Meet Vancouver's 8th billion-dollar-plus business in 8 months | The Sunday Briefing
The company joins the likes of Trulioo, Clio, Dapper Labs, and GeoComply.
Good morning and happy weekend. Today’s newsletter is a short one, which hopefully mirrors last week for those of you able to take Friday off and kickstart your weekend on Wednesday night. I did and was attempting to camp near Kamloops before a lightning-filled Thursday night storm started three fires and forced my party to evacuate the area. Don’t worry, we were all safe, and in fact, managed to snag a new camping site at Cultus Lake. (Highly recommended.) Despite the interruption, the weekend was a success, and I hope you all could relax as much as I ultimately did.
Now, onto today’s business. Welcome to our hundreds of new subscribers. I invite you to stay connected with us all week, on Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn, and in the 1,300-member Vancouver Tech club on the Clubhouse app. Skip the Clubhouse line and RSVP to our next show with this specific link.
In this week’s Briefing, I’m excited to highlight the eighth BC business to pass the billion-dollar mark in the last eight months, the top 26 startups in the province according to the New Ventures BC Competition, and 12 companies that received funding from Creative BC’s Interactive Fund, among 13 other stories.
By the way, today’s Briefing is 1,256 words, a 4-minute read. Enjoy!
- William (@notionport)
Top story: Visier is Vancouver’s latest tech unicorn
Vancouver’s Visier has become the city’s latest tech company to pass a $1 billion valuation (unicorn status) after raising $154 million in an all-equity Series E round led by Goldman Sachs.
Goldman Sachs joins existing investors Sorenson Capital, Foundation Capital, Summit Partners and Adams Street Partners. Visier has previously raised $117.5 million across four rounds, bringing the company's total funding to approximately $271 million. Visier joins Vancouver’s growing club of billion-dollar businesses created over the last eight months including Trulioo, Thinkific (public), Clio, Dapper Labs, GeoComply, Galvanize (acquired by Diligent), and AbCellera (public). ➝ Get the full story.
Top 26 BC startups to watch right now
The 21st annual New Ventures BC Competition announced their Round 3 Top 26 startups.
On June 7, NVBC announced the 42 startups progressing in the competition from an initial 206 applicants. Of the 42, 15 moved directly into Round 3, with 27 having to pitch in Round 2.5 on June 24th to progress further. Now, 11 ventures are joining the 15 announced earlier this month, for a total of 26 startups moving forward. Curious who made it through? ➝ Get the list.
⏩ Quick takes.
Canada has maintained its fourth position in StartupBlink’s 2021 global ecosystem rankings, but the gap between Canada and the top three companies has widened.
As of this April, the TMX Group said 25 companies on the Toronto Stock Exchange and the TSX Venture Exchange held initial public offerings in 2021. That’s up from 17 throughout all of 2020 and 18 in 2019.
Vancouver’s 33 Acres Brewing and MoonBeers Cryptocurrency releasing are $BEERS Galaxy Hazy IPA.
Telus launched a $750-million green bond with an interest rate penalty if it fails to meet targets.
💵 Funding and deals.
The BC Arts Council and Creative BC recently announced the recipients of their Interactive Fund partnership. This year, the program will support 12 BC companies with $607,500 to develop original, creative, interactive digital media and software projects.
Successful recipients this year include Afro Van Connect, Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association, Go2Productions Inc., and Impact VR Media Ltd., among eight others. ➝ Get the full story.
Plantiga, an AI-powered sensor insole and software platform, has closed $1.48 million in funding.
The round was led by Harlo Equity Partners with participation from Globalive Capital Partners (founders of Wind Mobile), Rian Gauvreau (co-founder of Vancouver legal-tech unicorn, Clio) as well as professional athletes including Thaddeus Young (Chicago Bulls), Patrick Patterson (LA Clippers) and Will Fuller (Miami Dolphins).
➝ Get the full story.
Customer engagement platform Alida secured a $12.3 million debt facility from Comerica Bank through Comerica’s technology and life sciences division.
Ross Wainwright, CEO of Alida, said in a statement: “Comerica Bank’s debt facility will further strengthen Alida’s working capital position and provide the company with access to additional funds to contribute to investments being made into a number of key growth areas for the business, while preserving and ultimately enhancing the value for our current stakeholders.”
🗞️ You should also know that…
Kim Kaplan, an early employee at Plenty of Fish and founder and CEO of dating app Snack, is featured in The Guardian article ‘The start of the post-Tinder era’: female tech entrepreneurs shake up online dating.’
“A friend introduced me to TikTok in 2019 and it became obvious that people were trying to date on there, but it wasn’t built for that, so I thought, why not create a TikTok for dating?” said Vancouver-based Kaplan.
Plus, Invinity Energy Systems is supercharging the battery industry.
And Absolute Software is chasing the growing market for work-from-anywhere IT security.
💡 Ideas and insights.
Why Roger Patterson, founder and CEO at Later, is all in on a multigenerational workforce.
“So much of maximizing your team’s inherent knowledge and generational expertise is understanding there’s much to learn from the past, but also much to gain from being open to the future. Planning, structure, and institutional knowledge are important—but so is adaptation and a willingness to learn,” he writes in Fast Company.
Dave Dinesen, CEO at CubicFarms Systems, shares ‘Why your employees are angry about being asked to return to the office.’
“For leaders who now insist on seeing commuters shuffling through the front doors and butts back in seats, this is a good chance to ask yourself why you really want to return to the office. And do those concerns about employee engagement and productivity really hold up to scrutiny?,” he writes.
Benjamin Bergen, CCI Executive Director, shares what he calls ‘Canada’s New Brain Drain Problem,’ or Brain Drain 2.0.'
Classic brain drain was when “Canadian skilled workers [would] leave for jobs in the United States,” he writes. “What we’re seeing now is a shift to remote work that makes physical geography and national borders less important than ever before. Silicon Valley tech giants used to set up branch plant engineering hubs near Canada’s top universities. Now they’re setting up shop in Canadian home offices, kitchen islands and living room workspaces.”
Greg Smith, CEO of Thinkific, asks, ‘Are You Guilty Of Optimizing For A Local Max?’
“The ‘local max’ concept is prevalent in the world of web design and marketing. In the quest to get clicks, designers will experiment with small changes—font size, the colors of buttons, placement of images, etc. When done right, the result is usually modest, incremental improvement. But in this obsession over-optimizing for a local max, bigger questions are often ignored,” he writes.
🎧 A/V: Watch & Listen
Andrew Mosawi, president of iATS Payments, joined Kenndal McArdle on the Pender Ventures podcast to discuss crypto, innovation and the future of money.
📅 Upcoming events.
This Tuesday, July 6, 2021 at 9am on Clubhouse | Vancouver Tech Morning Coffee with special guest Kyle Campbell, founder at CTO.ai.
Thursday, July 8, 2021 on Clubhouse | Vancouver Tech Life Sciences Happy Hour with special guest David Poon, vice president of business development and alliance management at Zymeworks.