events

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    F***up Nights is a global movement born in Mexico in 2012 to share publicly business failure stories see more

    Source: Forbes
    Author: Dan Pontefract

    In his book, The Secret of Staying in Love, author John Powell wrote, “The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.”

    Indeed, mistakes are inevitable, but they are truly useless if lessons learned do not materialize.

    In whatever form, in whatever shape, blunders can become the seeds to new trees, the pollen to the new flowers … but if they are ignored, the likelihood of new growth has as good a chance of happening as Canada successfully burning down the White House again.

    F***up Nights is a global movement born in Mexico in 2012 to share publicly business failure stories. Hundreds of people attend each event to hear three to four entrepreneurs share their failures. Each speaker is given seven minutes and is able to use 10 images. After each speaker, there’s a question/answer session for about ten minutes. Of course beer is encouraged and naturally there is time for networking before and after the speakers. In 2015, there were over 250,000 people who attended a F***up event in cities across the planet.

    I recently attended the first-ever F***up Nights in Victoria, British Columbia, hosted by the fine folks at the Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology & Entrepreneurship Council, or by its much cooler acronym, VIATEC.

    VIATEC is a one-stop hub that connects people, knowledge and resources to grow and promote the Greater Victoria technology scene, a sector that consists of 900 companies generating more than $3 billion in revenues. With more than 15,000 employed in the sector there was a good chance not every company (or previously existing company) were operating on a bed of roses. Indeed, VIATEC seemed a perfect spot to introduce F***up Nights.

    After a couple of beers and meeting some new people, Dan Gunn, CEO of VIATEC, took the stage at Fort Tectoria and calmly said to the audience, “The reality is there are going to be some mistakes. That’s why we’re here tonight … to learn from other people’s mistakes.”

    It was the perfect way to start the night.

    Todd Dunlop

    First up was Todd Dunlop. He founded an online search engine marketing agency called Neverblue Media. After several years of success, as a 27-year old he sold the firm to U.S. giant Vertrue Inc. But eventually, Vertrue went bankrupt. Dunlop said, “In the end, the only people winning were the lawyers.”

    His mistake?

    There was one word in a 50,000 word legal document between Neverblue Media and Vertrue that ended up costing Dunlop significant time, money and pain.

    His first lesson?

    “Always, always, cover your ass by ensuring you have multiple people go through the framework and structure of your company documents.”

    His second lesson?

    “Patents can be extremely contentious. Be cautious when it comes to handing over intellectual property and other patent possibilities.”

    Mark Grambart

    The second speaker to take the stage was Mark Grambart. His was a harrowing, emotional tale of infamy. Mark’s first line, “This is not going to end well,” was as prescient as it was hilarious. Indeed it was a story about what not to do when it comes to acquisitions.

    Running a rather successful company called Contech Enterprises for a few years, Mark and his team were looking to grow. As is the case with any company, growth can come organically or it can come through acquisition. Mark and team were doing both, but it was the sixth of seven acquisitions that ultimately tripped up the master plan.

    In 2013, Contech bought a raised bed garden company. I don’t claim to possess a green thumb so I had to look it up. It’s exactly as it sounds; a garden box that is raised above the ground. To him, it made so much sense to make the acquisition. The company they were acquiring had existing agreements with Lowes, Costco, Canadian Tire and Home Depot. Big players. Easy money. Simple acquisition.

    At first, Mark’s gamble—like the other acquisitions—was as spot on. Sales immediately increased by 30% of the raised bed garden products. There not only was a sigh of relief, there was palpable joy.

    Then panic set in.

    It turns out the company Mark had acquired possessed a fantastic ordering system, but not a proper inventory tracking system. They had no idea how much product was in their supply chain or how much was in customer locations, etc. What to do?

    They decided to implement SAP .

    You may be guessing where this is heading.

    For 24 hours, there was not a single customer who could order products from Contech after SAP went live. If you’re Costco or Home Depot, you tend to freak out if this is the case. The lack of a true inventory management or CRM solution from the original acquisition was severely impacting Mark’s larger company. Eventually, Mark had to inform his customers that they were unable to ship products, too. It went from bliss to a case of the “oh oh’s” to DEFCON 1 in a very short period of time.

    And then the bottom fell out.

    Three years after the now infamous acquisition, Contech Enterprises slid into bankruptcy.

    But here he was at F***up Nights sharing his pain, baring his soul. He left the audience with three important lessons learned:

    1. Time Pressure

    “Don’t do an acquisition under any sort of time pressure as it will come back to bite you.”

    2. Due Diligence

    “Post-merger integration suffers if proper due diligence is not performed.”

    3. Projecting

    “I saw the founder of the company as a composition of something he wasn’t. I was wrong about his character. Don’t just look for patterns, dig deeper into the characters you are inheriting as part of the acquisition.”

    Clayton Stark

    The final speaker of the night was Clayton Stark.

    “I don’t recommend to purposely f*** up your company,” Clayton deadpanned as he strolled on stage. “But here I am!”

    In 2004, Clayton was COO of a web development shop called Mercurial Communications. The staff of 30 were developing a toolbar for AOL when one day a different request came in from their deep pocket customer.

    “We want you to build a Netscape browser,” was AOL’s request.

    Clayton’s jaw broke into pieces as it hit the floor so quickly. The opportunity of a lifetime was now his. It wasn’t just a big contract, it was AOL! It was Netscape!

    He quickly hired another 100 employees.

    They created a dream product. There was a “kickass toolbar” using a server programmable user interface (SPUI). The browser contained a dual rendering engine browser. If you’re a techie, this is important stuff. They built a widget for every imaginable component of the browser. They even cooked up an App Store – and this was back in 2004.

    But for all of his creativity and penchant for innovating—for getting this project and every other product to market on time and on budget—Clayton hated (and still hates) analytics.

    His disdain for analytics, however, ended up costing him and the company dearly.

    “I assigned analytics of this incredible web browser we were developing to a lead developer, and never thought about analytics again until the day before the project was due,” confessed Clayton. “And that was a stupid thing to do.”

    Clayton inquired the day before launch with the lead developer assigned to the task. It wasn’t completed. Like anyone trying to meet a customer’s deadline, they hacked away, pulled an all-nighter, somehow ‘fixed’ the missing analytics requirement and shipped the product.

    Judging from the immediate downloads, the browser was a smashing success. One million downloads quickly turned to five million. Then ten million. It was a runaway hit. Booze was flowing in the office. Everyone was downloading Netscape, the browser for the future.

    Until the customer called.

    “Hey Clayton, what a great job you and your team pulled off,” said the lead at AOL. “Now, can we see who these people are that have downloaded the browser?”

    This is the point at which a properly functioning analytics engine and database would come in handy.

    As it turns out, because Clayton wasn’t really paying attention to the analytics requirement of the project, the employee assigned to it somehow set the database to zero, and wrote this actual code to the database itself. If you’re a techie, this is a bad, very bad, extremely bad thing to do.

    I didn’t understated at first what Clayton was getting at, but then he explained.

    “We had a database that contained a terabyte of zeroes,” he said. “There was no data. Only zeroes. Not even any ones. Just an entire database of zeroes … and so, there was no data to give to AOL. I had to tell them that we f***ed it up.”

    And AOL was not happy.

    In the end, Clayton recognized what a colossal mistake he had made not paying enough attention to the analytics component of the Netscape browser. I was left thinking what might have been if it weren’t for that database being set to zero. What would Clayton and Mercurial Communications have accomplished thereafter? Thankfully Clayton recovered and now is SVP Technology of Kixeye, a social game development shop in San Francisco, with a team of developers in Victoria.

    In Summary

    I didn’t know what to expect from F***edUp Nights in Victoria but it reminded me of the importance of both storytelling and outwardly sharing your failures with others.

    “To err is human” … but so too perhaps, “To share is humanly.”

    If an organization want to truly and transparently grow it ought to find avenues and channels for employees to share their mistakes, project gaffes and failures. It should be done in an open and safe environment so that as many people can learn from the blunders of others to move the organization’s goals forward. This is collaborative learning at its finest.

    Serving beer—like at VIATEC’s version of F***edUp Nights—would be a fabulous idea, too.

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    It is considered the local tech industry’s highest honour see more

    Source: Times Colonist
    Author: Darron Kloster

    UVic professor named region’s tech champion

    University of Victoria entrepreneurship professor Mia Maki, who operates Quimper Consulting and is a tireless and passionate mentor in the region’s tech sector, is receiving the Colin Lennox Award for Technology Champion.

    It is considered the local tech industry’s highest honour and will be presented to Maki during the 17th annual VIATEC Technology Awards gala on June 15 at the Royal Theatre.

    “Mia has participated and supported our local tech community since 1993 and she deserves to be held up as an example of what a technology champion looks like,” said Dan Gunn, VIATEC’s chief executive. “From being behind the scenes on some of Victoria’s largest private placements, to starting up the precursor to VIATEC’s CFO Roundtable, working her way up as CFO and COO of IVL Technologies and then starting her own consulting firm — Mia has shown determination, passion and longevity in Victoria’s tech community.”

    “Not only has she worked in the tech community and consulted for some of Victoria’s most well known tech firms, but she has also shaped some of our community’s brightest minds and provided major opportunities while teaching entrepreneurship at the University of Victoria,” said Gunn. “If you give me an hour to talk about Mia Maki, it still won’t be enough time.”

    The VIATEC awards ceremony will held at the Royal Theatre for the first time, allowing for 1,400 to attend, instead of the prior limit of 800.

    The awards celebrate the achievements of technology companies responsible for making Greater Victoria the fastest growing technology region in B.C., as well as the leaders, creators and innovators who have driven the local tech sector to $4 billion in annual sales, creating Victoria’s largest private industry.

    After sifting through a record-breaking 181 nominations, 54 finalists from 44 companies have been selected for 11 award categories, and an additional five recipients were selected for awards.

    For the first time, VIATEC’s Member of the Year is going to two individuals instead of a company — Jim Hayhurst (Pretio Interactive) and Ian Chisholm (Roy Group), for their dedicated involvement in bringing F*ckUp Nights to Victoria and continuing to champion it.

    StarFish Medical will receive the Community Champion award for their outstanding charity efforts throughout the year.

    Hannes Blum has been selected by Capital Investment Network as Angel of the Year.

     

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    VIATEC puts their FREE tech expo on at the Crystal Garden Feb 23, 2018 from 11am to 6pm see more

    DISCOVER TECTORIA TO SHOW OFF LOCAL TECH WITH ONE-DAY EXPO

    VIATEC puts their FREE tech expo on at the Crystal Garden Feb 23, 2018 from 11am to 6pm

    Victoria, BC (February 22, 2018) - Discover Tectoria is the Island's BIGGEST Tech Expo and it’s taking over the Crystal Garden from 11am to 6pm on February 23rd. This year’s showcase features 76 booths over two floors, a great lineup of panel discussions, science demos for kids, VR experiences, a “Jam Hut”, samples from Victoria Beer Week, the Spirit of Tomorrow car and more. The expo, organized by VIATEC (Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology & Entrepreneurship Council), will feature a:
     

    • Main floor Tradeshow
      (local companies demonstrating products, hiring talent and co-op students)

    • The Creativity Hub, sponsored by BC Public Service Agency
      (A collection of interactive tech displays, showcasing our city's most excellent creativity)

    • Startup Alley, sponsored by Work BC
      (get a sneak peek at the future of Tectoria)

    • The UVic Research District
      (see some amazing projects post-secondary students have put together)

    • The Innovation Theatre, sponsored by TD Canada Trust
      (a line-up of great talks and panel discussions - schedule TBA soon!)

    • The Combustion Chamber
      (Science Venture LIVE demos for the kids!)

    • Partner Row, sponsored by Royal Roads University
      (a group of incredibly useful organizations that serve businesses and the community).

    VIATEC is once again taking full advantage of the tri-district Pro-D Day scheduled on the same day and is encouraging parents to bring their kids to enjoy a full day of exploration.

    Youth get a glimpse into a future working in tech, post-secondary students and job seekers get to meet potential employers, local and visiting investors can check out some up-and-coming businesses, and tech companies get to showcase their products and services to thousands of attendees.

    “We created this event in 2003 to showcase the innovation taking place right here in Victoria,” explains Dan Gunn, CEO of VIATEC. “Discover Tectoria gives our local tech companies a platform where they can be seen and heard by investors, media, job seekers and youth. We are aiming to draw out 4,000 attendees, many of which will make up the leaders and vital team members of our community in the immediate and near future. There’s no better way to inspire our future tech workers than filling a space with all the opportunities, creative minds and unworldly inventions.”

    Simultaneously, VIATEC, the City of Victoria, the Capital Investment Network and NACO are hosting the Western Regional Angel Summit for a contingent of visiting angel and VC investors which kicked off on February 21 and runs until the February 23. Invitees are experiencing first-hand the city’s highly sought after quality of life, including how easy it is to travel to and from Victoria, the vibrancy of our innovative business community and the depth of our local deal flow. The trip will finish with a visit to Discover Tectoria.

    For the full Program and Exhibitor Map, click here.

    [Exhibitor Directory 2018]

    [2017 Video Recap]

    [2017 Photo Gallery]


    MEDIA CONTACT:

    Dan Gunn
    CEO, VIATEC
    dgunn@viatec.ca
    250-882-2820

     

    www.DiscoverTectoria.com


    ABOUT VIATEC:

    VIATEC (Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council), started in 1989. Our mission is to serve as the one-stop hub that connects people, knowledge and resources to grow and promote the Greater Victoria technology sector (Victoria's biggest industry).

    We work closely with our members to offer a variety of events, programs and services. In addition, VIATEC serves as the front door of the local tech sector and as its spokesperson. To better support local innovators, we acquired our own building (Fort Tectoria) where we offer flexible and affordable office space to emerging local companies along with a gathering/event space for local entrepreneurs. www.viatec.ca

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    Scott Phillips was named the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year (Pacific) in the tech category see more

    Prestigious entrepreneur honour for Starfish Medical founder

    Starfish Medical might need to engineer a new mantelpiece for its Tennyson Place offices as the company landed a major award over the weekend when founder Scott Phillips was named the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year (Pacific) in the technology category. 

    The award, considered one of the world’s most prestigious business honours for entrepreneurs, comes on the heels of Phillips being named 2017 Technology Champion at this year’s Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council awards.

    “We’ve been fortunate to win a few things, and I say we because this is a team thing, but this award in particular is recognized around the world and we are an international company so this is very helpful,” said Phillips. “I’m really honoured, to be honest. I mean, it was a large category as ‘technology’ is pretty broad … I’m delighted to be chosen.”

    Phillips, who has received congratulations from clients and colleagues in 12 countries since the announcement, said the win is a validation for the decisions Starfish has made over the past several years.

    “When I frame what we are doing, it’s usually in the context of the medical [industry]. But when you go through the exercise and apply for these awards, it forces you to think in pure business terms,” he said. “It gives me a good feeling to be recognized in more than just the tech expertise that we bring, but also in our business achievements.”

    Starfish, which designs and develops medical devices, has had plenty of the achievements.

    The 18-year-old, private company has reported 50 per cent growth in each of the past two years. In March, it announced the acquisition of Toronto medical-device designer Kangaroo Group to attract more business from the medical-technology hubs of the eastern U.S.

    That expansion helped the company grow to 130 employees, with 25 in its office in Toronto.

    “Financially, it’s a good story. We have tripled the company in the last four years and become the only national firm in our industry,” Philips said.

    The acquisition of Kangaroo has paid off for Phillips, as the firm landed two new clients in Michigan whom he believes they would have missed without an eastern presence.

    “We are making good headway there. … I’m confident we will see some interesting development in places like Boston, New Jersey and New York that we wouldn’t have otherwise,” he said.

    Growth seems inevitable as Starfish plans to add to its sales force.

    “Every year we say to ourselves: ‘Let’s put the brakes on a little.’ Then we grow 30 per cent,” Phillips said with a laugh. “Maybe this is the year we stabilize a bit, but in this business, you kind of respond to demand.”

    The EY Entrepreneur of the Year program runs in about 145 cities in about 60 countries.

    Rob McCurdy, chief executive of Pinnacle Renewable Energy, was named the overall EY Entrepreneur of the Year for the Pacific region.

    As the Pacific region’s winner, McCurdy will compete with other winners from the Prairies, Ontario, Atlantic and Quebec regions for the national honour as Canada’s EY Entrepreneur of the Year. That winner will take on the world.

  • Royal Roads University posted an article
    Celebrate the holidays at Hatley Castle see more

    Holiday party space for tech companies at Hatley Castle

    Royal Roads University has been used as a back drop for countless movie shoots, weddings and gatherings. This holiday season, consider hosting your holiday staff party, or join another company, and experience the famous Hatley Castle and celebrate in style.

    The venue is available Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays at a special rate of $1300+gst.  The catering options include stand-up cocktail style, or sit down plated and buffet menus ranging from $40 to $57 per person.

    If you're interested in hosting your holiday gathering at Hatley Castle, contact the Event Coordinator at 250-391-2666 to book your party, and leave the planning to them!

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    The one-day event on Oct. 24 will be a step toward improved collaboration within the industry. see more

    Source: Times Colonist
    Author: Andrew Duffy

    Camosun, advanced manufacturing sector gear up for Innovate 2017

    Camosun College will be ground zero for the advanced manufacturing sector this month, as the industry comes together with its constituent stakeholders for Innovate 2017.

    Designed to highlight the issues the industry faces and discuss possible solutions, the one-day event on Oct. 24 will be a step toward improved collaboration within the industry and with training and education partners.

    “They want to gather and meet, organize and talk about the issues they have — and figure out how to solve them,” said organizer John Juricic, owner of Harbour Digital Media. “Getting people to talk about them is key. This showcase, the one-day symposium, is the first attempt at gathering people to start to talk about these issues,” said Juricic, who has been studying and consulting with the manufacturing sector on the Island for years.

    At the top of the agenda is discussing how to better integrate innovation into the workforce and into company operations, and seeing what impact that could have on the labour force.

    “We want a dynamic conversation about this, about growing the industry and increasing employment,” Juricic said.

    The showcase has booked four keynote speakers: Bill Collins of Quester Tangent, Dave Curtis of Viking Air, Tim Walzack from Camosun and Doug Pauze of Coastland Wood Industries. They will talk about the issues manufacturers face and how they’re being dealt with.

    There will be a panel discussion and back-and-forth to allow for an exchange of ideas on best practices and solutions.

    Curtis, Viking’s chief executive, said the forum to share ideas is essential for the industry, as each Island company faces a series of shared challenges. They include connectivity with the outside world, cost of living, labour shortages and transportation costs to get products on and off the Island.

    “As a group, whether it’s the [manufacturing associations or industry organizations], training, attracting and retaining a skilled workforce is top of mind,” Curtis said, noting his company is always looking for ways to shorten the training cycle and to attract new people.

    Curtis said that’s what his keynote will focus on, as well as telling Viking’s story and the impact various global factors have had on its production.

    The company, which manufactures Twin Otter aircraft, is in the midst of growing pains.

    It is both dealing with a production pause — it laid off more than 200 employees in the spring and is only now starting to hire people back — while it continues to explore the possibility of expanding its production to include the CL-415 water bomber, which until 2015 was manufactured by Bombardier.

    The addition of the water bomber to Viking’s production line could mean 900 new jobs. Curtis said they are working on the business plan and expect to approach Viking’s board for a “green light” early in the new year.

    Juricic said that alongside manufacturers, the showcase will attract economic development groups, human resources professionals, consultants and education institutions.

    So far, 80 people have registered for the event. There are tickets available for 120.

    The conference will be live-streamed for those unable to make it to Victoria. More information is available at: mfgcln.com/conference-agenda/.

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    Experience Tectoria has a record amount of Investors coming to learn about our entrepreneurs see more

    INTERNATIONAL INVESTORS TAKE IN “TECTORIA” SEPT 13-16, 2017

    VIATEC’s annual event, Experience Tectoria, has a record amount of Investors coming to learn about the people and ingredients that make technology our #1 industry.

    Victoria, BC (September 12, 2017) - Experience Tectoria, a gathering of the local tech community with international investors, kicks off its fifth year this Wednesday evening with a film screening of “She Started It” at Fort Tectoria.

    The investor summit brings technology executives from across North America (and even Norway) to Victoria, where they will meet with local technology-leaders, tour Canada’s Smartest City, and join local Tectorians for discussions, demonstrations, networking and incredible entertainment. There are 45 participating investors this year, proving growing interest in Victoria’s tech industry.

    VIATEC chooses this time of year for Experience Tectoria in order to take full advantage of the coinciding Rifflandia Music Festival which transforms the city and highlights its innovative self. This year, Experience Tectoria will feature public events in addition to private events to give Investors more one-on-one time with local companies.

    Local media are encouraged to attend the following events to get coverage:

    • “She Started It” Film Screening (Trailer & public tickets here)
      When: September 13th, 6:30pm-8:30pm
      Where: Fort Tectoria (777 Fort St.)
      What: She Started It follows five young women over two years as they pitch VCs, build teams, bring products to market, fail and start again. The film takes viewers on a global roller coaster ride from San Francisco to Vietnam.
      Sponsored by: Discovery Foundation, Purpose Five, iWIST and Stream of Consciousness

    • A Coaching Approach to Leadership (Sold out to public)
      When: September 14th, 8am-4pm (Doors at 7:30am)
      Where: Fort Common (804 Broughton St.)
      What: An intensive day-long introduction to the experience of being coached as a leader, coaching others and creating a culture where individuals support and challenge each other to tackle what is in front of them.
      Presented by: Roy Group

    • F*ckUp Night VOL.6 (Sold out to public)
      When: September 14th, 5:30pm-7:30pm (Presentation at 6pm)
      Where: Victoria Event Centre (1415 Broad St.)
      What: F*ckUp Nights is a global movement where stories of failed businesses and projects are told, questioned and celebrated. It started in 2012 in Mexico City and we've brought it to Victoria. 3 "f*ckuppers" will have 6 minutes each to tell their story.
      Speakers: Andrew McLeod, Chris Turchansky, Mike Wilson
      Sponsored by: Roy Group

    • Origin Stories (Registration closed)
      When: September 15th, 8am-9am (Doors at 7:30am)
      Where: Fort Common (804 Broughton St.)
      What: A series of 5 minute Origin Stories from local entrepreneurs.
      Speakers: Alacrity Foundation, "The Neverblue effect", Paretologic, RaceRocks 3D, Stocksy United, Workday (previously Mediacore).

    • Hut Strut (Private event - media welcome)
      When: September 15th, 9am-11:45am
      Starting from: Fort Common (804 Broughton St.)
      What: Dig deeper into some of Victoria’s tech companies by visiting their home bases on foot and seeing what innovations they’re working on.
      Note: As this is a walking tour, you must meet the group at Fort Common and follow them to 4 locations downtown.

    Media: please confirm your attendance through the media contact below.

    “We launched Experience Tectoria back in 2012 as a way to attract out of town investors, partners and opinion shapers so they can experience first hand the vibrancy of our local tech scene and better appreciate our thriving community,” explains Dan Gunn, CEO of VIATEC. “It has led to direct investments in local firms, the discovery of new partners and lending a hand in transforming what key influencers think of our region.”

    “This is a banner year with more investor interest than ever before and we developed a program that will expose them to 42 local companies and hosts via bus tours, origin story presentations, walking office tours and other talks,” continues Gunn. “Showing them this much activity in combination with dedicated local tech leaders as hosts and Rifflandia as our back drop always leaves an impression and we look forward to opening more doors for our members and our community.”

    Visit www.experiencetectoria.ca for more information.


    MEDIA CONTACT:

    Dan Gunn
    CEO, VIATEC
    dgunn@viatec.ca
    250-882-2820


    Thank you to our Sponsors: Roy Group and RBC Commercial Financial Services.

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    He accepted the award in front of 813 rowdy, lei-wearing, Tiki-cocktail drinking tech workers. see more

    Source:  Times Colonist
    Author: Andrew Duffy

    Technology sector honours local champion

    Amid the annual pandemonium that is the Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council’s award show — flying inflatable whales, palm trees, music, Polynesian dancers and a touch of time travel — Dan Gunn asked a good question.

    Why did VIATEC wait so long to name Scott Phillips as its technology champion?

    “He’s exactly what the Colin Lennox Award for Technology Champion is all about,” said the VIATEC chief executive.

    Phillips has worked over the last 18 years building Starfish Medical into a world leader in medical device manufacturing while helping to grow the Victoria tech sector by volunteering his time and sharing his expertise with start-up companies and his peers.

    On Friday night, he accepted the champion award in front of 813 rowdy, lei-wearing, Tiki-cocktail drinking tech workers.

    “I’m grateful. I really am to be seen as a founder and that what I do in the tech community is valued,” said Phillips in an interview. “I have caught this community-building disease from somewhere, and have been quietly working in the background to connect people and to support organizations like VIATEC.”

    At the same time, Phillips’ company has grown significantly.

    In March, Starfish announced it had acquired Toronto medical-device designer Kangaroo Group in order to attract more business from the medical-technology hubs of the eastern U.S. The acquisition took Starfish to 130 employees.

    Phillips, who joked Starfish is an 18-year-old overnight success story, said the projects they work on take several years to come to market, and even then it takes years to develop a good reputation and trust level with clients.

    “We are starting to see that now,” he said.

    On Friday, it was about the then-and-now as VIATEC’s annual awards show married steam-punk time travel with South Pacific flare for something it called Tiki Time Travel. With a massive coconut as part of a set and a Tiki time-machine car, the event provided irreverence and noise while celebrating the tech sector.

    “This is a great way for us to hold up examples of some of our leading companies so people can recognize them, which I think is important because it’s motivating for other companies to see what’s possible and motivating for teams that there is some level of recognition,” said Gunn.

    “It’s also come to represent the tech sector as it’s a somewhat edgy, largely irreverent event. We work hard on the entertainment and wow component.”

    This year that included Polynesian dancers, Atomic Vaudeville’s cast performing the Time Warp from the Rocky Horror Picture Show, an immersive video experience and time travel taking the entire room through the decades.

    - - -

    VIATEC award winners

    • Company of the Year

    50+ employees: Checkfront

    • Company of the Year

    (11-49 employees): SendtoNews

    • Company of the Year

    (1-10 employees): Momentum Dashboard

    • Emerging Company of the Year

    Telmediq

    • Startup of the Year

    HYAS Infosec

    • Product of the Year

    VRX Simulators

    • Innovative Excellence Software

    TrichAnalytics

    • Innovative Excellence Hardware

    Redlen Technologies

    • Team of the Year

    Udutu

    • Employer of the Year

    Go2mobi

    • Leader of the Year

    Kim Krenzler, RevenueWire

    • Emerging Leader of the Year

    Hunter Macdonald, Tutela Technologies

    • Newcomer of the Year

    Scott Lake

    • Capital Investment Network's Angel of the Year

    Rasool Rayani

    • VIATEC Member of the Year

    RevenueWire

    • Community Champion

    ParetoLogic

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    Winners to be announced at the elaborate celebration on June 2, 2017 see more

    Nominations open for the 16th Annual VIATEC Technology Awards

    Winners to be announced at the elaborate celebration on June 2, 2017

     

    VICTORIA, BC (March 10, 2017) – Nominations are now open for one of the largest and most elaborate technology sector award shows in the country, to be held at the Victoria Conference Centre on Friday, June 2, 2017. (Nomination form here and tickets available here).

    Last year’s VIATEC Technology Awards Show brought out an impressive 850 attendees, the highest attendance it’s seen since it started in 2002. This year’s event is expected to sell out again. The extravagant show has rapidly become known as a unique event focused on entertaining the crowd with humor and irreverence, while shining the spotlight on some of Victoria’s most impressive technology companies.

    “Whether it’s Bloomberg Media, The Toronto Star or Vogue Magazine, the world has realized that Victoria is young, culturally vibrant and a cool city. With tech being the #1 industry in a region that has so much going for it, you better believe we pull out all the stops to make sure this event reflects the innovative minds and community spirits that have reshaped our community to be known as a hotbed of vibrant companies and exciting ideas,” says Dan Gunn, CEO of VIATEC (Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology & Entrepreneurship Council). “It's a unique way for local tech firms to get increased profile with local media, policymakers and their peers which always helps when looking to hire new staff, find new customers or raise investment.”

    In total, 15 awards that come in the form of custom metal fabricated robots known as “Freddies”, are being presented at the awards show, 11 of which are currently open for nominations:

    • Technology Company of the Year (50+ employees)

    • Technology Company of the Year (11-49 employees)

    • Technology Company of the Year (1-10 employees)

    • Emerging Technology Company of the Year

    • Startup of the Year

    • Product of the Year

    • Innovative Excellence

    • Leader of the Year

    • Emerging Leader of the Year (New)

    • Employee/Team of the Year

    • Employer of the Year

    • VIATEC Member of the Year

    • Colin Lennox Award for Technology Champion

    • Newcomer of the Year (New)

    • Community Contributor (New)


    Click here to nominate a company or individual for up to three categories (It’s free to do so). You can nominate any technology business headquartered in the Greater Victoria area (Nominees must be a member in good standing of VIATEC). This year's nomination deadline is 4pm on Monday, March 27th.


    Bonus Material:
    To view last year's winners click here.
    To get a glimpse into what the event is like, watch this video.

    Media Contact:
    Dan Gunn
    CEO
    dgunn@viatec.ca
    250-882-2820

    Sponsorship Contact:
    Tessa Bousfield
    Marketing & Events Director
    tbousfield@viatec.ca

    About VIATEC:
    VIATEC (Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council), started in 1989. Our mission is to serve as the one-stop hub that connects people, knowledge and resources to grow and promote the Greater Victoria technology sector (Victoria's biggest industry).

    We work closely with our members to offer a variety of events, programs and services. In addition, VIATEC serves as the front door of the local tech sector and as its spokesperson. To better support local innovators, we recently acquired our own building (Fort Tectoria) where we offer flexible and affordable office space to emerging local companies along with a gathering/event space for local entrepreneurs. www.viatec.ca


    Award Category Descriptions:
     

    • Technology Company of the Year (1-10 employees, 11-49 and 50+)
      These companies are the foundation on which our $4 billion tech sector was built. They are established with a sizeable headcount and they are bringing in considerable revenues. They are growing, expanding and taking the time to give back to our community as mentors, advisors and cheerleaders for the up and coming tech companies. Judges will consider growth, impact, product innovation, market share and community involvement. This award has three categories based on company size.
       

    • Emerging Technology Company of the Year
      These are the companies that are about to really hit their stride. They're young, but they have a stable foundation. Judges will consider traction, revenue and team growth, product breadth and acceptance, and good old business fundamentals.
       

    • Startup of the Year
      These are some of Victoria’s newest tech companies. It’s early days but they are getting investor and customer interest (if not already raising money and sales), based on the prototypes and/or early product versions. Judges will consider the market opportunity, executive leadership, investment and your pitch deck.
       

    • Product of the Year
      This category is where the innovation rubber hits the road. These products have market traction and that means sales. Judges will consider total sales and sales growth, customer adoption, market share along with market disruption and level of innovation.
       

    • Innovative Excellence
      This category is for those companies on an entirely different wavelength. They have researched and designed an emerging, innovative service, process or product that is expected to revolutionize a sector, method of business or way of life. Judges will consider just how disruptive this tech is likely to be. Prior commercial success is not a priority.
       

    • Leader of the Year (previously “Executive of the Year”)
      These hot shots have had a significant impact on the success of an organization as a direct result of their leadership and are respected by their peers. For this award, executives are considered to be those that typically hold senior titles, eg. CEO, CFO, COO, President, Vice-President. Nominated companies are required to provide revenues from the last 3 years as well as other indicators requested by judges (eg. number of employees).
       

    • Emerging Leader of the Year (New)
      These are the up and coming executives that have started to breakthrough as valuable leaders to a local tech firm. They're young or at least new to leadership, but they have demonstrated dedication, passion and an ability to inspire others. Judges will consider role, impact and related career highlights e.g. glowing anecdotes from their colleagues.
       

    • Employee/Team of the Year
      Much of a company's success is a result of having hardworking and dedicated employees. This employee or team have the perfect mix of outstanding initiative and service delivery, have had a significant impact on the company for which they work and exude great personality or team dynamic while getting it all done.
       

    • Employer of the Year
      These are the companies who never forget to pause and take the time to think about their staff and provide a positive work environment. This award is based on a company survey of staff and is the tech company most respected and appreciated by their staff.
       

    • Colin Lennox Award for Technology Champion
      Recognizes an individual who has demonstrated passion and commitment to the Greater Victoria technology sector for at least 10 years. Their long-standing support has been instrumental in Greater Victoria ‘s continued success on the world technology stage. This award is appointed (no nominations or finalists).
       

    • VIATEC Member of the Year
      Recognizes a member of VIATEC who has demonstrated outstanding commitment to the technology sector through involvement, volunteering and support of VIATEC. This award is appointed (no nominations or finalists).
       

    • Community Involvement Award (New)
      This category is for a tech company making an effort to improve our community and being successful at it on a regular basis. Efforts can include (and are not limited to): supporting charities with monetary funds or non-perishable donations, putting on fundraising events, volunteer work or creating a foundation/scholarship. This award is appointed (no nominations or finalists).

    • Newcomer of the Year (New)
      An individual new to Victoria that is making a big impact by joining and supporting the local tech scene. This award is appointed (no nominations or finalists).

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    Over 100 young people ages 14-18 years old will be competing on Sunday, February 19, 2017 from 9-5 see more

    FIRST® Students Compete in BC Championship

    Victoria, BC – Feb. 14, 2017- Very few athletes will ever compete in a Super Bowl but what sport can every student in British Columbia go Pro in? The sport of science, technology, engineering and math. Over 100 young people ages 14-18 years old will be competing on Sunday, February 19, 2017 from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. in the FIRST Tech Challenge Championship at the University of Victoria, 3800 Finnerty Rd, Victoria, BC V8P 5C2. Twelve FIRST Tech Challenge teams from British Columbia, Alberta, Washington State, and Romania will play in this season's “Velocity Vortex” game.

    These students will be exercising their mind, working as teams, problem solving (all workforce skills) as their primary resource to find their spark for competition today with a possible career pathway for tomorrow. “These kids have gotten involved with a FIRST team for different reasons. Maybe it was to socialize or maybe it was because they already had an interest in STEM. Whatever the reason in addition to the robot building and programming skills, they are learning workforce development skills such as troubleshooting; collaboration; communication skills to help each of them go Pro”, Christine Nicholls, FIRST Tech Challenge Affiliate Partner for British Columbia.

    Starting in September, teams have designed, built and programmed a robot to complete in game challenges like shooting particles into a vortex. One team will earn a spot at the FIRST Tech Challenge World Championships in Houston, TX from April 19-22, 2017.

    Opening ceremonies will be at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday. The best time to watch robot games is between 1:30-4:00 p.m. in ELW, Faculty of Engineering building at the University of Victoria. Admission is free and the public are welcome. For more information contact Christine Nicholls at christine.ftc.bc@gmail.com or 778-587-7554.

    About FIRST
    FIRST in a nonprofit organization that ignites youthful minds through education, hard work, mentorship and healthy competition. Students in FIRST, from kindergarten through high school, participate in exciting, Mentor-based, research and robotics programs that help them become science and technology leaders, as well as well-rounded contributors to society. More information about FIRST is available at: http://www.firstinspires.org/ or http://firstroboticsbc.org/

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    Vivitro and StarFish Medical salute their employees’ community efforts during the season of giving! see more

    Source: Vivitrolabs.com

    Vivitro Employees Embrace the Community Spirit of the Season

    VICTORIA, British Columbia, November 30, 2016 – ViVitro Labs, a global leader in cardiovascular device testing, and StarFish Medical, Canada’s largest medical device design, development, and contract manufacturing company, salute their employees’ community efforts during the season of giving.  This November and December employees are raising awareness and funds for BC Children’s Hospital and Mustard Seed Food Bank.  ViVitro and StarFish match employee donations and cover all sponsorship fees to encourage participation.

    Victoria Festival of Trees 
    Each year ViVitro Labs and StarFish Medical sponsor a tree in the Festival of Trees fundraising campaign for BC Children’s Hospital. The festival knits together the incredibly generous community of Victoria in what has become, over the last two decades, a cherished holiday tradition and the unofficial kick-off to the holiday season in the city.

    This year the ViVitro Labs/StarFish Medical tree’s theme is: “We look deeper to help make holidays healthy for everyone!”  The tree features an LED X-ray branch outline and ornaments that include hand crafted “x-ray” images for traditional holiday gifts.  A custom booklet shares the significance of both companies’ work and the tree’s design. Judges awarded the concept and execution top marks in all categories at the November 16 Opening Gala.

    The tree is on display through January 3, 2017 at the Empress Hotel. 85 beautiful trees were decorated, and over 550 guests attended the Kick-Off Celebration and $106,400 was raised through tree registrations.

    Fundraising continues online via the Festival of Trees Online Voting System.  Fundraising tool for online vote collection. Visitors can make a donation and vote for the ViVitro Labs/StarFish Medical tree on the Victoria Festival of Trees StarFish Medical Webpage

    2016 VIATEC Food Bank Challenge for Mustard Seed 
    Hayley Young manages ViVitro Labs and StarFish Medical participation in the 2016 VIATEC Food Bank Challenge for Mustard Seed.  Organized by VIATEC (Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council), this annual food bank drive challenges companies in Victoria to compete in an effort to raise as much food and donations as possible for the Mustard Seed Food Bank.

    ViVitro Labs and StarFish Medical fundraising events include a Chilli/Curry cook-off, 50/50 raffle, and Social Committee lunch. The 2016 Chilli/Curry cook off fundraiser was held November 17, and raised $590.00.  1st prize went to Debbie Gould, 2nd prize went to Savannah Hari, and 3rd prize went to Michael May.  The 50/50 stubs raised $535.

    The Mustard Seed provides support to 7000 people each month. Since its inception in 2002, $1,981,296.84 worth of food and cash has been donated to the Mustard Seed through companies participating in the VIATEC Food Bank Challenge. The 2016 challenge runs from November 7th to December 2nd. Donations are accepted online.

     

    About ViVitro Labs
    ViVitro Labs Inc. offers industry-leading cardiovascular test equipment and related laboratory testing and consulting services. Hundreds of organizations in over 40 countries for over 30 years have trusted ViVitro expertise, accuracy, and quality for their heart valve, LVAD, TAH, stent, and graft testing. ViVitro Laboratory Services holds ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation based on ISO 5840. ViVitro products are manufactured by StarFish Medical. ViVitro’s A2LA Scope of Accreditation includes the physical and mechanical testing of heart valve substitutes. www.vivitrolabs.com

    For more information please contact:
    Mike Camplin
    mcamplin@vivitrolabs.com
    250.388.3531 x210

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    Sidney’s AXYS Technologies, which won the marine industry award, works on finding solutions for.... see more

    EcoStar acknowledges Island’s greenest businesses

    Source:  Times Colonist
    Author: Andrew Duffy

    The Island’s top green and environmentally friendly businesses were honoured Nov. 10 at the 2016 EcoStar Awards at the Laurel Point Inn.

    A full house of 135 got a glimpse into the steps Island businesses are taking to improve their environmental performance and reduce their carbon footprint.

    “The biggest part of the night and what really stands out about the event is it brings out those stories of local businesses who are working to make a difference within their own businesses and we get to learn a lot about what the winners have done to make changes and what impact that has,” said Jill Doucette, chief executive of Synergy Enterprises, whose non-profit arm — the Synergy Sustainability Institute — organizes the awards.

    There were 17 winners. Doucette said Victoria’s Finest at Sea Seafood stood out as an example of what many companies discover when they turn their hand to improving environmental performance.

    “That company found that by tackling these sustainability issues there was some real cost-saving advantages too,” she said. “FAS took the microscope to its operation and found lots of little tweaks within the operation that made a huge impact — by the end of the day they cut more than half of their water use. “So it’s good for the planet and good for their bottom line. Those kinds of stories are really exciting.”

    Duncan’s Blue Roots Farm, started by Daniel Adelman and Courtney Edwards in 2015, was named eco-entrepreneur of the year for its farming methods.

    Part of the running of the farm is raising steelhead trout and circulating nutrient rich water over plant roots. The roots take in the nutrients and grow greens and herbs in vertical towers.

    The closed-loop ecosystem uses 98 per cent less water than traditional agriculture and more productive .

    Sidney’s AXYS Technologies, which won the marine industry award, works on finding solutions for renewable energy projects and in so doing plays a role in making clean energy accessible and affordable for more people.

    The company has taken steps to further reduce its own environmental impact, by installing motion-sensing lights in all bathrooms, making all company events zero-waste and serving local food only, improving recycling sorting stations and removing individual trash cans from employees' desks to encourage waste diversion.

    Doucette said most of the companies that won awards don’t take on environmental projects with the idea of luring new customers, but it can happen. “They do find the consumer is changing and is really receptive to learning more about what businesses are doing behind the scenes to be more responsible,” she said.

    2016 Eco Star Award Winners

    • Greenest Office: Monk Office
    • Greenest Retail Store: Inspire Hair Design
    • Small Restaurant 1-25 Employees: Habit Coffee
    • Large Restaurant 25+ Employees: Big Wheel Burger, Gateway Village
    • Manufacturing Excellence: Studio Robazzo
    • The Eco-Preneur of the Year: Blue Roots Farm
    • Technology Excellence: Carmanah Technologies
    • Experiential Tourism: Eagle Wing Tours
    • Lodging & Accomodations: Parkside Hotel
    • Leadership In Construction: Bernhardt Contracting
    • Water Conservation & Stewardship: Finest at Sea Seafood Producers
    • Marine Industry: AXYS Technologies
    • Food Security: Haliburton Farm
    • Climate Action: Orca Spirit Adventures
    • Social Impact: Pacific Rim College
    • Waste Management: Big Wheel Burger
    • Community Environmental Leadership: Inn at Laurel Point
  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    Two gamers are taking up the Extra Life challenge to play games for 24-hours straight. see more

    24-Hour Video Game Marathon for Charity in Downtown Victoria, B.C.

    Event to be hosted at VIATEC’s Fort Tectoria venue this coming weekend, November 5th and 6th

    Victoria, BC (November 1, 2016) - Two gamers are taking up the Extra Life challenge to play games for 24-hours straight. Victoria-based Enigmatic Events, specialists in live game experiences, will be hosting the marathon at VIATEC’s Fort Tectoria, to raise funding for the Children’s Miracle Network a network of 170 children's hospitals, 14 of which are in Canada.

    The challenge will require local volunteers, Delek Turner and Chris Smith, to endure a total of 24 hours of games without a break. Their target is to raise $1,000. Delek will play Doom, dying repeatedly until he cracks it. Chris Smith will be going head-to- head against his friends (and enemies) in a series of casual multiplayer games, covering 24 different games in 24 hours.

    The video game marathon will run concurrently with the Day of Board Gamers event, a bi-annual event that invites local board game and tabletop game enthusiasts to play their favourite games and meet fellow fans.

    • The challenge runs from 5pm on Saturday, November 5 th until 5pm on Sunday.
    • Day of Boardgamers will start in the same space from 11am on November 6th
    • The event is sponsored and supported by local video game studio, Codename Entertainment.

    Members of the public who would like to donate to the cause and learn more should visit their Extra Life pages:

    • Delek Turner : http://bit.ly/2egk53r
    • Chris Smith : http://bit.ly/2f2MdIL

    For more information contact Chris Rudram on chris@enigmaticevents.com.

    About Enigmatic Events:

    Enigmatic Events provides mysteries, puzzles and games for both entertainment and personal development. A wise man once told us that a day is never wasted if you did three things in it: improved yourself a little bit, improved the world a little bit and found some joy. Enigmatic Events uses this philosophy behind the ideas and events it develops and runs.

    About the Children's Miracle Network

    Children's Miracle Network® raises funds for 170 children's hospitals, 14 of which are in Canada. These hospitals, in turn, use the money where it's needed the most. When a donation is given, it stays in the community, ensuring that every dollar is helping local kids. Established in 1983, Children's Miracle Network raises funds to support critical research, education, purchase life-saving equipment, and ensure excellence in care, all in support of our mission to save and improve the lives of as many children as possible. Learn more at ChildrensMiracleNetwork.ca.

    About Day of Boardgamers

    Running since 2012, ‘day of boardgamers’ is a laid back board game convention, getting people to play new games with old friends; or old games with new friends. The event has always showcased new designs by local designers in the last two years as well, showcasing a small, but active tabletop game development community in Victoria. Learn more: http://bit.ly/DayofBoardGamersX

    About Codename Entertainment

    Codename Entertainment was founded in 2008 in Victoria, B.C. by David Whittaker and Justin Stocks. They started making games for Facebook and evolved into making games for platforms like Kongregate.com, ArmorGames, and Steam. In 2015, the company launched Crusaders of the Lost Idols. Codename Entertainment and Crusaders of the Lost Idols are trademarks of Codename Entertainment Inc. All other products named herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies.

    www.enigmaticevents.com

    Play Better. Work Better.

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    SkookumScript is the revolutionary programming language and tool suite that turbocharges video games see more

    Seven tech start-ups to show their stuff at Economic Summit Showcase

    Innovation Island in partnership with the BC Innovation Council and the Island Coastal Economic Trust is presenting a 2-hour showcase featuring 7 Island-based tech start-up companies - 8:30-10:30am, Wednesday, October 26 in advance of the official opening of the 10th annual Economic Summit in Nanaimo. 

    Cloudhead Games - an award winning company crafting compelling transportive virtual reality experiences for gaming and tech enthusiasts is creating the first­ ever, built for VR fantasy exploration game franchise, The Gallery.

    For landlords who want quality tenants, Honest Renter provides two key tenant screening services. First, get credit reports at a fraction of the price of anywhere else in Canada. Second, use an online personality test to cover all the things that cost a landlord money, time, headaches.

    SkookumScript is the revolutionary programming language and tool suite that turbocharges video game development. Simple, powerful and easy to learn, SkookumScript allows the live creation of compelling and sophisticated gameplay with just a few lines of code. SkookumScript transforms team composition, workflow, and the very thought process of game development. SkookumScript is the scripting solution for every genre of game, on every platform, everywhere.

    In 2012 Lawrence Lewis (of the We Wai Kai Nation) launched a mobile technologies start-up: OneFeather. OneFeather is already shifting the way First Nation communities engage, collaborate, and make important decisions governing their Nation futures using the modern and ubiquitous mobile smart phone, including for the first time in Canada mobile voting for elections and referendums.

    Since 1993, Resonance Software has been delivering innovative workforce management solutions to some of the world's largest manufacturing companies.WorkSight software manages the convergence of functions within human resources, operations, finance and information technology. WorkSight modules include timekeeping, employee scheduling and leave management. The considerable practice variation between companies and facilities demands specialization to deliver solutions that are effective and practical.

    For data-driven businesses that want to extend their monitoring capability to mobile devices, SasInform is an integrated mobile client and hosted server solution that provides a secure, low-maintenance way to acquire, aggregate, and display key IoT and OPC data. Unlike other data aggregators,* SasInform is ready to deploy with no coding required and includes mobile applications that send alarm notifications to iOS and Android devices.

    For businesses who need to coordinate access to online accounts and passwords across staff and contractors, Kitestrings is a password manager for teams. Unlike single user password managers with clunky sharing features, Kitestrings is built from the ground up to securely help business owners, IT and HR departments, and office managers keep control of their sensitive password information.

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    There’s a ton to dive into here. A past that will tell a thousand stories, and during all of my... see more

    Source: Betakit.com
    Author: Wyatt Fossett

    It’s early afternoon, and many entrepreneurs and tech enthusiasts are moderately rested and ready for a long night of great music and amazing people at the Rifflandia Music Festival in Victoria, BC — the culmination of three long days of demos, pitches, and pub nights at Experience Tectoria. But first, the entrepreneurs are gathering for an event to conclude the entirety of the experience: a roundtable discussion about Victoria’s vibrant tech sector.

    Experience Tectoria serves to explore and highlight some of Victoria’s brightest and most promising tech startups. VIATEC—an accelerator program—is the product of an amazingly underrated technology scene that lives on Vancouver Island. The Experience event provides an opportunity for investors and media to congregate around a demo night, funding pitches, loads of food, and plenty of mingling.

    Overall, the event is about selling the Victoria lifestyle to a group of talented people that the city would benefit from.

    When you walk through the streets of downtown Victoria, on a blustery day—one that started with a thick fog, and a curtain of rain —there’s a strong presence of history, and the quieter streets, in an otherwise bustling tourist town, feel welcoming. Victoria, the capital of British Columbia, dates back to 1862, and today (mostly due to vertical building regulations, and being surrounded by water) has a small population of roughly 80,000.

    There’s a ton to dive into here. A past that will tell a thousand stories, and during all of my wandering, I was listening. Before the arrival of the Europeans in the 1700s, Vancouver Island was a thriving community of Coast Saalish People. Fort Victoria played a major role in the Great War, and the city has always been one of the first lines of defence for the Canadian Navy. But it’s now a peaceful and highly artistic city.

    On the corner of Pandora and Wharf is the Swan’s Hotel, right near the bridge to the West Bank of Victoria. She’s old, and classic. Gathering in the penthouse suite—a three story dream with a full rooftop deck currently owned by the University of Victoria—are the who’s who of the tech world and their counterparts in investment.

    Sean Silcoff from the Globe and Mail led the roundtable discussion that probed both visitors and locals alike about what makes Victoria a great place to be, an ideal city to start, or a top-tier location to move to.

    Two consistent themes cropped up in a constant show of pride by Victorians, which perked up those in the room looking to invest in the companies there.

    What makes Victoria so successful?

    Living in the shadows

    People often don’t realize that Victoria is the capital of British Columbia, and not the little sister of Vancouver as its perceived. One of the things that has helped Victoria grow, succeed, and make exits with their companies is this shadow. According to the Victoria Angel Micro VC Fund Analysis, exits in the past five years total $217 million, including companies like MediacoreGo2mobiEDOC, and Procura

    A list arose during the discussion. One that included names like Santa Cruz, California; Boulder, Colorado; Austin, Texas; and even Canadian destinations like Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario. There is one thing that all of these blossoming cities have in common: above everything else, they live in the shadow of a more “popular” town. And maybe it’s this sense of being ignored that make it a more fruitful atmosphere.

    In a “sister-town”, rent is cheaper, most of them have large postsecondary schools, and the general population of the world isn’t paying any attention in their direction. As creators, it’s far easier to attempt the unpredictable when people aren’t looking at your activities through a microscope.

    A step ahead in gender equality

    The report also stated that the wage gap between men and women was at 18 percent, meaning that women earn just 82 percent of what men do in identical roles.

    According to an internal compensation study from Viatec however, Victoria boasts a rapidly rising percentage of around 30 percent female representation in technology roles (this study is only available for purchase through VIATEC). Impressively still, more than half of startup management or senior roles are held by women, in what can only be described as those in the room “as the way it should be” — though the room, which was mostly filled with men, didn’t reflect the diversity that they were eager to brag about.

    Taking a look back at the history of the Tech Awards in Victoria, four of the past five winners in the Executive of the Year category were women, and five out of the past six companies that won the pinnacle Company of the Year award have female CEOs.

    On top of progression made in diversity, the wage gap is also monumentally only at three percent. Victoria has an immense stash of talent, and those in hiring roles seem to have the right mindset when it comes to hiring the best available candidate without bias.

    But inside the room was a ten-to-one margin of men, and a twenty-to-one margin of people of colour. Victoria is ahead of the curve when it comes to diversity, but after these conversations and pats on the shoulder in celebration, it’s ironic that I was in a position to ask the coordinators of the event how they think they can make rooms like this more diverse.

    Youth in revolt

    There’s a tendency to view millennials as a nuisance, or the death of an established balance within business. But this isn’t something that is bred in Victoria’s culture. As old as the city may be, great schools like the University of Victoria provide strong and hungry youth. That’s exactly who’s responsible for shaking up a lot of this rusted system. And it shows in Victoria when startups likeBlastworks, Codename Entertainment, Flytographer, and Tellwell Talent are standing at an impressively young age pitching for investments, or winning big awards like the VIATEC Technology Awards.

    Victoria’s future

    Seats needs butts

    “How do you get more people to come to Victoria, invest in Victoria, or stay in Victoria?” asked Silcoff.

    The consensus was that people just have to come. Once. It’s hard to be put-off by a city that shows so much life, and art, and beauty. Just getting them to put their boots on the cobblestone streets of the second-highest rated creative city in Canada, according to Martin Prosperity Institute director Richard Florida.

    In tandem with the beauty of British Columbia is the consistent government support. With a recently announced $100 million dollar venture capital fund, and near industry leading tax credits, there are financial benefits to living and working out of stunning BC.

    A shrinking wage gap

    The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives published a report stating that Victoria, BC is the best place in Canada to work as a woman. Citing comparisons of income and unemployment, relative to the male population, Victoria scored first overall, and took the top rank in Economic Security, and Leadership.

    Victoria’s wage gap between men and women was the smallest of the 25 major cities in the study that included Vancouver, Ottawa, Montreal, and Calgary, at just three percent. Among promising statistics in employment is the fact that Victoria was the only city in the study where women outnumbered men as elected officials, including holding five of nine seats on city council.

    Given the fantastic statistics that support a strong atmosphere for women, there’s no doubt they can draw in more as the years go by.

    Big names and golden tenants

    A few people brought up the idea that most places known for their technology industry have one thing that put them on the map: a household name. As of right now, the downfall to the young entrepreneurs in Victoria is a lack of staying power. More than the majority of exits by these small, young tech startups have happened well before they needed to, and many times the culprit is wanting to move on and do something else.

    Victoria needs a Google, Salesforce, Slack, or Shopify. A name and a logo in the skyline that instills a solid foundation of business. A company that puts Victoria on the map permanently. One flagship resident can work wonders for the popularity and relevance of your town.

    Once that happens, it will no longer be a city that needs to convince you to show up, but rather a place that is begged to accept more tenants.

    Victoria is a place I can confidently say is one of the most underrated tech cities in Canada (maybe even North America) and will soon be a go-to technology destination. Every burgeoning metropolis is seeking growth, and the good ones never slow down. So while Victoria has a lot of work to do, they’re in an amazing spot. By improving on their successes and solving their shortcomings, Victoria might just take over Canada’s tech community.