And then there were 10...
In the province's largest startup competition, the top ventures are disrupting healthcare, real estate, and sports, among other sectors ripe for change.
Happy Long Weekend—AKA Billions is back weekend. What’s that? You’ve never seen it? You’ve never heard of the critically-acclaimed Showtime series? Well then, you’re welcome.
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In this week’s Briefing, I’m excited to highlight the top 10 startups in the New Ventures BC Competition, the consultant helping technologists reflect diversity in their innovation, and 38 other stories.
Today’s Briefing is 2,081 words, a 6 + 3/4-minute read. Enjoy!
After kicking off the competition with over 200 companies, the 21st Annual New Ventures BC Competition, presented by Innovate BC, is down to its final 10.
This year’s top 10 is made up of companies from a variety of industries, including healthtech, cleantech, proptech and martech. Plus, half of the remaining companies—Moment Energy, Pocketed, Simply Rooted Media, Total Flow Cannula, and TrafficDriven Technologies—are led by female-founders.
And instead of just sharing the top 10 list with you, we’re also sharing a line on why we think each competing venture could actually win. ➝ Get the full list.
Sabrina Meherally, the founder of design consultancy Pause and Effect, is often asked how DE&I—her agency’s specialty—goes beyond hiring.
Like many people, when reporter James Matthews first met her, he immediately thought her work focused on diverse hiring practices and Equal Opportunity Employers. While HR is important, Pause and Effects’ approach gets in-depth into companies’ engineering and product development teams, not just employment panels, she explained to him.
“I think when we talk about diversity, equity and inclusion, people think about HR right away. That's a big part of it,” Meherally said. “But that isn't the only way that diversity and inclusion show up. It shows up through every action, everything we create.”
To read how Meherally works with tech organizations to create innovation that works for everyone, especially marginalized communities, read our story: ➝ Sabrina Meherally wants to diversify your tech
SFU Surrey’s Quantum Algorithms Institute (QAI) is opening its doors to BC-based companies looking to explore or harness quantum technologies for their business. The first-of-its-kind facility is searching for partners who are ready to begin or accelerate their exploration of quantum-enabled technologies.
Founded in 2019 through a $17 million investment by the government of British Columbia, QAI’s mandate is to nurture a pipeline of talent in quantum information sciences for BC, to facilitate quantum research partnerships addressing real-world challenges in the public and private sectors, and to support the commercialization of quantum technology through co-developing quantum applications with industry partners. ➝ Get the full story.
⏩ Quick takes.
🏆 Record-breaking raises: Startups in BC raised $1.03B in Q2 2021 through 31 deals, the second quarter in a row that BC raised over $1B.
🥗 Food funds: Fresh Prep raised $21 million in Series B financing to expand its meal kit delivery service to new areas.
🔮 Ready for tomorrow? The BC economy has fundamentally changed, says BC Tech.
🤝 Funding and deals.
Victoria-based cleantech company Audette raised $1 million in seed funding.
The round was led by Active Impact Investments, with participation from Powerhouse Ventures, Panache Ventures and Turnham Green. ➝ Get the full story.
Marketing platform Wishpond announced the acquisition of assets from New York-based AtlasMind Inc., which does business as Brax, for approximately $2.5 million.
Brax offers an advertising platform for the management of a company's digital ads across multiple sources. The acquisition is meant to expand Wishpond's technology and capabilities into the adjacent market for digital ad management software solutions. ➝ Get the full story.
D3 Security, which develops security orchestration, automation and response (SOAR) tech, secured an equity investment of $12.6 million from Vistara Growth and a $6.3 million credit facility from a major financial institution.
"This investment from Vistara will supercharge our ability to reach the thousands of enterprises, MSSPs, and MDR providers around the world who need a solution like ours,” said Gordon Benoit, D3 Security president. ➝ Get the full story.
Pixieset Media Inc., which develops software solutions for photographers and creative professionals, acquired Flothemes, a premium WordPress website designer for photographers, and other creative businesses.
“This acquisition enables Pixieset to enhance and strengthen the products and solutions we offer to our growing client base of 600,000+ as we expand across the broader photography industry,” said Pixieset Co-Founder and CEO Simon Wong.
Plus, Progressive Planet Solutions Inc. is getting advisory services and funding of up to $100,000 from NRC IRAP to support the company's research and development project to optimize efforts to permanently sequester carbon dioxide in glass.
Loop Energy, which develops hydrogen fuel cell-based solutions, and Hydrogen In Motion (H2M), which provides solid state hydrogen storage, announced plans to collaborate on converting a Southern Railway of BC diesel electric switcher locomotive to hydrogen electric.
Victoria’s Gevity, a strategy and consulting service provider focused on healthcare, has been acquired by global consultancy Accenture.
🗞️ You should also know that…
The BC Tech Association announced the launch of BCTech4Startups, a free membership program for startups that provides a suite of dedicated support services to help them scale-up.
The program launches with the support of these five BC tech anchor companies: Absolute Software, Amazon, Electronic Arts, SAP Canada and TELUS. ➝ Get the details.
Indigenous-led and staffed IT services firm PLATO Testing launched a recruitment campaign for its Indigenous Software Tester Training course in Victoria, in collaboration with the Government of British Columbia, Métis Nation British Columbia (MNBC), and Deloitte Canada.
This will be the first time the program will be offered to Indigenous people living in Victoria and the surrounding areas, after successful delivery in cities across the country. ➝ Get the details.
Plus, as part of Seaspan Ferries’ efforts to reduce fleet emissions and explore alternative, low-carbon technologies, the company will pilot battery-powered trucks procured with the support of the Province of British Columbia and the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority.
Victory Square Technologies Inc., which has a portfolio of next-generation technology companies, reported its 6th straight quarter with positive net income and earnings per share.
Skymount Drones, a leading Canadian provider of innovative drone, counter drone, and electro-optic products and systems, announced the Grand Opening of its new Vancouver drone showroom.
EV designer and manufacturer ElectraMeccanica unveiled the ‘Cargo’ version of its flagship three-wheeled SOLO EV at the ACT Expo in Long Beach, California.
👩💼 People going places.
Dapper Labs has hired Gui Karyo from Ticketmaster and Amanda Schwartz from PayPal, as CIO and vice president of business operations and strategy, respectively.
Vancouver-based Canadian cloud consulting company, OpsGuru, a Carbon60 company, hired Adam Chandani as VP of sales and the expansion of its services in Central and Eastern Canada.
Job Opportunities at Overstory Media Group
Vancouver Tech Journal is looking for an experienced salesperson to join our team as an Account Executive. Plus, Overstory Media Group, our parent organization, is hiring for more than 20 roles. Learn more.
💡 Ideas and insights.
Visier CEO Ryan Wong: ‘What's Really Behind ‘The Great Resignation’? A Crisis Of Purpose’
“Seventy percent of people said their work defines their purpose. People whose work gives them purpose are more productive, more resilient and more likely to stay. When their purpose aligns with their employer’s, the benefits are even greater—influencing loyalty and better engagement,” he writes.
Cubic Farms CEO Dave Dinesen on ‘Why 2021 Has Put Canada’s Agtech Industry In The Global Spotlight.’
“Farmers used to look to agtech to improve operations. From the first milking robots to self-driving tractors and indoor farming modules, it was about increasing productivity and adding much-needed convenience. But this year alone, the stakes have changed. Farmers are faced with adopting technology not to supplement their farms, but to save them,” he writes.
The Council of Canadian Innovators’ Director of Government Affairs in BC Tessa Seager shares ‘How B.C.’s new “Moonshot” Economic Plan can be one giant leap for the province’s innovation economy.’
“With the economic plan set to be released this fall, Minister Kahlon will soon be asked to answer Professor Mazzucato’s final exam question: what is the B.C. government’s role in creating and shaping an economy? … the government’s role includes stepping up to develop and implement 21st century policy infrastructure to allow our real drivers of economic growth — our domestic scaling technology companies — to grow and to thrive,” Seager writes.
Foresight CEO Jeanette Jackson shares ‘More Than a Hot Summer: The Climate Crisis is Here’
“…climate change is human caused, unprecedented, and projected to intensify. We could just give up in despair.
But I see a brighter side. There is a new sense of urgency, spurred by research and first-hand experience. More Canadians are willing to put in the work needed to tackle problems through accelerated innovation and investments,” Jackson writes.
🌐 More BC tech headlines from around the web.
Flytographer in New York Times: The Return of the Dream Honeymoon
Commit in Globe and Mail: Are small businesses headed back to the office?
BroadbandTV in Entrepreneur: 5 Ways to Make More Money as a Content Creator in 2021
Dapper Labs in Benzinga: This Venture-Backed Company Uses Physical Sports Card To Collateralize NFTs
Nexii in Construction Dive: ConTech Conversations: Nexii shines light on modular
Thinkific in Cantech Letter: These two Canadian e-learning companies are buys
Tribe Property Technologies in Real Estate News EXchange: Tribe merges worlds of property management, proptech
Boris Wertz and Version One Ventures in The Globe and Mail: Venture capital firms ‘staking’ claims in new cryptocurrency technology
🎧 Watch + listen.
Last week, I (William) joined the Jas Johal Show on CKNW to discuss BC’s booming technology sector. Take a listen: ➝ Nine BC companies valued at $1 billion in past nine months.
Penderfund CEO David Barr joined Catherine Murray Media & Markets to discuss how he is thinking about the world and he discusses a lot of his fund’s investment ideas.
Will Cadell, CEO of Sparkgeo, joined Stuart McNish to discuss the power of accurate time, space and velocity-based intel.
Tribe Property Technologies CEO Joseph Nakhla joined Steve Darling from Proactive to share news the company has released their 2nd quarter financial numbers that showed a 244% increase in revenue.
Amy Tom, senior editor and podcast manager at Hacker Noon, joined Launch Academy’s Bits & Bytes Podcast to discuss the need for more diversity in tech, what it takes to be a woman in the industry and how to tackle imposter syndrome.
📅 Upcoming events.
Every Tuesday—Vancouver Tech Morning Coffee
Join the Vancouver Tech community at The Birds & The Beets (55 Powell St) from 8am-10am on Tuesday, September 7, 2021. Sign-up for weekly reminders through this form.
Sep 13, 2021—On Deck Canada Vancouver Launch Event
On Deck is expanding to Canada and inviting you to join them at their first Vancouver Launch Event. They’re excited to bring their community-driven programs to support local founders, and connect the Vancouver ecosystem with On Deck's global network.
Come learn more from the On Deck Canada team, Founding Fellows, speakers, and special guests on how On Deck is planning to connect ambitious Canadians with a global community and what their programs have to offer.
On Deck Founder Fellows will be speaking on a panel sharing tactical stories of idea and market validation, forming founding teams, and raising the first round. The panel will be followed by a Q&A with Yashar Nejati, GM at On Deck Canada. Grab a ticket to reserve your spot!