that much better if this was actually getting to people in our own communities, and was here to protect the ones that we love,” explained CEO Carl Hansen.
WELL Health announced the successful completion of their previously-announced acquisition of CRH Medical Corporation for $286.6 million USD. Vancouver’s WELL is focused on consolidating and modernizing clinical and digital assets within the healthcare sector.
🏦 Banknotes: Financial news to know.
Thinkific’s IPO has been met with “brisk investor demand,” reports the Globe and Mail, ”allowing the company to price its deal at the top end of its marketing range despite recent weakness in Canada’s technology IPO market.” By last night, investors had placed nearly $1-billion worth of orders, according to sources that spoke with Tim Kiladze and Sean Silcoff, which allowed the company to price shares at $13 apiece.
Dapper Labs CEO Roham Gharegozlou has reportedly invested in a new startup called SportsIcon, which is building sports-focused NFTs with direct collaborations with athletes. The UK-based company will be working with athletes to offer 15-20 NFTs each in chapters in a story centred around iconic moments from their lives and careers.
📝 604 Views: The sharpest ideas and insights.
In a deep dive, local journalist Taylor Simone writes that as the pandemic surges into 2021, digital borders are opening, and asks, “Estonia’s e-Residency the future of remote work for freelancers and founders?”
Kristina Bergman, a partner with Pender Ventures, argues that Venture Capital Markets Are Frothy. “This movement in digital transformation has generated mega funding rounds and massive valuations, which are dragging along the rest of the venture market,” she writes.
Trulioo COO Zac Cohen explains the major trends fuelling identity verification investment. “With vast numbers of people forced online to access healthcare and financial services, purchase groceries and consume entertainment, the ability to verify and protect digital identity has become central to everyone’s ability to survive and function during the pandemic,” he writes.
Karn Manhas says, So, You Have An Idea That Can Change The World — Now What? “Sometimes, yes, your efforts will run into walls and dead ends. But by rejecting “impossible” outright, we end up extending the range of possible — pushing our knowledge and our team’s abilities to new limits,” he writes.
🌎 Cleantech: Good news for the planet.
Vancouver’s FARM-TRACE was one of just two Canadian startups selected for the inaugural cohort of the Google for Startups Accelerator: Climate Change. FARM-TRACE is a software platform that automates rigorous impact reporting across multiple farms.
Mark Rubin and his company Portable Electric, will soon roll out Canada’s biggest clean-energy mobile EV charger. “I would say we’re the global leader in e-generators right now,” Rabin says of the 30-employee cleantech business, which does all of its design and manufacturing in Vancouver.
📡 Radar: Startups and trends to watch out for.
The New Ventures BC Competition announced the 206 Round 2 Finalists. The list includes startups from across BC including cities such as Coquitlam, Vancouver, New West, Vernon, Richmond, Surrey, Victoria, Burnaby, Kamloops, Prince Rupert, and more.
SFU’s Coast Capital Savings Venture Prize announced its 2021 winners. They include: Top Venture Prize: LABORA Consulting Services Corp; Top Idea Prize: Livshows; Local Impact Category Prize: BAK’D Cookies, and; Digital Platform Category Prize: Streamline Athletes, among others.
👨💼 Personnel issues: People going places.
Framework Venture Partners investor Byron Thom has joined e-commerce company Cymax Group as Sr. Director of Strategy and Advisor to the CEO.“I’m super stoked to get back to my operator roots helping scale an amazing BC technology company. As one of the largest and fastest growing tech companies in Canada, Cymax is still very much under the radar,” he wrote on LinkedIn.
Globe and Mail spotlighted non-CEO executives, writing that, “While CEOs often get the credit, these individuals demonstrate that captains of industry don’t succeed without talented lieutenants".” Local leaders noted on the list include Barb Harwood (Thunderbird Entertainment Group), Tony Geheran (Telus), Vivian Chan (NexTech AR Solutions), and Iain MacNeil (Appnovation), among others.
😎 Pretty cool: Everything else new and novel.
Vancouver city councillors Sarah Kirby-Yung and Michael Wiebe have brought forth a motion to bring a Formula E World Championship to Vancouver next summer. The proposal, which in addition to including a race weekend of the all-electric, open-wheel racing series, would feature musical and cultural events, and a conference focusing on climate change and sustainability.
Next Decentrum and Cloud Nine Web3 Technologies Inc have partnered to launch an NFT product and managed services platform to turn NFTs into a reliable source of revenue for artists and content creators. The companies are working with clients across four verticals including Art, Heritage Music, Sports and Entertainment, and on products such as a white label NFT marketplace and blockchain education.
Vancouver Airport is trying to become an innovation hub and partnering with a local community college to run IoT initiatives. “Every type of technology probably could be tested at an airport,” said Lynette DuJohn, vice president of innovation and chief information officer, Vancouver Airport Authority.
🎧 Watch & Listen
Bill Tam, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer, BC-based Digital Technology Supercluster joined the Mark Hunt Podcast
Tony Bevilacqua, Founder and CEO of Vancouver’s Cognitive 3D on joined the VRAR Association Podcast
Anna Sainsbury, Chairwoman of GeoComply, joined the Afternoon "T" Podcast
📅 Mark your calendar to match ours.
Tech Talent North | On May 12-23, join this focused community of people-leaders, culture scalers and HR success stories to learn tactical strategies from Canada’s most innovative tech industry leaders. Use code VTJ20 for 20% off.
Vancouver Startup Week | Over 7 jam-packed days from May 21 to 28, Vancouver Startup Week connects entrepreneurs, investors, community leaders, and friends to build momentum and opportunity around our community’s unique entrepreneurial identity.