The annual three-day summit brings together international venture capitalists and established techno see more
Source: Times Colonist
Author: Andrew Duffy
Venture capitalists get closeup look at work of Greater Victoria tech firms
Greater Victoria’s high-tech industry will be throwing open its doors to a record number of international visitors this week as the Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council kicks off Experience Tectoria Wednesday night.
The annual three-day summit brings together international venture capitalists and established technology firms to see first-hand what has shaped and supported the sector, which the industry group said generates $4 billion annually in combined revenues.
“We started this in 2012 and the whole idea was to make sure really important people around the world got a look and understanding of what we’re doing in the city,” said Dan Gunn, chief executive of VIATEC.
This year, they are bringing 46 visitors to the city to tour through established and start-up firms.
“It’s a record number and rather than have them locked in a room and facing pitches [from new companies] we wanted to give them a complete sense of the vibrancy and opportunity here,” Gunn said.
The event is designed to focus on the more established and successful firms in Victoria and to make sure local tech leadership feels the full benefit of the summit.
It include tours of local tech firms with hosts who have grown companies in the city. Greater Victoria tech leaders will have a chance to take part in an executive training seminar designed to give them the tools they will need to expand their companies.
Gunn said that seminar is part of preparing companies for the push to grow the sector to its goal of having its constituent firms more than double their existing combined revenue to $10 billion by 2030.
Greater Victoria’s tech sector has about 880 businesses and employs more than 15,000 directly. It also counts another 3,000 consultants and 5,000 others who work in tech jobs within larger firms and government. VIATEC’s membership has more than doubled to 560 members over the last two years.
Gunn said as the sector has grown the message it sends during events such as Experience Tectoria has evolved.
“We used to talk a lot about start-ups and investing in those, but what we realized is we haven’t been conveying the long history of success and impact of the local tech industry,” he said. “So this year we are focusing more of our time to introduce the [venture capitalists] to some of our more established and most successful companies.
“It will give them a sense of what’s possible and why it happened here and that way it’s easier for them to see how they might participate or how a small company might grow into something of consequence here.”
Also a part of this year’s summit are a screening of the film She Started It, which followed young women over two years as they tried to build new companies; a series of origin stories from local entrepreneurs; and a F**k-up Night, where people share stories of failed projects.
VIATEC runs Experience Tectoria at this time of year to use the Rifflandia Festival as a backdrop, and another example of the vibrancy of the city.
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.
Back on September 15th, six local entrepreneurs shared their "origin stories" with attendees see more
Owen Matthews shares his story at Experience Tectoria [Video]
Back on September 15th, six local entrepreneurs shared their "origin stories" with Experience Tectoria attendees in the beautiful Fort Commons courtyard. Below is the full talk from Owen Matthews of Alacrity Canada - it's a fantastic listen!
There’s a ton to dive into here. A past that will tell a thousand stories, and during all of my... see more
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 Mediacore, Go2mobi, EDOC, 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.
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.
Rifflandia attracts a large off island crowd, but it’s also attracting international investors... see more
Source: CHEK News
Reporter: Monica Martinez
WATCH: Rifflandia attracts a large off island crowd, but it’s also attracting a group of international investors who are here to listen to more than the music. Monica Martinez has the story.
The energy of Rifflandia is in the air this weekend, transforming parking lots and retail outlets to music venues and filling Victoria’s streets with hip festival goers.
The four day music festival attracts thousands of off island visitors, including a group of international investors who are here to listen to more than the music.
“I come for the tech and for the companies. The good party afterwards and the music is a big bonus, packaging it together is a very clever idea,” said venture capitalist Sashko Despotovski.
He came all the way from Norway to hear pitches from local tech companies.
“The tech hub in Victoria is evolving very fast. For a city of this size to have something of this mature is very impressive,” he said.
“Rifflandia is a great backdrop when you are bringing out of town guests, for them to see a dynamic and vibrant city and for us to have lots of things to entertain them with,” said VIATEC CEO Dan Gunn.
Experience Tectoria offers a number of tech events to the public, where people get a chance to learn about Victoria’s thriving tech community.
“It really reinforces why we have such a great tech industry here and I think over the years, we’ll see more and more people come to Victoria to invest,” said LlamaZoo CEO and Co-Founder Charles Lavigne.
There are also private Dragon Den style pitch events where companies like Agog Labs will try to secure funding.
“We are currently doing a $1.5-million round of investment and it seems to be going extremely well and a lot of that is local angel investment from Victoria,” said CEO and Co-Founder Conan Reis.
And when business is done, the Experience Tectoria fun continues with craft beer and days of live music.
Experience Tectoria 2016 was an investor summit that brought local entrepreneurs and visiting... see more
Experience Tectoria 2016 was an investor summit that brought local entrepreneurs and visiting investors together from Sept 15-17, while participating in some very unique events that showcased our local talent and everything else it has to offer! Below is a video created by Gradio Media, capturing the entire event.
VIATEC’s annual event, Experience Tectoria, has a record amount of Investors flying in to learn... see more
VIATEC’s annual event, Experience Tectoria, has a record amount of Investors flying in to learn about the people and ingredients that make technology our #1 industry.
Victoria, BC (September 12, 2016) - Experience Tectoria, a gathering of local entrepreneurs with international investors, kicks off its fourth year this Thursday morning. The investor summit brings technology executives from across North America 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. The number of participating investors has doubled this year, proving growing interest in Tectoria.
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 on September 15th, followed by private events on the 16th and 17th in order to give Investors more one-on-one time with local companies.
Local media are encouraged to attend the following events:
Launch & Learn (sponsored by RBC Commercial Financial Services)
When: September 15th, 12:30pm-1:45pm
Where: Fort Tectoria, Shaw Conference Room (777 Fort St)
What: Local VIATEC Member tech companies will have 10 minutes each to share their news with attendees and media!
Participating companies: Agog Labs (SkookumScript), Mighty Oaks, LlamaZOO Interactive, Beanstream, a Bambora Company, Econics, Robot Shark Gaming.
When: September 15th, 2pm-5pm
Where: Temple building, main floor (525 Fort St, side entrance)
What: Meet Tectoria’s brightest tech stars and see their products in action. Companies will be stationed throughout the room to show their existing solutions. Get up close and personal with different products and engage one-on-one with the entrepreneurs that work to make tech the #1 industry in Victoria.
Participating Companies: Agog Labs (SkookumScript), AXYS Technologies, WhoKnozMe, FunctionFox, Holografyx Canada, Robot Shark Gaming GenoLogics, an Illumina Company, LlamaZOO Interactive, Mighty OakS, FreshWorks Studio and more!
F*$kUpNight VOL. 3 (sponsored by Roy Group)
When: September 15th, 5pm-7pm
Where: Yuk Yuks Comedy Club (751 View 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're bringing it to Victoria. 3 "f*ckuppers" will have 6 minutes each to tell their story. What was the project? What went wrong? What did they learn? What would they do differently?
Speakers: Miles Nurse (Unbounce), Margo Long (Incite Marketing), Al Smith (TicTalking)
Please confirm your attendance through the media contact below. Please also connect with us if you are interested in covering any of the private events on the 16th or 17th or would like to chat with a few of the visiting guests.
“Experience Tectoria is an exciting taste of our city and tech as our #1 number one industry.” says Dan Gunn, CEO of VIATEC. “We need to drive home just how vibrant our community is and bringing the leaders and opinion-shapers of our industry to our doorstep is the best way to really open their eyes.”
Visit www.experiencetectoria.ca for more information.
Victoria’s technology industry has attracted a record number of investors to its annual fall event.. see more
Source: Times Colonist
Author: Andrew Duffy
Victoria’s technology industry has attracted a record number of investors to its annual fall showcase. Experience Tectoria will bring 36 investors to the city from around North America in order to get a sense of what makes Victoria and the sector tick.
“We need to drive home just how vibrant our community is and bringing the leaders and opinion-shapers of our industry to our doorstep is the best way to really open their eyes,” said Dan Gunn, chief executive of the Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council.
The three-day investor summit, which starts Thursday, pairs investors with local technology entrepreneurs who will show off the city through a series of networking sessions, public and invitation-only events and demonstrations. Experience Tectoria coincides with the annual Rifflandia Music Festival which helps to show off the city’s vibrancy. Events include Launch & Learn — a chance for local firms to share their latest news — Demo Camp, and a F**k-up Night, where people share stories of failed projects.
Meanwhile, the search is over for those hunting for a search- engine marketing summit. Fort Tectoria, the home base of VIATEC at 777 Fort St., will be playing host to the Island’s first search engine marketing summit Oct. 4. Tickets and information are available at semsummit.ca.
There have certainly been a lot of firsts for Rob in the last 5 years of working with VIATEC! see more
Source: Gustavson School of Business
Author: Rob Bennett
I’ve had a lot of roles over the years from co-founding Municipal Software and Datamat Services, angel investing in Teampages, Oprius and Simation, to my role as a BCIC accredited mentor and my participation in the Gustavson School of Business mentor program. The two common themes in my varied roles has been coaching and working with a wide variety of stakeholders – two things that have prepared me well for my work at VIATEC. And speaking of my work at VIATEC…
One day, the then Chair of VIATEC, Art Aylesworth, stopped by the office and saw me hanging a disco ball from the ceiling. He asked me how I was doing. I responded, “Really well, Art”, which I think Art took as a pat response. So he pulled in closer to me and said, “Rob, no, really – how’s it going?” I said, “Art, every day I do something I’ve never done before, and will never do again!”
Whether it’s dressing up in a foam finger at a golf tournament declaring that “Tech is #1”, or as Darth Vader welcoming guests at VIATEC’s Tech Awards and leading the World’s Largest Indoor Light Sabre Battle, or as Jolly Old St. Nick during VIATEC’s Member Christmas Party, there have certainly been a lot of firsts in the last 5 years of working with VIATEC!
But here’s the amazing part – even the serious days are truly remarkable. I get to work with a number of very successful, insightful and generous people in our community who are interested in seeing entrepreneurs and their companies grow. Through programs like ICE at UVic, or working with the faculty and staff at the business school or the Faculty of Engineering, or our own Accelerator Programs, there are some incredible people who offer sage words of advice for entrepreneurs that are dedicated to their dreams. These people have “been there, done that;” they get involved because it is the right thing to do, and also sometimes because they’re willing to place a financial bet on the entrepreneur and their team. It’s quite humbling and mind-blowing all at the same time, and I continue to learn from these very accomplished people on a daily basis.
And then there’s the entrepreneurs – from every walk of life. Their passion is inspirational, and the energy they put towards their ventures is awesome. These people want to change the world, and we have a community of others that wish to help them. Is there anything better than that?
Oh yeah, one more thing that just has to be said. Events. VIATEC EVENTS. There’s a bit of a reputation that VIATEC has built over the years about having kick-ass events. From the VIATEC Technology Awards to Discover Tectoria, from multi-day events held annually like Experience Tectoria to one-evening events like the monthly VIAfest meetings, or the many festivals that we support around the community. There is always something happening – an excuse to meet people, get caught up and learn from each other. Although there is always a serious thread to every event, fun is the priority. A tremendous amount of work is done by the very accomplished team at VIATEC and our events typically go off without a hitch. To be part of Team VIATEC is an amazing experience unto itself – it’s truly remarkable what such a proficient – and prolific – team accomplishes.
Today I’m preparing for five companies to come and interview with our crack Executive-In-Residence team to get access to our Accelerator Program. We’ve met with all five already, and I’m quite excited about what each of these companies has to offer. The mere thought that one of these companies, or one of the alumni from the program, could grow to become the next Hootsuite or Shopify makes one pause to think a bit. And to be someone that has perhaps said something or done something to help along the way makes this one of the most fulfilling roles I’ve ever had!
Rob Bennett is the Chief Operating Officer and Program Director for VIATEC (Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council), and it’s the best “job” he’s ever had!
VIATEC posted an articleBen Kerr is a Victoria native, mountain biker, foodie, father, CEO and Lead Analyst for Foundry Spat see more
You won’t believe what the panelists called Ben Kerr during Experience Tectoria’s Showcase Showdown!
Ben Kerr is a Victoria native, mountain biker, foodie, father, CEO and Lead Analyst for Foundry Spatial, and our Tectorian of the Week!
There can be no arguing that Ben is not a true Tectorian. He was born and raised here, is a UVic geography grad, gets involved in local organizations with his two young daughters, is growing a local tech company doing very cool things, and says “I have never had a reason to leave and plan for it to stay that way! Victoria has such a beautiful natural setting and it is really beginning to emerge culturally and business-wise. I feel like Victoria is starting to build an amazingly unique new identity which is up there with the best places in the world!"
Foundry Spatial provides environmental analytics SAAS tools, with a primary focus on water. They offer customers complete, streamlined environmental and watershed information - meaning they can answer questions that directly impact the viability and sustainability of both a business, and its surrounding environment.
Ben started the company out as a one man environmental consultancy, or as he recalls, “me in my garage with a bunch of spiders." Over the last 6 years Foundry Spatial has grown steadily, and now they're rolling out a national service at the end of the year, that will provide a network of waterway understanding all across Canada!
Why would someone need to know how much water is in a river?
The Showcase Showdown panel asked Ben the same thing during Experience Tectoria. His answer really helped to win over everyone in the room, because of the information he provided, and the affable manner in which he responded.
If you asked Ben again he would say “people need water to drink and for day to day life. Fish and all kinds of other animals depend on rivers for their livelihoods. Farmers use the water from rivers to grow the food we eat. Industries need water too to keep our economy going, things like hydro and energy production, pulp and paper, and oil and gas. With demand growing from all these sectors and the challenges we're facing in a changing climate, technology can help us find balance. It's everyone that cares about water!”
Ben and Foundry Spatial participated in both the Demo Camp and Showcase Showdown during Experience Tectoria. In the Showcase Showdown he reached the final pairing, and the panel called him "the hands-down friendliest contestant!"
What's next for Foundry Spatial?
They have their sights set on expansion across the rest of North America in the next three years. Ben asserts that “we'll continue to prioritize the areas of greatest need, where demand and shortages are causing conflict.”
From water, to gravel (and the end of this article)
Ben started his career in gravel exploration. It may not be the most widely appealing topic, but Ben loves it, so one of the guys in his office offered to add some flair to that story for him...
Born at age 7, Ben knew that one day, he would grow up to stare at rocks in a serious way. One day, he found the best gravel he had ever seen, but his bucket was broken.
His desire for gravel persists, driven by the one that got away.
The one gravel.
VIATEC posted an articleWorld-respected futurist Nikolas Badminton on how Experience Tectoria changed how he sees Victotoria see more
Source: Huffington Post
Author: Nikolas Badminton - Futurist as nikolasbadminton.com and Growth Consultant
I boarded my float plane and charted a course that took me from Vancouver to Victoria Harbour. As I stepped off of the dock and onto the streets I found a place that felt quite passive. Tourists, students, newly weds and nearly-deads -- or so some say.
Looking at the Tourism Victoria website, we see an exciting picture painted:
Victoria, British Columbia is full of life! Victoria has the mildest climate in Canada with gardens that bloom all year. The wild beauty of the Pacific coast and adventures in the great outdoors are within city limits and ocean and mountain vistas will follow you wherever you go.
Victoria is a year-round destination that offers a friendly, safe haven for all visitors. Getting here is easy and once you've arrived, you'll feel a million miles away. With an energetic and vibrant atmosphere it's no surprise that Victoria, B.C. is one of the world's favourite destinations.
As I was soon to learn, that energy is here in the technology business, too. It has been hidden away a little, obscured by its modesty, and I do actually think that there is something really special worth shouting about over here.
In late September, the team at Fort Tectoria -- a coworking space, event hub and home to the VIATeC accelerator program that works to boost Victoria's tech sector -- held their Experience Tectoria conference. Myself and around 150 other attendees got together for something that turned out to be a quite different tech conference. It was almost nothing like one. Sure, there were VCs, journalists, tech founders and entrepreneurs in attendance, but the focus was on a wider cultural discourse. These things are normally about patting each other on the back and mulling over how tough it is to get funding, the challenges we face in the startup world and what new developments are helping drive us forward. This was different.
There were a variety of guest lectures that felt more like casual chats between friends.
Paul Singh, the self-proclaimed "blood sucking VC," talked about how the world is changing with the sharing economy and data driving advanced decision-making. He also had a beer and not water as he lectured. It was 9:15 a.m. What's amazing about Paul is that he is a humble and incredibly experienced VC that spent the next three days hanging out and talking with everyone. No jetting in and out here.
Ryan Guldemond from the rock band Mother Mother lectured us on creativity (seriously, his voice and way of building songs felt like the most human hackathon I'd ever attended). A technology startup founder even made up a song about Roman soldiers on the fly, and it was awesome (maybe Ryan will steal that for his next album). And then, Nathan Fielder, famed for the Dumb Starbucks stunt in Los Angeles and Comedy Central fame showed us some exclusive episodes from his show,Nathan for You. He studied business at the University of Victoria and graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce in 2005 and now is bringing his own brand of consultancy to businesses that need it most.
Add to that, attending the world's first iMax livestreamed underwater interview with the Fish Eye Project , where we learned that rockfish lived for over 200 years. There was also a boat cruise with a band and some ad-hoc interviews with Dann Gunn where Paul Singh got into the detail on Victoria's tech scene. Dan told us there there are around 380 tech companies in downtown Victoria with over 880 in Greater Victoria.
You can also hit the road from Victoria and travel little further up the Island to find more at Qualicum Beach Digital Media Studio which is incubating some great R&D and startups, to Coombs where some of the world's edgiest VR gaming experiences are being forged by Denny Unger and his team at Cloudhead Games.
These are all integral parts of the Island technology community. And Victoria is the spark for many.
In addition, there was Rifflandia, the yearly music festival with over 20 stages and venues along with dozens of bands and DJs from all over the world. The Experience Tectoria attendees and speakers went to as much of this as they could.
Victoria doesn't seem passive. It seems vibrant and growing. Tourism is big and I think that the tech scene will be a lot bigger in the very near future. Conferences like this exist to show what Victoria is and can be.
There were three takeaways from this that I think all technology conferences should pay attention to.
The tech community is an important part of the creative community
The biggest and most impactful startups are the ones that are the most creative. Some even introduce art and artistic methods into their businesses as well. To really make an impact tech startups really get a lot more done by engaging the creative community.
Presentation after presentation can really kill inspiration however doing things does not.
We learn by doing. We learn more by doing things together and this is exactly what conferences really need to do. Talks, lunch, post-conference drinks rarely get the blood pumping.
Relationships are built on shared experiences.
Oftentimes we forget that VCs, tech founders and the suchlike have a myriad of interests and perspectives. Relationships brokered in meetings or via email can lead to thin relationships with weak ties. Relationships that are created through new experiences shared together will have more dimensions and many more hooks for deeper more meaningful relationships to be created.
Victoria is vibrant and very active indeed. Experience Tectoria really stepped up the game in terms of getting to know a place, the tech founders, influencers, and VCs that drive it forward. They key to everything was forgetting that this was a conference and remembering it was a gathering of people that would be great friends going forward.
In fact, I see Victoria as the "tech wolf in sheep's clothing" and I don't think many will see it coming.