An $80B business in BC's backyard
With 100 employees and hiring more. Welcome, to the Sunday Briefing.
Good morning everyone. Welcome to the hundreds of new readers reading this week. If you’re in the Lower Mainland, I invite you to join the tech community for coffee on Tuesday at The Coffee Bar (10 Water St.). We’ll be meeting from 8am-10am, like we do every week. Sign-up for reminders through this form.
In today’s newsletter, I’m excited to spotlight the $80B EV maker hiring in Yaletown, a milestone for Canada’s hydrogen tech sector, a new category of agtech and 41 more stories.
Today’s Sunday Briefing is 1,636 words, a 4 + 1/2-minute read. Enjoy!
🛻 Meet Rivian, the $80B Tesla competitor building in BC.
What do Amazon, Ford and Yaletown, BC have in common? All three are being leveraged by Rivian, the electric vehicle maker set to IPO in the next month. The company is best known for its just-launched R1T, an all-electric pickup truck. It has a major partnership with Ford and Amazon was a lead investor in its most recent USD$2.5B funding round.
Rivian is based in California with a manufacturing plant in Illinois and additional locations in Michigan, Arizona, and England — and a fast-growing presence in Vancouver, right here in our own backyard. Its Vancouver team is led by general manager Erhun Arkan, the former vice president of engineering at Vancouver-founded Grow Technologies. We recently caught up with him to discuss Rivian’s Vancouver presence, what his team is working on, and the deep bench of talent he’s been able to recruit to the automaker. » Here’s what we learned.
Hydra Energy unveils first hydrogen-converted, heavy-duty vehicle.
Prince George’s Lodgewood Enterprises has received the initial truck marking the first of 12 semi-trucks to be converted with Hydra’s hydrogen-diesel conversion kit. It’s a milestone for Hydra but also for clean trucking overall and for Canada’s push for net-zero emissions by 2050. “Although heavy-duty trucking accounts for only 1.37% of vehicles on the road, it accounts for 30% of road-related emissions,” noted Hydra Energy CEO, Jessica Verhagen. » Learn more.
Agtech AMPLIFIED: CubicFarms launches 'local chain ag-tech.'
The new category of agtech signals an exciting time for both a local company and the agricultural innovation field overall. » Read about a new way to feed the world.
⏩ Quick takes.
🐝 Stayin’ alive: The Hive, Vancouver’s only non-profit co-working space, survived the pandemic and turned 10.
🚘 Mobile future: Innovative BC companies showing the world better, greener ways to get around.
🤝 Funding and deals.
Pocketed, a startup that helps other startups and small businesses access billions of dollars in grants, tax credits, and business incentives through a marketplace, raised $1 million in seed funds. The round was led by WUTIF Capital with participation from more than a dozen investors including Hustle Fund, Women’s Equity Lab and New Avenue Capital. » Get the full story.
Vancouver’s SkyHive has raised $40 million led by Eldridge. The round, which had participation from investors Allegis Cyber, Accenture Ventures, Workday Ventures, and the Partnership Fund For New York City, brings SkyHive’s total funding to more than $60 million. » Get more details.
The BC Government has invested $10M into 43 projects to drive innovation in BC’s manufacturing and supply chain sectors as part of the Accelerating Manufacturing Grants program. » See who got money.
Vancouver’s FLIK, a social enterprise that connects female founders and aspiring talent for mentorship and apprenticeship opportunities, was acquired Vancouver digital studio, Rumor Avenue, reports BetaKit.
BBTV has partnered with Spotter, a platform providing upfront cash to creators by acquiring rights to their content, to dedicate up to $155 million (USD$125M) to BBTV creators to scale creator growth and monetization opportunities for the Company's existing library of creator content. » Get the details.
Province of BC is investing $4.28 million to expand the Vancouver landfill’s gas-capture system through the CleanBC Industry Fund, with matching funds from the City of Vancouver. » Learn more.
aDolus, a Victoria company that builds software intelligence for critical infrastructure, raised $3.09 million. » Read more.
UBC clean hydrogen technology will be deployed in Alberta, thanks to a $7 million collaboration between UBC, the government of Alberta and Alberta utility company ATCO. » The story.
Innovate BC announced a contribution of $300,000 to Palette Skills, whose program is designed to help Canadians land a job in B2B or tech sales quickly. Their SalesCamp program will be available in BC for the first time, with the first cohort of the pilot beginning this week in the province. » Learn more.
SoleSavy, a Vancouver sneaker marketplace, which raised $15 million earlier this year, announced a partnership with the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers. » Details here.
WonderFi announced a $20 million bought deal private placement offering being handled by Canaccord Genuity Corp. » More here.
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🗞️ In other news…
General Fusion announced that it would relocate and expand its headquarters in Richmond, BC in order to expedite the commercialization of its fusion technology and quadruple its workforce. » Get the full story.
AVA Technologies Inc. launched AVA MicroByte, a mini garden that enables users to grow microgreens at home in as little as 7 days. » Learn more.
ImagineAR, an AR company that enables brands to create their own mobile phone immersive AR campaigns, has hired NFL veteran Rod Nenner as a strategic advisor.
Life Sciences British Columbia (LSBC) announced the 31 companies presenting to the 6th annual Invest in BC showcase. » Get the list.
BuildDirect.com announced that CEO Dan Park would step down as CEO and transition to chair of the board, effective December 31, 2021. » Details.
CubicFarms promoted Sandy Gerber to chief marketing officer. » More on this.
BBTV has promoted its vice president of finance Ben Groot to the role of chief financial officer.
Cameron Uganec, formerly Later’s head of marketing, joined Thinkific as general manager of media.
Alpha Esports Tech appointed Adam Morrison to the role of president.
Mik Naayem, Dapper Labs’ co-founder and chief business officer, joined the board of Concept Art House, which raised $25 million for its NFT publishing business.
💡 Ideas and insights.
Bijan Vaez, CTO of Browze, writing on Twitter: What would happen if you coach your software team like a sports team?
Ryan Wong, CEO of Vancouver unicorn Visier, writing in Quartz: A bit of boredom can help us fight our burnout epidemic
Mitchell Demeter, CEO of Netcoins, writing on LinkedIn: The Secret to Setting Your Company up for Success When You’re Gone
Dave Dinesen, CEO of CubicFarms, writing in Entrepreneur: Why Revolutionizing Farming Should Be the Next Space Race
Jonathon Narvey, CEO of tech-focused PR firm Mind Meld, writing in Entrepreneur: PR Pitches Getting Lost in the Abyss? This Storytelling Advice Will Help the Right People Find Them.
🌐 More BC tech headlines from around the web.
Aspect Biosystems in The Globe and Mail: How Star Trek inspired this biotech company to create living human tissues
Raven Indigenous Capital Partners in BetaKit: How the indigenous-led VC firm investors for financial and community impact
GameOn Entertainment Technologies in StreetWise Reports: Why Invest in This Canadian Fan Engagement Start-Up?
Drive Hockey Analytics in Sports Illustrated: Player Tracking in Youth Hockey? The Future is Now
Snack in Canadian Business: Kimberly Kaplan Is on to the Next Big Thing in Online Dating
LaunchTrip in Owner’s Mag: Launchtrip Lets You Actually Enjoy Your Vacation
Watch and listen.
Tobyn Sowden, CEO of Redbrick, joined the AfternoonT podcast to discuss building, launching, and growing award-winning companies and delivering excellent operational management and technology products.
Roham Gharegozlou, CEO of Dapper Labs, joined the Founder Hour podcast to discuss his career, how he got into blockchain and his visions for the future.
Boris Wertz, founding partner of Version One, joined The Meb Faber Show to discuss marketplaces and his broad thoughts on NFTs.
@Swickie joined the Bits & Bytes podcast to discuss her NFT journey, NBA Top Shot, the rise of Kiki, @BoredApeYC (the first female Ape to be cast in @punkscomic) and the moment that her life changed overnight.
Andrew Wilkinson, the Victoria-based founder of Tiny Capital, joined the My First Million podcast to discuss how he found joy through a four-week dopamine fast and why it can be better to make safer “cruise ship investments” rather than startup investments.
📅 See you soon.
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