🥇📚 Someone call Guinness | The Sunday Briefing

A record 43 stories from the week in tech.

Good morning and welcome to the new subscribers reading this Sunday. I invite you to stay connected with us all week on InstagramTwitter and LinkedIn. Better yet, join us for coffee (in person) to chat all things Vancouver tech this Tuesday, August 17 at 8am. The community will be meeting at The Birds & The Beets (outside tables) at 55 Powell St. in Vancouver. Please sign-up.

This week, the local tech community must have been inspired by the record breaking performance by Canadian Olympians in Tokyo. I’m excited to share a Vancouver Tech Journal record 43 (!) stories.

Today’s Briefing is 1,794 words, a 6 minute read. On your marks, get set, go!

James (@jimmermatthews)

Working with SAP Canada, Pagefreezer, Microsoft and Bench Accounting, the First Nations Technology Council (FNTC) launched a new project, Moving Beyond Inclusion: Partnerships and Reconciliation.

Started as a pilot program in 2021, MBI is meant to advance reconciliation by decolonizing corporate systems and transforming the innovation, technology and technology-enabled sectors both provincially and nationally. ➝ Get the full story.

Life Sciences BC announced the 11 recipients of the 23rd Annual Life Sciences BC Awards.

The awardees, including AbCellera and Acuitas Therapeutics, have contributed solutions and technologies for vaccines, therapeutics and medical devices throughout the global pandemic. “The BC Life Sciences sector has shown extraordinary leadership over the past 16 months,” said Wendy Hurlburt, president and CEO of Life Sciences BC. ➝ Get the full list of awardees.

InBC is BC’s new $500M Strategic Investment Fund, and in the job posting for its CEO, there’s a line that refers to the organization as “largely a ‘startup.’” Which raises the question: What, exactly, counts as a startup?

“When I think of a startup I think of unproven business models, 90% failure rates and conditions of “extreme uncertainty” (thanks Eric Ries). Not $500 million operating budgets (from day one) manifested through legislation. Is a ‘startup’ really how people want to think about InBC? What is that word meant to imbue in this context?” These are questions we contemplate in our latest Fast Five. ➝ Get the full story.

⏩ Quick takes.

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💵 Funding and deals.

The BC government is investing in innovation at the post-secondary level to the tune of nearly $25 million. The funding—with an aim to drive innovation and economic growth—will support 34 research projects at five institutions.

In addition to being an innovation and growth driver, the BC government hopes that this funding will keep tech talent from fleeing the province. ➝ Get the full story.

RainStick Shower, a water recirculating system housing a WiFi-enabled smart shower, raised $1 million. Vancouver’s Red Thread Ventures led the raise in the Kelowna-based company.

Both RainStick co-founder Alisha McFetridge and Red Thread Ventures principal Mark Mitchell concurred after their first conversation that there was a natural company/capital connection. ➝ Get the full story.

Medimap, a Vancouver startup that provides Canadians with an easy way of comparing wait times at walk-in medical clinics in their community, raised a $3.5 seed round led by Tiny Capital.

“Our mission has always been to make care more accessible for Canadians,” said CEO Blake Adam, “and this funding is going to help us accomplish this on an even larger scale.” ➝ Get the full story.

Nextech AR Solutions Corp. has signed an agreement to acquire UK-based spatial computing company ARway in an all-stock transaction worth $1.25 million.

Global tech giants Facebook, Apple, Microsoft and Snapchat have all identified the Metaverse as the future of the internet and computing itself. The acquisition positions Nextech as a first mover in what they’re calling a ‘mini-metaverse.’ “We think that the mini-metaverse business use case is here to stay, and the implications for future growth are significant,” said Nextech AR CEO Evan Gappelberg. ➝ Get the full story.

  • Plus, LinkPoint Technology Group announced the acquisition of Presidium Network Operations Consultants, a Kamloops-based Managed IT Services company focused on small-to-medium business markets.

  • Vancouver’s iQmetrix, a leading provider of telecom retail management software, announced the acquisition of Indianan company Shiftlab, a scalable, performance-based scheduling platform designed for retail organizations.

  • The Government of Canada provided $20 million in funding to Natural Products Canada (NPC). The funding will support NPC’s unique natural product innovation network, affording companies more resources to dive into a “$1 trillion opportunity.”

  • Victory Square Technologies Inc. signed an LOI for a follow-on investment of $1 million in its portfolio company, Creator.co.

  • Giant auction company Ritchie Bros. signed a deal to buy Euro Auctions for US$1.08-billion in cash.

  • Nanotech Security Corp., which develops nano-optic security features used in the government and banknote and brand protection markets, has agreed to be acquired by Meta Materials Inc. for $91 million.

🗞️ You should also know that…

Vancouver’s ImagineAR, a tech firm that enables sports teams and businesses to instantly create their own mobile phone immersive AR campaigns, has partnered with London’s iSportConnect.

The link-up will see iSportConnect introduce ImagineAR fan engagement products to the UK and European soccer teams, sports leagues, broadcasters and brands. 

Precision NanoSystems (PNI) announced details on its new 75,000-square-foot Genetic Medicine GMP Biomanufacturing Centre, for which they received $25 million from the federal government to build.

The new Centre will support PNI's client base of drug developers through clinical development, as well as Canada's efforts for future pandemic preparedness through the manufacture of RNA vaccines. PNI, which was recently acquired by Danaher, has a team of more than 180 that will work at the new site once complete in late 2022.

The New Ventures BC Competition, presented by Innovate BC, spotlighted five more promising startups: Traffic Driven, Locelle, Happipad, Quandri and pH7 Technologies.

💡 Ideas and insights.

Colin Scarlett, Executive Vice President at Colliers International Canada, argues ‘Demand for Vancouver office space from tech sector showing signs of resurgence and urgency.

“In the second quarter of this year, tech companies represented 61% of the demand Colliers saw for Vancouver office space, according to our data. Anecdotally, that number could be as high as 80%,” he writes.

Shafin Diamond, CEO of Victory Square Technologies, shares ‘Five Lessons From A Dotcom-Bubble Veteran For Today’s Retail Investors.’

“New is always scary—there was a point where people thought you were crazy for investing in Apple, Google and Amazon—but understanding and acceptance grow with time. There are aspects of today’s market that will prove to be nonsense, but others will persevere… Be critical, but don’t be afraid to embrace the new,” he writes.

Vanedge Capital investor Annika Lewis (and David Phelps) shared ‘Collectivizing Finance: Why The Future of VC is Multiplayer.’

“With hungry, intellectually curious LPs coming to the table with a capability set that extends beyond just capital and an objective set that extends beyond just returns, we’re inching towards a world wherein Limited Partners are no longer, well, ‘limited.’ In fact, they might become a powerful community in their own right,” they write. 

A new report indicates that total angel investment—though not the number of deals—dropped across Canada during the pandemic.

Simon Smith reports: “The National Angel Capital Organization (NACO) report, which surveyed 29 active angel organizations (of which 24 had made investments in 2020) found that, while the total number of investments in 2020 had risen to 416 from 299 last year, the total amount invested ($102.9 million) was lower than it was in 2019 ($163.9 million) and 2018 ($142.8 million).”

🌐 More BC tech headlines from around the web:

🎧 A/V: Watch & Listen

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