38 stories you may have missed | Your Sunday Briefing
Top Story: Local tech titans join forces on a $20 million wellness project.
Hello, happy BC Day weekend and welcome to the new subscribers reading this Sunday. I invite you to stay connected with us all week on Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn. Better yet, join us for coffee (in person) to chat all things Vancouver tech this Tuesday, August 3 at 8am. The community will be meeting at The Birds & The Beets (outside tables) at 55 Powell St. in Vancouver. Please sign-up.
In this week’s Briefing, I’m excited to highlight the $20 million wellness project being led by the Digital Technology Supercluster, lululemon and Microsoft, 15 local funding stories from July and the three BC innovators selected to advise the federal government on tech support programs, plus (a record) 35 other stories.
Today’s Briefing is 1,874 words, a 6-minute read. Enjoy!
Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster is partnering with lululemon, Microsoft, Wysdom.AI and Queen’s University on Wellbeing.ai, a $20 million project to improve wellbeing among people.
The organizations are collaborating on the development of a digital wellbeing platform that will help people better understand their physical and mental health through interactions with virtual agents. ➝ Get the full story.
On the heels of that announcement, we wanted to quickly note the significant digits in the Supercluster’s most recent Investment Report published in June 2021. In a Cheatsheet, we spotlight what casual observers may be curious to know about the most active innovation supercluster (of five) in the country. ➝ Get the details.
The BC Tech Association released an in-depth report titled ‘A New Economic Narrative for British Columbia’ that seeks to highlight the role of tech in driving BC’s economy.
"BC should not be allowing 20th-century thinking to guide 21st-century decisions," said Jill Tipping, president and CEO of the BC Tech Association, of the report. "Other jurisdictions around the world are recognizing the fundamental shifts taking place and are making changes to remain economically competitive. As we emerge from COVID, and start to think about economic recovery, we need to make an honest assessment of where our sustainable strengths lie, and how we can build a more inclusive, innovative and resilient economy in BC."
⏩ Quick takes.
Say cheese: An AR iPhone application called Clarity Smile makes it easy for anyone to see how different styles of braces will look on their teeth before they visit an orthodontist.
Notable: Vancouver wearables company FORM’s Smart Swim Goggles were featured in Popular Mechanics’ in this piece: For Pool Laps and Ocean Swims, These are the Best Swim Goggles.
Frontier tech: Nextech AR Solutions, local leaders in the VR/AR space, revealed plans to launch its NFT hologram creator platform.
This is cool: A Vancouver Roblox player recreated TransLink’s SkyTrain system in the game’s digital world.
Blockchain boss: Dapper Labs CEO Roham Gharegozlou is ranked No. 3 in Fortune magazine’s NFTy 50, a list of crypto leaders and influencers.
Office talk: Electronic Arts plans to move into a 20,000 SF LEED platinum office building in the False Creek Flats neighbourhood, joining companies like Tesla, Axiom Zen and Semios.
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💵 Funding and deals.
In Q2 of this year, companies like Trulioo raised $476 million, SoleSavy raised $15.5 million and Trait Biosciences Inc. raised $31 million, among many other funding rounds.
It’s Lumira’s largest fund to date, and the firm believes it’s the largest institutional life sciences venture capital fund ever raised in Canada. ➝ Get the full story.
Vancouver’s Spark RE Technologies has closed a $6.2 million Series A round with investment from BDC Capital, Pender Ventures and GroundBreak Ventures.
As real estate developers and project marketing firms across North America have used Spark to sell projects, the company has seen accelerated growth over the past two years—doubling in both annual revenue and headcount. ➝ Get the full story.
Clio has acquired the automated court-calendaring company CalendarRules.
It’s Clio’s first acquisition since raising $137 million earlier this year and its second acquisition ever.
HP Inc. is set to acquire BC-based Teradici, which provides remote computing software that enables users to securely access high-performance computing from any PC, Chromebook or tablet.
The acquisition is meant to enhance HP’s capabilities in the Personal Systems category by delivering new compute models and services tailored for remote and hybrid work. ➝ Get the full story.
🗞️ You should also know that…
François-Philippe Champagne, Canada’s innovation minister, launched the federal government’s new biomanufacturing and life sciences strategy in Vancouver.
It includes more than $2.2 billion over seven years from Budget 2021. The five pillar strategy has two goals: “to grow a strong, competitive domestic life sciences sector, with cutting-edge biomanufacturing capabilities, while creating good jobs for Canadians, and to make sure Canada is prepared for pandemics and other health emergencies in the future.”
General Fusion is working with Canadian Nuclear Laboratories on a project to advance fusion energy technology.
More specifically, the pair is developing tritium extraction techniques for use in commercial fusion power plants. As a corporate goal, General Fusion is aiming to develop a practical and economical approach to Magnetized Target Fusion (MTF). MTF is fueled by hydrogen isotopes deuterium and tritium. ➝ Go deeper.
The program is meant to provide women, including students and experienced mid-career managers, as well as new immigrants with training and sponsored work placements in artificial intelligence, machine learning and data science.
Plus, SAP is trying a controlled reopening of its massive Vancouver office.
Food services startup UpMEals announced a partnership with PlantX as part of its US expansion.
The BC government is launching a Regenerative Agriculture and Agritech Network (RAAN) that will help farmers adopt the latest technology to increase profitability and environmental sustainability.
💡 Ideas and insights.
‘Want to attract and retain talented people? Lead with your values,’ argues Jesse Houston, CEO and co-founder of Phoenix Labs.
“In seven years, we’ve grown from three people with a pitch deck to a collaborative team of more than 200 passionate game makers successfully bringing our games to a global audience,” he writes. “I attribute our success to our radically different approach to cultivating culture and a steadfast belief that people are the end, not the means.
Marlon Thompson, CEO of investor education platform Future Capital, shared reflections and insights on a year in operation.
In regards to the first angel investor who came on board, Thompson writes, “…the statement “we want to invest in you” caught me so off guard I don’t really remember what I responded with. I do remember that I didn’t rush the process just to get $ in the bank. It was, and still is, important to me that each investor I work with is more than a cheque.”
Craig Golinowski explores ‘How B.C. can become the Silicon Valley for carbon capture and reliable clean energy.’
“For B.C. in particular, the adoption of CCS throughout Canada and globally, along with the subsequent launch of related industries and commerce, will greatly benefit homegrown companies like Carbon Engineering and Svante,” he writes. “At the same time, B.C.-based hydrogen businesses will benefit from increased use of their fuel of choice, made possible by the cost-effective and reliable production enabled by CCS. If B.C.-sourced natural gas supplies the underlying energy, a trifecta of benefits will accrue.”
Roger Patterson, CEO of social media scheduler Later, believes the future belongs to small businesses.
“I believe, for a lot of macroeconomic reasons, that small business is the future of our economy, and we’re only going to see more of them. It’s something we saw last year with COVID. We were looking at advance warnings out of Italy and Spain and saw massive rises in people signing up for our service, starting e-commerce stores or becoming influencers or independent consultants,” he said to BCBusiness.
Clir Renewables CEO Gareth Brown argues ‘Buying renewable energy projects is not enough to claim ESG credentials.’
“Buying a wind farm or solar array is a great first step to “greening” a portfolio, but an acquisition alone cannot be enough to claim ESG credentials. Taking steps to quantify and assess performance will be key to ensuring the long-term investability of renewables in the decades to come,” he writes.
👔 People going places.
To share BC’s perspective and provide advice on the NRC-IRAP’s strategic direction and management, three Vancouver innovators have been tapped for its Advisory Board.
They are David Helliwell, Co-founder and CEO of Thrive Health; Natalie Cartwright, co-founder and COO of Finn AI, and; Raghwa Gopal, president and CEO of Innovate BC. ➝ Learn more about them.
Terramera announced that global climate policy expert, Diana Fox Carney, has joined its Strategic Advisory Board.
UBC added assistant professors Giulia Toti, Vered Shwartz and Caroline Lemieux to its Computer Science (CS) department.
More BC tech headlines from around the web:
ThisFish in SeafoodSource: ThisFish: Pandemic creates “new normal” for digitization
Ocean Open Robotics in Reseach2Reality: Could This Drone Help Save Our Oceans… and Us?
Hydra Energy in H2 View: To decarbonise hydrogen power, get over the rainbow
🎧 A/V: Watch & Listen
Alex Popa, co-founder of BOAST.ai, joined Ray Walia on the Founder Journeys podcast to discuss Alex's beginnings, how he got into R&D Tax and how he raised an impressive $30 million with one investor.
Hydra Energy CEO Jessica Verhagen joined The Tech Talks Daily Podcast to discuss her company’s innovation that converts trucks to run on hydrogen.
Keela CEO Nejeed Kassam joined Andrew Mosawi on the Contributions podcast to discuss how nonprofits are beholden to unfair metrics for results and how important it is for them to advocate for tracking the right metrics to allow for innovation and growth.
Alpha Esports Inc. CEO Matthew Schmidt and Matthew Bailey of Vancouver-based GameOn Technologies Inc. featured on The Canadian Securities Exchange panel Esports the Sequel – What Investors Can Expect for 2021 and Beyond.
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