How the first Bitcoin ATM came to Vancouver

The story starts in Reno, Nevada. Welcome, to the Sunday Briefing.

Good morning everyone. Welcome to the hundreds of new readers with us this week. As the holiday season approaches and the news cycle slows (hopefully), I invite you to join me and my friends at Switchboard PR for a special Twitter Spaces online show where we’ll share tips for tech leaders on how to tell their firm’s story. It’s happening November 9, 3:30pm PST. Set up at reminder here on Twitter.

In today’s newsletter, I’m excited to spotlight the story of how the first Bitcoin ATM ended up in Vancouver and how the CEO of VanHack built a community of 250,000 tech workers, as well as 43 other stories.

Today’s Sunday Briefing is 1,535 words, a 4 + 1/4-minute read. Enjoy!

-William (@notionport)


Top of the Morning

8 years ago the world’s first Bitcoin ATM launched in a downtown Vancouver coffee shop. Here’s the inside story of how it happened.

We chatted with Mitchell Demeter, now president of Netcoins, about how he brought the ATM to Vancouver. » Read the full story.


Entrepreneurship runs in the family for Andrew Reid. But, he’s carving his own path.

The Rival Technologies founder reflects on his third decade of entrepreneurship, his leadership style and Rival’s return to work plan. » Start reading.


In work and life, Ilya Brotzky follows opportunity — wherever it takes him.

The VanHack CEO reflects on how he grew a community of 250,000 tech workers — and a thriving bootstrapped business. » Start reading.


“With motorbikes, if you just make them safer, and it happens to be electric, that's sold." - Jay Giraud rides the entrepreneurial highway.

Damon Motors recently broke ground on two new buildings, grew their executive team and exceeded $40M in presales for their electric motorbike. Here's how their founder got there. » Start reading.


Legal tech unicorn Clio launches Clio Ventures.

When Clio reached unicorn status in April, they became the world’s first legaltech firm to reach such a valuation. Now, they’re looking to make sure they’re the first, but not the last. The company announced Clio Ventures, an equity investment portfolio for early-stage legaltech companies. » Get the full story.


⏩ Briefly:

  • 💉Jabbed: Add your vaccine card to your Apple Wallet. » Here’s how.

  • 🤖 Robby the robot: Meet UBC’s new staff member.

  • 👩 Future is female: How Women’s Enterprise Centre is supporting women entrepreneurs through the pandemic and beyond.

  • 👩‍💼 New CEO, who dis? Unbounce named Felicia Bochicchio CEO as co-founder Rick Perreault steps down and becomes executive chair of the board.

  • 📦 #Shipped: New products from Clio, SoleSavy and ChopValue.


🤝 Funding and deals.

  • Kelowna’s Two Hat, which develops sophisticated⁩ content moderation software, was acquired by Microsoft. » The details.

  • Funtech Software, which provides ecommerce systems and online grocery software solutions to both online grocery companies and brick-and-mortar grocery stores, was acquired by San Francisco’s GrubMarket. » Read more.

  • $100,000 is up for grabs for startups with a tech-enabled climate solution through the Angels for Climate Solutions Program. » Details.

  • On the heels of a deal with the Philadelphia Sixers, Solesavy, a sneaker marketplace, announced a partnership with Slack. » More here.

  • Hootsuite is finalizing plans to go public on the Toronto Stock Exchange before the end of the year, hoping to raise CAD$200 million, according to a report in BetaKit.

  • Rival Technologies is partnering with Spiketrap to accelerate and elevate its research capabilities with Spiketrap’s AI technology. » Learn more.

  • Tribe Property Technologies is acquiring a portfolio of rental and commercial property management assets from NAI Commercial Okanagan, strengthening Tribe's property management services in the Interior region. » Read more.
    Go Deeper: How Joseph Nakhla built a foundation for growth

  • PrecisionOS, a VR training platform, is partnering with NuVasive to provide access to its spine procedure education. » Details.

  • HIVE Blockchain Technologies made a CAD$450,000 investment in Network Entertainment, Inc., a media production company, as a means to gain exposure to Network's emerging NFT business. » Keep reading.

  • APOLLO Insurance, an online insurance provider, has partnered with Wedding Planners Institute of Canada to offer access to immediate digital insurance specifically tailored to weddings and events. » Getting married?

  • UpperStage.Capital Inc., a growth equity firm, announced its acquisition of Talius, a British Columbia-headquartered cleantech building materials company. » Learn more.


New National Digital Directory launches to support Black-Owned Businesses

This week, Uber Canada and The Canadian Black Chamber of Commerce launched a new digital directory, Black Business Direct. The directory is a free resource for Canadians looking to discover and support local Black-owned businesses across the country. The directory will be updated weekly, to help build a living repository of Black-owned businesses from coast to coast. 

Black business owners can register for the directory here.

* Partner Message

🗞️ In other news…

  • BC’s Centre for Innovation and Clean Energy (CICE) is now operational with Dr. Ged McLean as its executive director and Yemi Adefulu as deputy. » More on the new centre.

  • Valhalla Angels Summit announced the top five companies, including HTuo Biosciences and Swiss Vault. » Full list.

  • Lumen5, a Vancouver-based startup whose video creation platform enables anyone to create engaging video content, was awarded the Startup World Cup 2021 Canada Regional Winner at CIX Digital Summit. » More details.

  • CBRE’s 2021 Tech-30 report was released and Vancouver was ranked #3 out of 30 markets for high-tech job growth. » Dig into it.

  • Mogo, a fintech firm, launched a ‘green’ bitcoin initiative — so when a bitcoin is purchased through its platform, the company will plant enough trees to offset the CO2 emissions produced by mining that bitcoin. » Learn more.

  • Animal Logic, BDC and Microsoft were among innovators who made recent office moves, according to First Movers Q3 2021 – 10 notable office leases in Vancouver from Colliers.

  • JIBE launched ECOMsquare, what they’re calling Canada’s first purpose-built coworking space for ecommerce brands located at 1758 W. 8th Ave in Vancouver. » Learn more.

  • BC tech startups raised $926.2M in Q3, up 195% year-over-over, according to Hockeystick and briefed.in.

  • The Council of Canadian Innovators launched the Innovation Governance Program, a new six-week training program for potential tech company board directors on issues like IP, data governance, cybersecurity and corporate finance. » Get the details from G&M.


💡 Ideas and insights.

TikTok trends live and die overnight; what’s popular today may not be tomorrow. The smartest brands on the platform have mastered creating timely and relevant content by jumping on trends within hours of them becoming popular. The great thing about TikTok is that content doesn’t have to be polished or professionally shot. Many brands create content on their mobile devices, with minimal editing.


🌐 More BC tech headlines from around the web.


🎧 Watch and listen.


📅 See you soon.

  • Vancouver Tech Morning Coffee every Tuesday. Join the Vancouver tech community for coffee from 8am-10am every Tuesday. Meet at The Coffee Bar (10 Water St.) in Gastown. Sign-up for coffee updates through this form.

  • TechVancouver: Join the CEO of Visualping and the co-founder and CTO of Opendoor on December 8 in person. Register here.

  • TiE Vancouver: TiE Vancouver is thrilled to host VC Boris Wertz, in conversation with Maninder Dhaliwal, chair TiE Angels Vancouver. Register here.


✅ Checklist.

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