The Techies: New Ventures BC Competition’s 21st year, the pros and cons of hybrid events and the celebration of an ecosystem

The tweets you may have missed while you brushed up on last night’s winners.

In the previous iteration of The Techies, I discussed my ill-fated attempt to secure cognac at the New Ventures BC Competition, an event that kicked off Vancouver Startup Week 2016. Though I wrote about that interaction with a bartender, I had a bigger takeaway that evening. NVBC x VSW was the crossover event I didn’t know I needed. I was catapulted into the province’s tech ecosystem with a newfound appreciation for local innovators and the people who make up the space. 

Fast forward a half-decade and that evening is one of the reasons why I feel so lucky to get to do what I do with Vancouver Tech Journal today. The memory of 2016 is an immense pleasure that reminds me of a younger version of myself and the everlasting possibility of growth. Today, I get to spend my days chatting with or learning about incredible humans who are striving to change the world—all of them building companies in our backyard.  

Without any further adieu, here are The Techies for the New Ventures BC Competition 2021, an event that is not just five years in the making, but 21 years in the making.


Best anticipatory emoji

Best roadie

I attended the event virtually, meaning I wouldn’t have a repeat performance choosing a beverage. I grabbed a hazy IPA out of the back of my fridge and settled into a silent Livestream that had me double-checking the alcohol content of my chosen beer. After confirming, via the above tweet, that it wasn’t just me, I had a lovely mental image of a scene straight out of This is Spinal Tap: a roadie in bootcut jeans and an NVBC raglan plugging the audio back in, nervously awaiting a 12-inch replica Stonehenge.  

Best cheering section

There was also an in-person contingent, a lovely reminder of vaccine passports and regenerated social lives. Bridging the virtual and in-person spaces was Janice O’Briain, who like a fan at a sporting event with a victorious home team, could go home happy. 

Best humble in victory

So wholesome :)

Best serendipitous timing

For Ania Wysocka, CEO of Victoria-based Rootd, today was a good day—worthy of the Ice Cube jam. Mere hours before winning the $10,000 Innovate BC Social Venture Prize and $10,000 Innovate BC Woman-Led Venture Award awards, Wysocka announced an over seven-figure number of downloads of her company’s app. All that’s left is to admire that there was a smog-free horizon and watch the Lakers beat the Supersonics. 

Best shoutouts

Best alumni

Having a company like AbCellera, one that has perhaps exemplified a booming 2021 in Vancouver’s tech ecosystem, take home the alumni prize was fitting. Further, seeing them share the stage with a host of upcoming ventures was a delight. Perhaps those ventures dream of becoming the next AbCellera. But, you couldn’t fault them if their vision is to be the first Train Fitness or the first Traffic Driven—an incredible achievement in its own right.

The common denominator between 2000, 2013 and 2021 is New Ventures BC and their commitment to making our province a place where innovators are rewarded for their efforts. 

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