Michaela Schluessel posted an articleAttendance ballooned to over 1,100 guests, making it one of the largest celebrations of its kind in see more
19th Annual VIATEC Awards shine spotlight on Greater Victoria’s #1 industry
VICTORIA, BC (June 15, 2019) – Last night at the Royal Theatre, the VIATEC Awards celebrated the innovation and excellence of individuals and technology companies responsible for making Victoria the fastest growing technology region in British Columbia. 49 finalists were honoured, with 15 recipients receiving newly designed astronaut trophies (designed by local artist Russell Papp), at the elaborate show. Attendance ballooned to over 1,100 guests, making it one of the largest celebrations of its kind in the nation, and VIATEC’s most attended - ever.
Erin Skillen took the reigns for the second year in a row as host for the production, bringing the perfect balance of humour, intelligence and attitude. With a theme of “There’s no place like home”, the night featured local variety show acts from Passion
and Performance Arts Inc, Atomic Vaudeville and a powerful finale accompanied by the resident awards band, in what has become an annual tradition... flying inflatable Killer Whales. The stage was brought to life by immersive video projections from VJ Photon featuring seven flown screens featuring video projection mapping along with four laser banks and five giant disco balls all supported by the incredible stage crew of the Royal Theatre. Everyone continued the celebration at the After Party with local eight piece band The New Groovement.
“It is our honour to produce a show that brings together and entertains our tech community and we relish the opportunity to highlight and celebrate some of our top performing companies and executives,” said Dan Gunn, CEO of VIATEC. “Each year gets more elaborate and we cannot say enough about our local arts community and what they bring to make this event the unique and anticipated festivity it is has become.”
Technology Company of the Year (30+ employees):
(Sponsored by: Farris, Vaughan, Wills & Murphy LLP)
Technology Company of the Year (11-29 employees):
(Sponsored by: Lazaridis Institute)
Scale-Up of the Year:
(Sponsored by: KPMG LLP)
Start-Up of the Year:
(Sponsored by: Bambora)
Product of the Year:
(Sponsored by: RBC Commercial Financial Services)
Innovative Excellence - Software or Service:
(Sponsored by: Grant Thornton LLP)
Innovative Excellence - Hardware:
(Sponsored by: Wesley Clover)
Leader of the Year:
(Sponsored by: AbeBooks)
Anita Pawluk, RaceRocks
Emerging Leader of the Year:
(Sponsored by: Roy Group)
Stephanie Thiel, SaaSquatch
Team of the Year:
(Sponsored by: Royal Roads University)
Employer of the Year:
(Sponsored by: The VIATEC Foundation)
NAMED RECIPIENTS (No finalists):
The Colin Lennox Award for Technology
(Sponsored by: Reed Pope LLP)
Erin Athene, Mint CRO
VIATEC Members of the Year:
(Sponsored by: Cox Taylor LLP)
Sang Kiet-Ly, KPMG
(Sponsored by: City of Victoria)
Angel of the Year:
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, www.forttectoria.ca
Michaela Schluessel posted an articleAs always, the night was filled with irreverence and a touch of pandemonium. see more
Source: Times Colonist
Author: Andrew Duffy
More than 1,100 people gathered in the Royal Theatre Friday night to celebrate the brightest lights of the high-tech industry.
The 19th annual Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council awards handed out 15 trophies in what was the largest awards show yet. As always, the night was filled with irreverence and a touch of pandemonium — complete with flying inflatable whales — while the spotlight hit some of the best stories in the industry.
“It is our honour to produce a show that brings together and entertains our tech community and we relish the opportunity to highlight and celebrate some of our top performing companies and executives,” said VIATEC chief executive Dan Gunn.
“Each year gets more elaborate and we cannot say enough about our local arts community and what they bring to make this event the unique and anticipated festivity it is has become.”
Erin Athene was named this year’s winner of the Victoria tech sector's highest award, the Colin Lennox Award for Technology Champion. Athene has been a tireless servant to the community having worn several hats including starting the local Ladies Learning Code chapter and serving as a mentor in VIATEC’s accelerator program.
Other winners were Women’s Equity Lab as Angel of the Year; Sang Kiet-Ly of KPMG as Member of the Year; and RingPartner, named Community Champion.
• Tech Company of the Year (30+ employees): Benevity
• Tech Company of the Year (11-29 employees): RingPartner
• Scale-Up of the Year: Tutela
• Start-Up of the Year: Cuboh
• Product of the Year: Limbic Media
• Innovative Excellence, Software or Service: DreamCraft Attractions
• Innovative Excellence, Hardware: RioT Technology Corp.
• Leader of the Year: Anita Pawluk, RaceRocks
• Emerging Leader of the Year: Stephanie Thiel, SaaSquatch
• Team of the Year: Encepta
• Employer of the Year: FreshWorks Studio
A total of $45,224.40 in cash and 3,246 lbs of food has been collected for the Mustard Seed. see more
Tech community continues support of local food bank with a $51k donation
VICTORIA, BC - December 10, 2018 - A total of $45,224.40 in cash and 3,246 lbs of food has been collected for the Mustard Seed as a direct result from the 2018 VIATEC Foundation Food Bank Challenge! The weight in food is a new record, more than doubling last year’s weight and is equal to $6,492 ($2 per pound). This brings the total 2018 value to $51,716.40!
It is our honour to continue to play a role in encouraging and directing the generous members of our community,” said VIATEC CEO, Dan Gunn. “The participants got creative with their fundraising this year; There were wine raffles, bake sales, pancake breakfasts, chili cook-offs, office parties, plenty of interoffice competition and even a push-up competition between two companies. They’ve been digging deep, having fun and making a difference as part of the VIATEC Foundation Food Bank Challenge for over a decade and it’s because of them that many families will have food on the table this holiday season, and throughout the year. All the credit goes to our members and donors and we look forward to aiding them for many more decades to come.”
Since its inception in 2002, $2,201,714.40 worth of food and cash has been donated to the Mustard Seed through companies participating in the VIATEC Foundation Food Bank Challenge. With this year’s amount, the challenge has raised a total of $2,253,420.80!
The weight in food is a new record, more than doubling last year’s weight and is equal to $6,492 ($2 per pound)
This year’s top contributors:
Greatest Per-Employee Contributor
1st place: Aviary Technologies ($727 cash & food per employee)
2nd place: RevenueWire ($309.10 cash & food per employee)
3rd place: AES Engineering ($219.60 cash & food per employee)
Greatest Overall Contributor
1st place: RevenueWire ($12,364 cash & food)
2nd place: Starfish Medical ($7,090 cash & food)
3rd place: AES Engineering ($5,490 cash & food)
A plaque presentation took place on December 7th at VIATEC and the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce’s Sweater Weather Get Together event, bringing out over 300 attendees.
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 (Technology is Victoria's #1 industry with a $4.06 Billion Annual Revenue, a $5.22 Billion Economic Impact and over 16,775 employees across 995 high-tech companies - and growing!)
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
About the VIATEC Foundation:
A fund, held with the Victoria Foundation, that provides a simple way for VIATEC members to give back. Launched in June of 2017 (Raising $177,242 on its first day), the VIATEC Foundation is a result of seeing the philanthropic efforts of VIATEC Members being made privately or members lacking a direction for their goals. Because it is an industry that thrives on competition and challenges, VIATEC saw an opportunity to offer people a way to direct their generosity and show the Victoria community what’s possible.
About the Mustard Seed Street Church:
The Mustard Seed Street Church has been essential in fighting hunger and restoring faith to a large portion of people living in poverty, as well as the working poor, in Greater Victoria since 1975. The Mustard Seed’s operations are nearly 100 percent community funded and include Vancouver Island’s largest Food Bank, a Family Center, Hospitality programs, and addictions recovery at Hope Farm Healing Centre as well as more traditional Church services.
The Mustard Seed Street Church positively impacts, on average 5,000 individuals per month, with more than 50 volunteers keeping things running everyday. With your help, lives are transformed on a daily basis! www.mustardseed.ca
Marketing & Events Director
In 2014-15, they not only completed their MBA’s, they founded FreshWorks Studio... see more
Humility is a Core Value: Innovation Boulevard Interview with Samarth Mod of FreshWorks Studio
Entrepreneurs like Samarth Mod and Rohit Boolchandani are great examples of the potential that new immigrants bring to Canada. Both men left their homes in central India in 2012 and 2013 to seek new opportunities and enhance their post-secondary education in British Columbia, Canada. In 2014-15, they not only completed their MBA’s, they founded FreshWorks Studio, which has quickly established itself as a leading Canadian app development firm, employing over 50 people in Victoria and Vancouver, with a satellite office in Seattle.
I had the pleasure of chatting with Samarth Mod, the CEO from FreshWorks last month, and wanted to share our conversation about this rapidly growing company with you.
IB: What challenge is FreshWorks addressing for customers?
Sam: We are app developers and architects. So many organizations need mobile, web, blockchain and AI applications; many enterprises need a dedicated team to work on their project either from scratch or augmenting their existing team. We work closely with clients to identify how they can bring their idea to reality.
IB: What core technologies do you use?
IB: Where did your name “FreshWorks” come from?
Sam: Unlike many other companies, we didn’t spend a lot of time or money on this. Our name originated in a pub over beers. We just kept coming back to the notion of “fresh”…fresh ideas, fresh design, fresh process, and somehow we landed on FreshWorks. We use friendly yet ambitious language, primary colors and fresh design in all of our branding and work with clients.
IB: How does your partnership with Rohit work?
Sam: Rohit and I met each other back in India where we became good friends. We wanted to come to North America and ultimately settled in Victoria at the age of 25, where I had a scholarship to go to UVIC – and I liked the climate. We came to BC a year apart from one another to work on our respective MBAs. We had a few business ideas in the early days – that truthfully – weren’t that successful. Our partnership is like a business marriage; we work really hard to be honest and respectful, even when we disagree.
IB: Tell us something you’ve done that makes you proud.
Sam: One of our early applications was for BC Highways – essentially a free mobile app for BC residents and commuters, based on open source data to help make the BC driving experience as seamless, safe, and efficient as possible. It all started with Rohit and I being stuck in a detour for 3 hours and us thinking, “Hey, this can be addressed!” To date, the app has been downloaded 100,000+ times.
IB: What’s your approach to finding customers?
Sam: We focus a lot on networking and building relationships. Also, it sounds hard to believe, but our clients are actually finding us now. Our reputation for building solid, yet flexible applications is growing, so we’re finding customers coming to us. It’s a great spot to be. We are ranked #3 in Canada for top app developers.
IB: What do you look for in the people you hire?
Sam: We do have a lengthy recruitment process, as we believe the number one reason for our success is our people. We do pre-screening interviews, and then the prospect completes a challenge – a small project related to the work they could be expected to do. Then we have our team conduct a challenge evaluation to assess the work and candidate. We have a high value- and mission-driven team, so everyone’s assessments matter. Our HR team drills deep into teamwork-oriented questions to ensure we’ve got a great fit. One of our top values is humility.
IB: I don’t hear too many teams claim humility as a core value. Tell me more.
Sam: My business partner and I failed a lot in the beginning; we hadn’t nailed a viable model… I think we had two business ideas that just didn’t go anywhere, but we just kept trying. I think knowing that success is tenuous is critical. Success should keep you modest. We use humility in our approach to day-to-day business dealings and how we interact with everyone. Knowing that everyone is fallible, but also capable of great things, is really important.
IB: How did you come to be a member of Innovation Boulevard?
Sam: We competed in a Fraser Health Hackathon, sponsored in part by Innovation Boulevard, and we were fortunate enough to do well in the competition. It’s great to be part of an ecosystem dedicated to innovation.
IB: Are you doing work in the health sector?
Sam: Yes. We have worked with Fraser Health and we are developing apps for others, like Anxiety Canada, Healing Hub and LiveCare, CanAssist, and more.
IB: Tell me about some of the awards FreshWorks has won.
Sam: There’s got to be some irony in that, as we just talked about humility as a core value! However, I can proudly say that our team has won a number of awards. We were recently ranked 3rd in Canada for Top App Developers; we also received Small Business BC’s “Best Immigrant Entrepreneur” award this year, and I was fortunate to receive BC Business’ 30 Under 30 award. FreshWorks ranked #30 in Top 50 startups in Canada by Canada Business and we have received a fair bit of recognition in local and national publications.
IB: Any last parting words you’d like to share?
Sam: Many immigrants come to Canada as job seekers and then go on to become job providers. My partner and I are part of this trend of people who come to Canada for both the lifestyle and the opportunities here, and then we create businesses and provide meaningful work for other Canadians. I’m glad that Canada welcomes newcomers – from highly skilled workers to refugees to international students. Not only do newcomers bring important perspectives, talent and experience, but they also help keep Canada culturally diverse and economically vibrant, which benefits us all.
Alison Berg is the Director of Marketing at Innovation Boulevard. She loves to chat with interesting
people and learn how their businesses thrive. When she’s not doing “marketing stuff,”
she’s starting businesses, watching Netflix, and hanging out with her 2 daughters.
Startup 50: The Complete Ranking of Canada’s Top New Growth Companies includes a few from Victoria...Meet Canada’s Top New Growth Companies: Including Victoria's own Flytographer and FreshWorks Studio! see more
Startup 50: The Complete Ranking of Canada’s Top New Growth Companies
Meet Canada’s Top New Growth Companies for 2018:
Including Victoria's own Flytographer and FreshWorks Studio!
The brash, bold, bright upstarts on our 2018 Startup 50 ranking of Canada’s Top New Growth Companies represent the most promising enterprises the country has to offer. They’ve successfully brought innovative new ideas, products and services to market at a breakneck pace, and they’ve done it in style. Pay attention: These businesses are the next big thing.
Congratulations to VIATEC Members Flytographer and FreshWorks Studio for making this impressive list!
What is the Startup 50?
The Startup 50 serves as a companion to the Growth 500 ranking of Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies. It is meant to celebrate businesses that have achieved remarkable growth—look no further than the numbers on these pages for proof!—in a very, very short period of time.
The Startup 50 ranks businesses on two-year revenue growth. In order to be eligible, a company must have been founded and generating revenue between July 1, 2012 and early 2015. All companies voluntarily applied to participate in the program. We shortlisted companies based on revenue figures supplied on a brief self-nominating ballot, then verified eligibility and revenue claims through detailed questionnaires and reviews of applicant-supplied financial statements. Companies must have generated minimum revenue of at least $1 million in the most recent fiscal year to qualify. Growth rates were calculated using a base-year minimum of $200,000. Visit Growth500.ca for more.