Sunday Briefing | #122

Studios like JAR Audio and Pacific Content have sparked Vancouver's reputation for podcast-producing talent.

Welcome to the Vancouver Tech Journal’s Sunday Briefing, the city’s most comprehensive digest of local tech stories and insights.

This week, explore the smartest locally-produced business and tech podcasts; read about the Vancouver firms benefitting from Bitcoin’s bull run; learn why job-destroying economic shocks are good in the long-run, and; guess which Asian tech giant bought a Yaletown-based gaming studio.


The smartest 20 business and tech podcasts in Vancouver

“What Vancouver-produced podcasts exist? (A lot.) How many of them focus on this publication’s primary concern, the culture and technology of business? And which ones should you actually listen to? There’s no easy to way find out, but lucky for you, we’ve done the research, so you don’t have to—and we’ve settled on our top 20 shows.


A white B.C. tech CEO named Dave joins the anti-racism conversation

“This is what I think all white people need to do right now, is unpack our own privilege,” Thoughtexhange CEO Dave McLeod told BCBusiness editor Nick Rockel. “I just want to start a conversation with organizations, especially tech organizations in Canada, around how do we get over this standing on the sidelines and saying, Our diversity’s not bad compared to the standard of tech? Because the standard of tech is actually so low.”


Rivian Is Worth $27 Billion and Vancouver Is Home To Its Vehicle Management Software Teams

“Rivian also made news today regarding its own financing journey, adding $2.65 billion in new funding from T. Rowe Price, Fidelity and Amazon’s Climate Pledge Fund. The investment round values the company at more than $27 billion, and brings the total investment in the company to $8 billion since the beginning of 2019… Vancouver is home to Rivian’s vehicle management software teams and they’re currently hiring for 27 open roles.”


Numbers

Martech Series

Vancouver’s BBTV has over 600 million unique viewers, which is larger than other top media companies UPROXX (522 million), VEVO (455 million), WarnerMedia (325 million), and Disney (285 million)

The Logic / Murad Hemmadi 

There was 3,000 quantum computing patent applications filed globally across 2019 and 2020, and in terms of submissions, D-Wave Systems is fifth in the world, while 1QB Information Technologies, is 16th

Daily Hive / Kenneth Chan

Vancouver’s office market continues to be an outlier when it comes to its persistent low vacancy rate (5.8%) driven by continued high demand

Business in Vancouver / Nelson Bennett

One in five small businesses in Canada could go out of business, and one in three in the tourism and hospitality sector could close, warns the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB)

CBC

Greater Vancouver Board of Trade head Bridgitte Anderson says 40 percent of surveyed businesses reported they're investing more into digital technology and 60 percent said they will continue to do so in 2021


Growth

BCBusiness / Nathan Caddell

Routific, a route optimization software platform that helps delivery businesses plan their routes more efficiently, saw business double in the months after COVID-19 hit

Business in Vancouver / Tyler Orton

Mogo, Netcoins and other Vancouver firms are surging on the back of Bitcoin’s bull run

T-Net

Helmed by CEO Catherine Andersz, PDFTron, which provides document technology solutions for software developers, has seen 3x growth in revenues since receiving a US $71 million strategic growth investment in May 2019 from Silversmith Capital Partners

Proactive Investors / Uttara Choudhury

NEXE Innovations Inc, a leader in plant-based compostable technology and advanced materials innovation, announced its doubling the size of its research, development and manufacturing facility in Surrey

Zacks Equity Research

Electric car company ElectraMeccanica, makers of the $18,500 SOLO, set to launch additional direct-to-consumer locations, bringing the company’s total retail location count to 13 across 10 major markets


Ideas and opinions

Entrepreneur / Ryan Wong

Visier CEO explains how better workplace data can help women regain ground lost In 2020

Business in Vancouver / Jock Finlayson, Ken Peacock

Job-destroying economic shocks help to lay the foundations for significant advances in productivity and business innovation, write Business Council of British Columbia executives

Vancouver Economic Commission

Pioneering investor Joel Solomon believes Vancouver’s investment potential is still barely realized

Business in Vancouver / Karimah Es Sabar

To spur biotech-driven economic growth, local life sciences exec proposes “COVID-19 interest-free loans and other bridge financing to support pre-commercial Canadian firms with a high degree of commercial potential”

Business Insider / Ryan Holmes

Hootsuite’s founder believes society must come to grips with a communications revolution

Netcoins / Ayelen Osorio 

Why it’s still not too late to buy bitcoin

Thrive Global / Karn Manhas

Terramera’s CEO believes workplaces should start offering “Resilience Perks”

Entrepreneur / Shafin Tejani

Victory Square Technologies CEO explains how smart toilets, toothbrushes and thermometers may soon save your life


People

Quality Magazine

LMI Technologies, which develops 3D smart sensor technology, appointed COO Mark Radford to the CEO post

Daily Hive / Kenneth Chan

Los Angeles executive David Flaks tapped to lead Metro Vancouver's new economic investment agency, Regional Economic Prosperity Service (REPS)

BusinessWire

Vancouver fintech Mogo has appointed Christopher Day, formerly Square Canada’s head of marketing, to the position of Vice President of Marketing

Freight Waves / Linda Baker

Amazon’s former director of product management and software engineering and customer service joined Vancouver-based freight marketplace, Freightera

Short Term Rentalz / Paul Stevens

Property automation system Operto Guest Technologies, which provides solutions for the hotel and short-term rental industries, has announced it has appointed Rick Gay as its new VP Revenue


Money

Betakit / Meagan Simpson

Vancouver e-commerce retailer KITS Eyecare, a digital eyewear company founded by entrepreneur Roger Hardy, has closed a $55 million initial public offering (IPO) and began trading on the TSX

Techcouver

Autozen, a new consumer-to-business marketplace aiming to create an easier and more transparent way for car owners to sell their vehicles, raised a $4.2 million funding round

Private Capital Journal

Ekona Power Inc., a company established by Evok Innovations and Innovative Breakthrough Energy Technologies that is developing a novel technology for low cost, clean hydrogen production, raised $3.0 million from BDC Capital

T-Net

Western Economic Diversification announced $1.9 million for UBCO to develop an innovation hub that will promote clean technologies that convert carbon-based additives and components into new, sustainable products

CHEK / Rob Shaw

B.C. business grant program less than one-quarter spent, with $235 million sitting unused


Exits

Vancouver Tech Journal

Chinese tech giant Tencent buys majority stake in Yaletown-based Klei Entertainment

TechCrunch / Jordan Cook

PlayVS, an esports company bringing organized leagues to high schools and colleges, acquired Vancouver’s GameSeta, a startup that also provides the infrastructure for high school esports teams


Congratulations

Telus Ventures directors Jay Crone and Jon Wolkin named Rising Stars

Squamish-based Carbon Engineering named North American Company of the Year by Cleantech Group

Wishpond, a Vancouver marketing platform, Named Best for ROI by G2, a provider of business software and services reviews

Boast.ai, which develops an AI platform to automate the process of claiming R&D tax credits, and SkyHive, an AI-based SaaS platform that aims to reskill enterprise workforces and communities, were both recognized as top 25 machine learning startups

Google Awards Delta’s MonetizeMore 2020 Innovation Award in Publishing Technology


Crypto

Vancouver’s NetCents receives Bank Identification Number from Visa for its crypto-backed Visa Card in preparation for launch

Money managers debate Bitcoin’s investment value: Digital currency’s value soars, but some compare it to 17th century’s infamous tulip mania

At the Vancouver Resource Investment Conference, former PM Stephen Harper said bitcoin can be one of the world’s reserve currencies

Vancouver’s NexTech AR Solutions, a developer of VR and AR solutions, has booked a $200,000 profit after selling over 130 bitcoins


Of Note

ZDNet / Greg Nichols

Harbour Air, North America's largest seaplane airline, is working with MagniX on an all-electric fleet, a move that's being watched as a bellwether in the sector

HospiMedica

Study: PrecisionOS’ healthcare VR training platform leads to 50% fewer critical surgical errors

Vancouver Sun / Kevin Griffin

Precision Nanosystems, which received $18.2 million from the Fed government last year, is using new technology to develop a COVID-19 vaccine


Miami (yes, really)

Curbed (New York Magazine) / Alissa Walker

Mika McKinnon, a field geophysicist and disaster researcher based in Vancouver, says Elon Musk’s plan to dig car tunnels under Miami is filled with holes

Vancouver Tech Journal

BrainStation has agreed to acquire Wyncode, Florida’s leading coding and user experience design bootcamp


If you can’t get enough…

Vancouver’s Vanywhere, a tech startup that allows direct connections between superfans and their favorite celebrities and public figures, welcomed Lindsay Lohan to their platform

CMC Research Institutes is partnering with Foresight Cleantech Accelerator Centre to develop Canada’s first International Business Development Strategy (IBDS) for the carbon capture, utilization, and storage sector

SFU and cybersecurity firm Trend Micro are partnering on SFU’s new Professional Master's Program in Computer Science with a Cybersecurity Concentration

With latest deal, Nextech AR Solutions is headed for $50-60million in revenue for 2021

Mogo set to acquire digital payments company Carta Worldwide

Federal government announced $274,054 for the Clean Surrey Electric Vehicle Charging Network project, with the province chipping $228,356 and Surrey adding $182,727 to the pot


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PostScript

A message from Dapper Labs CEO Roham Gharegozlou: