The Sunday Briefing | #84

“That’s not a ripple – that’s a rock in the pond,” said Shamil Hargovan, chief executive officer of Wiivv Wearables Inc, on the news that Amazon is set to become Vancouver’s largest corporate tenant.

The Vancouver Tech Journal spotlights the city's most important technology news and business stories. This is the Sunday Briefing. Enjoy.


Amazon is leasing 1.1 million square feet of space—an entire city block with two office towers—which will make it Vancouver’s largest corporate tenant. The space could accommodate as many as 10,000 people, according to real estate industry exports, “a tenfold increase from Amazon’s most recent local employment figure.” Local CEOs Raghwa Gopal (Innovate BC), Shamil Hargovan (Wiivv), Greg Smith (Thinkific), and Carl Schmidt (Unbounce) spoke with the Globe and Mail’s Josh O’Kane about the news. /more ($)

New Greater Vancouver Board of Trade (GVBOT) president and CEO Bridgitte Anderson says her top priority is regional competitiveness. “We need to get beyond thinking that we are silos,” Anderson told BIV’s Hayley Woodin. “We have to think beyond where we are as a city and think as a region about how we’re going to be regionally competitive and then globally competitive. There is so much divisiveness within Canada.” /more

Vancouver’s Casca Footwear has raised a $4.66 million venture funding round led by Khosla Ventures and including Shopify founder Tobi Lütke. Casca also debuted its Avro sneaker model, which features a custom 3D-printed insole designed to create a more precise fit and comfort. Avro can be customized through Casca’s iOS or Android app and is printed according to arch and foot measurements. /more

“We’re not the only ones who are finding that Vancouver’s a fantastic market,” says Clay Kellogg, CEO of Terminal, a company that connects fast-growing global companies to top talent in Vancouver and other major Canadian cities. /more

Companies like Ready Split Check, Microsoft, MEC, and SFU were recognized at the 2019 Vancouver User Experience Awards. In total, eight prizes and a scholarship were awarded to people and companies who are creating technology products and services that are pleasing and easy to use. /more

TIME magazine named Vancouver’s Biba Playground Games as one of its Best Inventions 2019. Matthew Gault writes that, “With its free mobile app, Biba Playground Games is trying to turn screen time into quality time spent outside. Parents use the app, which blends gaming with playground activities, to relay ‘missions’ that kids can complete in the real world.” /more

Thinkific (careers), Unbounce (careers) and Clio (careers), among others, were recognized for their commitment to corporate culture. /more

OPEN Technologies launched Shift, a data visualization tool developed in partnership with the Vancouver Economic Commission (VEC) that allows local and international companies to view demand projections by municipality for a range of green buildings products, empowering them to strategically plan future investments. /more

Vancouver’s Clarius Mobile Health launched a line of ultrasound scanners that combine artificial intelligence and a pocket size to make medical ultrasounds accessible to medical professionals whether they’re in an office, an ambulance or a remote refugee camp. /more

The world's first all-electric commercial plane set for takeoff in Richmond with Harbour Air’s 1st ever test flight of its newly retrofitted e-plane. “The whole process has been exciting and fun because it's something that hasn't been done before,” said CEO Greg McDougall. “But at the end of the day there's a financial and economic and environmental goal here, and those are the things that are really important to me.” McDougall will be flying solo in a DHC-2 de Havilland Beaver float plane that has been retrofitted with a 750 horsepower electric motor. /more

The City of Vancouver has announced the third phase of the #VanWifi, the city’s public wifi network expansion project. The plazas surrounding the Vancouver Art Gallery, as well as the Moberly Arts and Cultural Centre will receive free public wifi. The installment will also improve indoor cellular coverage at the Moberly Arts and Cultural Centre and is being installed by Telus. /more


Olena Tkhorovska, CEO and Co-Founder at Pieoneers, writing on the Pieoneers blog: Sales Software: 8 Highlights from the TechVancouver November Edition

Gordon Patrick Newell, Business and Personal Coach at Bond & Bourne Leadership, writing on Medium: Newsflash: You’re not as good as you think you are.

Jeff Booth, Co-founder of Technologies Inc., explores the deflationary nature of technology is his new book: The Price of Tomorrow: Why Deflation is the Key to an Abundant Future

Ilya Brotzky, CEO & Founder of VanHack, writing on LinkedIn: A Salary Guide to International Tech Hiring

Version One Ventures (Angela Tran and Vancouver’s Boris Wertz) released a Startup Handbook on best practices for startups organized into three sections: 1) Building your team; 2) Building your organization; and 3) Building your investor base.

Oh, and there’s been some interest:


Jacob Steiner, Founder of Homer Bot, a startup that helps renters find homes using artificial intelligence, talks growth and success on the Innovate BC blog. /more

Tea Nicola, CEO and Co-Founder of WealthBar, talks fostering inclusivity in financial services on the WealthBar blog. /more


Can Amazon drones or Mars rovers be hacked? Very easily, UBC research suggests. /more

This $5M Chandelier Under a Vancouver Bridge Will Start the Class War. /more


From Robert Fife and Steven Chase in the Globe and Mail:

Inside the final hours that led to the arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou. When Canadian officials apprehended the Chinese executive in a Vancouver airport in 2018, it generated headlines worldwide and threw Canada-China relations into a deep freeze. Now, the Globe reveals new details about how the plan unfolded.

/more ($)


Canada’s demand for “digitally-skilled talent” is expected to reach 305,000 people by 2023, for total employment of over two million workers in the digital economy, according to a new report released by the Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC). /more

10 years after the first electric vehicles hit B.C. highways, there are now more than 30,000 on the road, according to the B.C. government. /more

The number of cryptocurrency ATMs installed worldwide has surpassed 6,000, nearly a 50% growth since the beginning of the year. The U.S. leads other countries with over 4,000 crypto ATMs, followed by Canada. In Canada, 227 crypto ATMs are found in Toronto, 102 in Montreal, and 85 in Vancouver. /more

Complaints against Telus jumped 70.6% to 1,610 during the fiscal year ending July 31, 2019, compared with a year earlier. Data released November 28 by the Commission for Complaints for Telecom-Television Service (CCTS) revealed that complaints against all of Canada’s telecom and cable providers totalled 19,287 — a 35% gain compared with the previous year. /more


Tomorrow, December 2-4: VanHack hosts Leap Vancouver - Job Fair. /go

Tuesday, December 3: Tech Collective: Let's Talk about Community Engagement: Advice from Leadership with Kirsten Sutton, VP and Managing Director at SAP Labs, Sarah Rushton, Director of Community at MEC, Chris Peacock, CMO at Traction on Demand, and Felicia Bochicchio, CRO at Unbounce. /go

December 9: WeWork Station Square Grand Opening. /go

December 9: Cross Over AI Conference to Showcase B.C.’s AI Ecosystem. /go

December 10: TechVancouver: Building Products for the Fortune 500 with Isaac Oslund, co-founder & CTO at Bananatag. /go


Should your colleagues be reading this too? Forward it to them.

Follow along on Twitter: @vantechjournal / @notionport.

Reply with news for next week.