A cold front? In this climate? | The Sunday Briefing

Cover story: Tribe Property Technologies' CEO on the cold front of entrepreneurship.

Good morning. I’m penning this newsletter under the phallic-shaped shadow casted by the billionaire space race. No news on the completion date of Vancouver Tech Journal spacecraft…

…jokes aside, 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. Better yet, join us for coffee (in person) to chat all things Vancouver tech this Tuesday, July 27 at 8am. The community will be meeting at The Birds and the Beets (outside tables) at 55 Powell St. in Vancouver. Please RSVP.

In this week’s Briefing, I’m excited to highlight a twin sister success story, the latest local venture launch and a “Canadian powerhouse EdTech company.

Today’s Briefing is 1,859 words, a 6 minute read. Enjoy!


👷 How Joseph Nakhla built a foundation for growth—in business and life

In this in-depth feature, we speak with the founder and CEO of Tribe Property Technologies about community, digital transformation, what he calls the cold front of entrepreneurship, and what makes the difference between the companies that succeed and those that fail. ➝ Get the full story.


🔋 Keith Ippel on the impact of impact investing. Plus, Sumreen Rattan on the moment she knew she wanted to build Moment Energy

Out of over 150 applicants, cleantech startup Moment Energy recently won Spring Activator’s National Impact Investor Challenge, netting the firm a $100,000+ investment.

But it’s not just about the money. The award—and the journey Rattan took to build the company—represents a win for the entire tech ecosystem, reports yours truly. ➝ Get the full story.


⏩ Quick takes.


Supercharging your tech talent acquisition

VanHack is the ultimate recruitment platform to find the best senior software developers. 

With over 200,000 global candidates in our talent pool, we can help find the right talent to meet any need. We supercharge your talent acquisition by providing you with a tailored pool of qualified top tier candidates ready to be interviewed within 48 hours. 

Trusted by 600+ companies, see how VanHack provides the speed and reliability to help scale your business today.


💵 Funding and deals.

Merchant Growth, a Vancouver fintech company that specializes in small business financing, has acquired the portfolio and business assets of Victoria-based Company Capital Inc.

The acquisition was made in conjunction with Merchant’s funding vehicle, the Merchant Opportunities Fund (MOF). The acquisition price wasn’t disclosed. ➝ Get the full story.


Allocadia, a Vancouver tech company that specializes in marketing planning, budget and performance management, has agreed to be acquired by Atlanta-based BrandMaker, which provides similar services. 

Allocadia was founded when Kristine Steuart and her twin sister Katherine Berry were operating their first venture, a marketing services company. They noticed their customers struggling with managing multi-million dollar budgets across multiple spreadsheets dispersed throughout the organization. Their customers couldn’t answer basic questions around marketing spend or forecast or communicate ROI. Steuart and Berry created Allocadia to solve those problems. ➝ Get the full story.


Vancouver-based ScalePad, which provides a SaaS platform that automates hardware, software, and warranty asset lifecycle management for managed services providers (MSPs), announced an equity investment from Integrity Growth Partners (IGP).

The rise of telework and distributed teams has increased the role MSPs play in managing technological adoption and maintenance worldwide. As such, products like ScalePad's, which help MSPs automate processes and uncover insights, are taking on increasing value with enterprises. ➝ Get the full story.


Vancouver's Wize, a company crafting online learning tools for secondary and post-secondary students, has acquired Ottawa-based startup EssayJack who develop tools and templates for academic writing.

In addition to the digital collaboration between the pair of EdTech companies, EssayJack co-founder Dr. Lindy Ledohowski will join Wize’s executive team as VP of Operations. "This pandemic has changed education," stated Ledohowski, a teacher and professor turned entrepreneur. "With the huge learning loss unequally experienced by students in North America, we knew now was the time to combine our efforts to most effectively support student and educator success." ➝ Get the full story.


  • Plus, Burnaby’s Symvivo Corporation shared that it’s receiving $4.6 million from the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program to support the clinical advancement of the company’s vaccine candidate.

  • Vancouver-based governance, risk and compliance company Galvanize have announced their latest strategic partnership with Waymark Tech, a UK-based regulatory technology firm.

  • Vancouver’s Badhouse Ventures announced its first three investments in Supportbench, Aboard and ioAirFlow.


🗞️ You should also know that…

WELL Health Technologies Corp. announced the formation of WELL Ventures, a corporate venture arm with a mandate to invest in businesses focused on advancing digital health initiatives.

In connection with the launch of WELL Ventures, the firm also announced this week a $250,000 investment in Bright, a B2B technology service provider that specializes in delivering corporate virtual wellness programs. ➝ Get the full story.


David Shepheard, director of creative economy at the Vancouver Economic Commission and Vancouver Film Commissioner since 2016, has joined major Netflix partner Martini Film Studios (MFS) in the role of vice president.

The film, television, VFX and animation industries are a major economic contributor to BC, generating $4.1 billion in spending in 2019, according to the Vancouver Economic Commission’s annual film industry research report. ➝ Get the full story.


Complex featured Vancouver’s SoleSavy sneaker marketplace—which recently raised $15.5 million.

“Not everyone is eager to flip the pair they scored off SNKRS or start a business. Some people just love sneakers. It feels weird to have to say that. But it’s refreshing to see evidence of it in such a concentrated environment,” writes Mike Destefano.


Plus, last month, 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: Rootd, BinBreeze, Train Fitness, Streamline Athletes, and LetHub.


👩‍💼 Tech jobs that matter.

Visualping is hiring for 10+ positions, including:

Learn more at visualping.io/careers.


💡 Ideas and insights.

The Council of Canadian Innovators’ Director of Government Affairs in BC Tessa Seager argues that the Regional Development Agency (RDA) should function like an investor.

“Success depends on the RDA being set up to function like a real investor that innovators want to engage with. The new RDA should be empowered by the federal government to deploy meaningful amounts of money, quickly, to targeted high-growth, market-tested firms, operating in key provincial priority areas like cleantech, health and biosciences, cybersecurity, fintech, and digital technologies,” Seager writes.


Kristina Bergman, a partner with Pender Ventures, shares ‘Four Questions to Ask to Nail Your First Sales Hire’.

“…as we congratulate CEOs for what they can do, we must also celebrate an entrepreneur who takes a step back, hires intelligently, and empowers people around them to get even more done in the areas of HR, product and, most importantly, sales. Of course, CEOs must always be selling—or “always be closing,” as the startup adage goes—but there is just one problem: The ‘CEO as a salesperson’ model does not scale,” she writes.


Elicia Maine, a professor and special advisor on innovation at SFU, believes ‘Canada’s university science innovation ecosystem needs a build-for-scale strategy.’

“Canada’s science and engineering graduate students are well-educated and trained to be research scientists, but the 80 percent that don’t go on to tenure track academic positions are far too often inadequately prepared for other careers. They generally lack the ability to articulate their differentiated value proposition, and have little or no knowledge of IP strategy, regulatory challenges, market prioritization or financing. What’s most lacking is an entrepreneurial mindset, innovation skills and an awareness of unmet market needs,” she writes.


ThoughtExchange COO Jessica Nordlander, in a piece for Inc., shared how the Pandemic actually exudes lessons on how to be a great leader.

“Trying, uncertain times inevitably create change, and leaders need to know how to keep their teams going without inflicting whiplash. To navigate change while at the same time maintaining integrity and effective communication is a talent that's the preserve of a special few,” Nordlander writes.


Business Council of British Columbia’s Jock Finlayson and Ken Peacock argue ‘Tax regime undermining B.C.’s ability to compete for top tech talent.’

“Factoring in the high cost of housing in Metro Vancouver and Victoria, B.C.’s personal income tax regime is now adding to the challenges of attracting and developing the talent needed to build an innovative, increasingly technology-driven economy,” they write in BIV.


👔 People going places.

Martin Lopatka, formerly Team Lead Mozilla Applied Machine Learning at Mozilla, recently joined Visualping as Head of Data Science.


🎧 A/V: Watch & Listen


📅 Upcoming events.

  • This Tuesday, July 27 morning: Vancouver Tech Morning Coffee IN REAL LIFE. Readers are welcome to join me, Vancouver Tech Journal editor William Johnson and Rise/Collision co-host Casey Lau, as well as other Morning Coffee regulars at Vancouver’s Birds and The Beets cafe between 8am-10am. Feel free to join us at outside tables to chat all things Vancouver tech. With space in mind, please RSVP using this form.


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