Inside BC's barrage of burgeoning blockchain-based businesses | The Sunday Briefing

They're making history.

Good morning and happy weekend. Most people subscribe to Vancouver Tech Journal for a reliable mix of not only news but also analysis, so that’s what you’re going to get today. Ready? Okay. For England to win today’s Euro 2020 final against Italy, they must maintain their defensive form and should probably start with three defenders at the back—you hear me? Just kidding. This isn’t a football tactics newsletter, though I am curious who VTJ readers have bet on to take the W today. 🗳️ Vote in our Twitter poll.

Okay, serious stuff now: Welcome to the new subscribers reading this Sunday. I invite you to stay connected with us all week, on InstagramTwitter, and LinkedIn, and in the 1,400-member Vancouver Tech club on the Clubhouse app. Skip the Clubhouse line and RSVP to our next show (“The bull and bear case for Vancouver’s tech ecosystem”) with this specific link.

In this week’s Briefing, I’m excited to highlight Vancouver’s remarkable history of innovation in blockchain, a serious gap in the recognition of women angel investors in BC, and the Vancouver Canucks’ move to become NFT leaders in the NHL, among 31 other stories.

Today’s Briefing is 1,637 words, a 6-minute read. Enjoy!

- William (@notionport)


🗺️ An adventure through blockchain’s cultural resonance in Vancouver

Vancouver Tech Journal reporter James Matthews spoke to Vancouver’s crypto innovators—at company’s like Covalent, Enjin and DMG—about NFTs, origin stories and the city’s place in the bitcoin history books.

“Literally all of NFTs happened here in Vancouver—everything. It's crazy,” said Enjin CTO Witek Radomski, to Matthews. ➝ Get the full story.


BC’s top 14 angel investors—according to HardBacon's 2021 ranking

Hardbacon, the personal finance application used by more than 30,000 Canadians, released its ranking of the top 36 angel investors in Canada. 14 British Columbians—people like David Tedman, Boris Wertz and Lance Priebe—made the list.

But only two women made the Canada-wide list (and none from BC). So we're asking our readers: Who do you think belongs on it? ➝ Get the full story.


Exclusive: Vancouver Canucks look to become NHL leaders in NFTs

The Vancouver Canucks NHL franchise is looking to hire an NFT Strategy & Development Manager.

“The Canucks are the only—of 31—NHL teams currently advertising an in-house NFT role,” reports James Matthews. “Not even the Silicon Valley-adjacent San Jose Sharks, who recently became the first NHL team to accept payments in cryptocurrency, have a listed position.” ➝ Get the full story.

I’ve seen some mixed reactions on #Canucks Twitter about this. But, I think it represents an innovative step for the organization. Plus, NFTs are a local innovation. Could be the Vancouver Tech / Vancouver @Canucks crossover we didn’t know we needed. - @jimmermatthews


⏩ Quick takes.


💵 Funding and deals.

Active Impact Investments announced it closed an oversubscribed second fund of $54 million.

The new fund, and its size, make Active Impact one of the fastest-growing environmental impact venture capital companies in Canada. The firm went from zero to over $64 million in assets under management in less than four years. With the new fund, the firm said it plans to add at least 14 companies to its portfolio. ➝ Get the full story.


Svante Inc. announced that the Government of Canada made a $25 million investment to support the industrialization and commercialization of its novel low-cost carbon capture technology within the North American market.

The investment comes from the Strategic Innovation Fund’s Net Zero Accelerator initiative. The company has attracted more than $240 million in funding since it was founded in 2007. ➝ Get the full story.



🗞️ You should also know that…

With more than $1 billion invested into BC’s tech companies in Q1 of 2021, venture funding in the province nearly matched that of Toronto, according to Hockeystick’s latest ecosystem report.

“Same total investment with half the deals => BC could see twice this investment if more BC tech companies were supported to grow and scale!” - @jilliantipping


The FIA has announced a provisional calendar for the 2021-22 Formula E season, confirming inaugural races in Vancouver, Cape Town and Seoul.

Earlier this April, the Vancouver City Council voted in favour of partnering with Montreal-based One Stop Strategy Group for an FE race in Vancouver, with a venue proposed in the False Creek region.


Two weeks ago, VTJ broke the news of New Ventures BC’s Top 26 startups. Now, it’s time to spotlight the companies individually. Learn more about these promising ventures: RightMetric, Pocketed and Sucre Interactive Technologies.


  • Plus, TGS Esports Inc. announced its grand re-opening for live events, starting with Pinnacle­–Canada's first post-pandemic live esports event, hosted at the Vancouver Convention Centre.

  • Vancouver’s TraceSafe Inc., which develops wearable safety tech announced a deal with Oil Search, one of Papua New Guinea's largest companies.


💡 Ideas and insights.

A Q&A with Open Ocean Robotics CEO Julie Angus about climate, marine robotics, and women in business.

When asked about her advice for women in business, she said, “The number one piece of advice I would give to other women in business is to stay steadfast to your decisions if you feel in your heart it is right. For every choice you make, you will have people telling you a “better” way to do it, and if you try pleasing everyone, you’ll end up with a bucket of lukewarm water. Make sure to listen to advice, consider it carefully, but do not heed it if it doesn’t make sense to you.”


Hussein Hallak, co-founder and CEO of Next Decentrum, shares ‘Why NFTs Aren’t as Crazy as You Might Think.’

“Remember when Britney Spears shaved her head in 2007? The beauty shop where she had her hair cut auctioned the ponytail and got $1 million. What some deem valuable will be a mystery for others. This is the beauty and wonder of being human. You think NFTs and their collectors are crazy, but considering how far people go just to get their hands on anything they consider valuable, the concepts of digital assets and NFTs aren’t as foolish as some might think and they are here to stay as the new way to collect,” he writes.


Women Leading The Blockchain Revolution: “If you’re looking to enter the space, you don’t have to be technical” — An interview with Ayelen Osorio of Netcoins.

To engage more women in the blockchain industry, she says, ”Personally, I think crypto enthusiasts need to change the language around crypto a little bit; and not talk about it in such technical, alienating and complex terms. Otherwise, the confusing terminology acts as a massive barrier to entry and that’s not what crypto is about!”


👔 People going places.


🎧 A/V: Watch & Listen

  • Jill Tipping, president and CEO of BC Tech Association, joined the From The Trenches Podcast to discuss the ScaleUp BC initiative, the sector’s need for senior leadership and local success stories.

  • Vivian Chan, operations manager at Yell Canada, joined Hussein Hallak on the Unleashed Podcast to discuss building relationships and networks within the startup ecosystem.


📅 Upcoming events.


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