Which Vancouver firm grew Q1 revenue 40x? | The Sunday Briefing

AbCellera did 87% of their entire 2020 revenue in the last three months.

Good morning and welcome to the new Vancouver Tech Journal subscribers reading this Sunday. Make sure to stay engaged all week by connecting with us on TwitterLinkedIn and the Vancouver Tech club on the Clubhouse iOS app.

If you’re not already on Clubhouse but want to be, please get in touch for an invitation. You don’t want to miss this week’s conversation with Douglas Soltys, the editor at fellow tech publication BetaKit. Join our weekly show, Vancouver Tech Morning Coffee, to hear from him on Tuesday at 9am PST. *Adds to calendar*

This week, I’m excited to share stories on Vancouver’s biotech behemoth, eight companies pushing the boundaries of digital health, Canada’s recent influx of IPOs—and what they mean—and the origins of Vancouver’s successful Formula E bid.

By the way, today’s Briefing is 1,795 words, a 6-minute read. Enjoy!

-William (@notionport)


📰 Front Page

These people and companies are pushing the digital health revolution forward

As new digital health tools are deployed at an accelerating pace, questions about their ultimate impact on patients, services and the business of health care are also being raised.


What the recent rush of IPOs mean for Canadian entrepreneurs

In an opinion piece, Pender Ventures principal Kenndal McArdle says that the public market’s recognition of emerging technology as a growth category gives start-up companies accelerated growth options.


VTJ reporter James Matthews spoke with Vancouver City Councillor Sarah Kirby-Yung, one of the main champions of Vancouver’s successful bid to host Formula E in 2022.

  • “I appreciated the vibe in the city and excitement when the Molson Indy was happening but wasn’t a big racing nut myself,” Kirby-Yung told VTJ. “Then when I lived in Montreal, I had the opportunity to attend the famed Grand Prix and really saw the impact that racing events have on the economy and in the community.”

  • For the full story, read:
    The origins of Formula E call upon the nostalgia of Indy


Boast.ai announced four new executive members to their team.


⏩ Quick Takes


🏦 Banknotes: Financial news to know.

  • SST Wireless, which develops and distributes wireless sensor technologies, announced an investment from US angel network Tech Coast Angels (TCA). “TCA invests in start-up companies in a wide range of businesses that have high growth potential,” said TCA lead David Friedman.

  • Vancouver’s Stoko raised $6 million in seed funding to build a new category of professional knee brace support called supportive apparel. The funding came from high-profile seed investors including John Currie, the former CFO of lululemon, Norm Francis, CEO of Boardwalk Ventures, and Greg Malpass, CEO of Traction on Demand.

  • Vancouver blockchain data provider Covalent has sold $10 million worth of its CQT native token in a sale on the distribution platform CoinList. Covalent is also referenced in Vogue Business in a piece titled, “Beyond the bubble: Making NFTs work for fashion.” Noting how small the NFT buyer base is, writer Anna Tong, notes, “…blockchain analytics company Covalent found that fewer than 2,000 buyers accounted for 80 per cent of total purchase volume on Rarible, the second-largest NFT exchange.”

Earnings Results

  • BBTV reported record Q1 2021 results including revenue of $106.5 million, a 16% increase over $91.8 million reported in Q1 2020.

  • NexTech AR, which develops and operates augmented reality platforms, announced revenue of $7.7 million, an increase of over 200% compared to 2020.

  • Absolute Software announced earnings for the quarter which ended March 31, 2021, as well as news that it’s signed a definitive agreement to acquire San Jose-based NetMotion Software, Inc.

  • Edtech platform Thinkific announced Q1 revenue of $8.3 million (up 152%), paying customers up 115% to 27, 500, and ARR up by 134% to $34.8 million.


📈 PulseCheck: Healthtech news keeping hearts racing.

  • Research from UBC spinoff Acuitas Therapeutics was critical in the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. “COVID hit, they pivoted very quickly, used their technology to work on a COVID vaccine and then in swoops Pfizer that has scale,” explains Wendy Hurlburt, CEO of LifeSciences BC. “And it's a great example of how an ecosystem works well with all players collaborating and bringing their respective strengths to the table.”

  • AbCellera wants investors to look past impending ‘significant’ dropoff in windfall results from their COVID-19 treatment. “I really want people to understand the very unique company we’re building here, and the bigger mission ... and [to be] less distracted by what’s happening with COVID-19, said Abcellera CEO Dr. Carl Hansen in an interview with Sean Silcoff.


📝 604 Views: The sharpest ideas and insights.

  • In “Stay In Your Lane,” Brad Liski, Tru Earth co-founder and CEO, argues that if people can understand, own, and maintain their roles in an organization, that organization will succeed. “If each team member can say, “my lane is marketing or sales or operations or vision,” and own that, your organization will be far more successful than if everyone instead tries to do a little bit of everything,” he writes

  • WELL Health CEO Hamed Shahbazi on the Future of Digital Care in Canada. “Virtual care and in-person care will continue to co-exist, but they will be seen as complementary to each other instead of virtual care as simply a substitute for in-person care,” he says.

  • Ayelen Osorio at Netcoins unpacks the myths that surround bitcoin mining’s climate footprint. '“‘Bitcoin is bad for the environment’ is a pervasive headline we see in major publication sites like the New York Times and Bloomberg. This isn’t just a difference in opinion though, it’s misinformed reporting by journalists who are rarely – if ever – positively disposed to bitcoin,” she writes.


👨‍💼 Personnel issues: People going places.


😎 Pretty cool: Everything else new and novel.

  • Angus cattle are part of the Bakerview EcoDairy's new project to use blockchain to share information about a cow's life with consumers. Fellow Overstory Media newsletter Fraser Valley Current shared a fascinating story that highlights how blockchain can be used to increase transparency in the agrifood sector—tracing an animal’s life from barn to plate while making information available to consumers at the click of a button. Live in the Fraser Valley?

  • Read the story and subscribe now:
    → What blockchain can teach you about the cow you are eating

  • Vancouver crypto company Neptune Digital Assets, led by Cale Moodie, is part of a number of projects in Canada looking to wean bitcoin mining away from fossil fuels. The company recently partnered with Link Global Technologies to create a project for clean energy Bitcoin called “Pure Digital Power,” to be based in Alberta and use solar, wind and some natural gas to mine Bitcoin.

  • New Ventures BC announced 21 startups accepted into the Discovery Foundation Sales Acceleration Program. “Not only have many of these startups proven their business models in the midst of a global pandemic, they are tackling problems with innovative technologies,” according to the non-profit accelerator.


🎧 Watch & Listen

  • Leah Nguyen, Investment Director for the TELUS Pollinator Fund for Good, was a guest on Canada’s Podcast.

  • Leah Coss, Co-Founder and President of Build a Biz Kids, joined Chris Hobbs on the Afternoon T podcast.

  • Brittany Whitmore, CEO and Founder of tech PR firm Exvera Communications Inc. joined Hussein Hallak on the Unleashed Podcast.

  • Gary Boddington, CEO of PlayWize, joined Ray Walia of Launch.VC on the Founder Journeys podcast.


📅 Mark your calendar to match ours.


🔥 Top stories, still trending.


⌛ That’s it. Until next week…

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