🦄 Another week, another unicorn

Plus, BC's startup whisperer and 36 other stories. Welcome to the Sunday Briefing.

Good morning everyone! Do you know what day it is? It’s New Ventures BC (NVBC) Competition Awards Ceremony Eve. That’s right, tomorrow night we find out who will take the top spot in the 21st edition of the annual competition. It started with over 200 companies and 10 remain. Register here to watch a live stream of the show and make sure to read our profile of Angie Schick, NVBC’s executive director.

-William (@notionport)


The Week’s Top Stories

Vancouver agtech juggernaut Semios has raised $100 million in funding led by Morningside Group, a Boston-based private equity and venture capital firm focused on investing in socially responsible businesses.

This funding takes Semios into BC’s Unicorn County, which now has a double-digit population: Semios is the 11th BC tech company to reach a $1 billion-plus valuation since last December. » Go deeper.


After 21 years, Angie Schick is ready for her close-up.

In a special feature, the head of the New Ventures BC Competition reflects on more than two decades fueling BC entrepreneurial success. In advance of the NVBC awards ceremony, learn about the woman who makes it all happen. » Start reading.


Conexiom, a SaaS company focused on sales order and invoice automation, raised $165 million (USD$130M) from growth investor Warburg Pincus.

The new funding comes just over a year after a USD$40 million investment from Iconiq in July 2020. Luminate Capital is also an investor and holds a majority stake in the company. » Get the full story.


With $14 million from partners, the BC government is expanding the Innovator Skills Initiative (ISI), a program that provides funding for businesses to hire students or youth for tech-related roles.

The expansion sees the province partner with Innovate BC, Mitacs, and the Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC). The province has previously announced a $15 million investment into the ISI, so with the matching funds, the total program investment is $29 million. » Get the details.


Vancouver Economic Commission has launched Angels for Climate Solutions, a program aiming to increase the flow of capital investment into BC-based, early-stage climate technology startups.

The program is funded by Innovate BC and delivered in partnership with Spring Activator, Volition and Foresight Canada. » Get the details.


⏩ Quick takes.


🤝 Funding and deals.

  • Wishpond has entered into a credit agreement with the National Bank of Canada that gives the company a $6M secured revolving operating line. The company claims it has at least $7.5 million in cash and no debt, reports Charlize Alcaraz (Betakit).

  • Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers signed a deal to buy US company SmartEquip for US$175-million.

  • Virogin Biotech, a developer of oncolytic virus (OV) therapeutics, has raised over $120 million with plans to build its global R&D centre in China’s Shanghai.

  • Copperleaf Technologies Inc. has set a price range of $11 to $13 a share for its impending IPO.


Quotable: “It’s a good business to be in. It’s not as susceptible to downturns as a lot of other industries, and there’s huge money.” - Nancy Paris, director of Make+, on BC’s medical devices industry.


🗞️ In other news…

  • Invest Vancouver announced an agreement with Amazon Web Services to create a workforce development initiative with the aim to prepare Vancouverites for tech jobs and attract companies.

    Metro Vancouver will be the first region in Canada to introduce the regional training initiative that is based on a successful AWS program currently running across 100 community colleges in California. » Keep reading.

  • Netcoins has been granted relief from certain registration, prospectus and trade reporting requirements, allowing it to trade cryptoassets with Canadian investors. It’s now one of the first crypto trading platforms (CTPs) to be registered as a restricted dealer in Canada. » Dig deeper.

  • Reach3 Insights, in partnership with Rival Technologies, launched a consumer insights tool specifically designed to help brands better understand how to retain customers gained during the COVID pandemic. » Learn more.

  • Traction on Demand (ToD) is partnering with the Manitoba government to provide training to 100 new hires who will be employed at ToD’s new Winnipeg office, opening in 2022. » Learn more.

  • Thinkific co-founder Miranda Lievers explains the foundation she built, the guard rails she put in place, and the process that the company uses to evolve its culture without losing its foundation. » Read this.


💡 Ideas and insights.


🌐 More BC tech headlines from around the web.


👩‍💼 People going places.


Quotable/Debatable: “In many respects, it’s easier to bring people into Victoria than it is to Vancouver because there is a little bit of an advantage in terms of cost of living.” - Glenn Bindley, CEO, Redlen Technologies Inc.


📅 See you soon at these events

  • Every Tuesday: Vancouver Tech Morning Coffee. Join the Vancouver Tech community for coffee from 8am-10am every Tuesday. If it’s sunny, meet at the Birds & The Beets (55 Powell St). If it’s rainy, meet at The Coffee Bar (10 Water St.). Sign-up for weekly reminders through this form.

  • Invention to Innovation Venture Pitch Competition on October 20, 2021.

  • Have you heard? SAAS NORTH is back this November 17-18 in Ottawa. Early Bird tix are on until Oct 14 and you can save an additional 25% with the code VTJ25—run, don’t walk to grab your tickets: saasnorth.com/register-full


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