• Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    "My focus in Vancouver is on product and design, whereas in San Francisco it’s more on investors..." see more

    Source: BCBusiness

    Is Slack a harbinger of tech riches for Vancouver?

    The arrival of Slack in Vancouver seems to indicate full steam ahead for B.C.’s tech sector. If things change south of the border, however, all bets are off.

    The enterprise software phenomenon Slack [(app built by Victoria company, Metalab)] has been in its Hamilton Street offices for almost a year now. But with extensive renovations just complete, CEO Stewart Butterfield hosted a media unveiling this September. As only befits a seven-year-old company valued mid-2016 at $3.8 billion, the place makes most offices look very ordinary indeed. The Michael Leckie-designed space features brick walls and dark timbers, kitchen and bar, lounge areas with lots of throw pillows, gauzy balloon-like light fixtures and a six-metre wall at the top of the main stairs that’s covered in bright green mummified moss.

    An evidently proud Butterfield characterized the Vancouver office, now employing 82 people, as his favourite, noting: “The San Francisco office has a great location. But it wasn’t entirely built out by us. So it’s much less us.”

    That Butterfield would champion his Vancouver office is perhaps to be expected. The 42-year-old founder of Flickr, later sold to Yahoo, started life on a commune in rural B.C. with the original given name Dharma. You could say he’s emphatically homegrown. But his enthusiasm might also reflect the anticipation that, poised at the dawn of 2017, the B.C. tech sector is set to boom.

    Slack isn’t the only driver of that potential phenomenon. Microsoft invested $120 million in its Vancouver facility this past year, where it eventually intends to employ 750 people. Hootsuite officially became cash-flow positive mid-2016, and its awaited IPO now seems likely for this coming year. According to numbers recently released by the province, the B.C. tech sector now employs over 90,000 people—more than mining, oil and gas, and forestry combined.

    All of this activity can also be seen as part of a bigger plan, which is to expand the economic ties and coordination between Seattle and Vancouver. Separated by a snarled freeway and a plugged-up international border, the cousin cities have long attracted the attention of local planners seeking to bring their communities closer together. In September we got an emblem of that in the form of B.C. Premier Christy Clark’s and Washington Governor Jay Inslee’s signatures on an agreement to coordinate economic development of the technology sectors in both places.

    The motive for American companies is clear. Canada has a speedier immigration environment than does the U.S. That’s important in a sector with a seemingly insatiable demand for engineers, many of whom are being schooled at the tech-friendly educational institutions of China and India. Getting them into Canada, by some estimates, takes less than half the time required to get them into the States.

    Butterfield himself anticipates close to 40 new hires in Vancouver, including in “customer experience” and front-end engineering. “Engineering is the second-biggest team here,” he says. “And this is where most of the design leadership is, the core of the front-end development team. So my focus in Vancouver is on product and design, whereas in San Francisco it’s more on investors and executive recruiting.”

    Executive recruiting may be easier in the San Francisco area because there would be much greater depth in people with experience in enterprise software companies in the first place. But it may also be easier because of the housing demands of people being hired at the most senior levels. Sure, a younger workforce—Butterfield looked to be the only person over 40 in the Hamilton Street facility—may be willing to live in small or shared quarters in what is widely considered one of the least affordable cities in the world. If you’re looking to hire senior people, on the other hand, who will likely be older and may well have families, then you need to have places for them to live that don’t cost millions of dollars.

    But maybe real estate prices are, in the end, a red herring. San Francisco and New York, both thriving tech hubs, have more expensive downtown real estate than Vancouver. The risk factor for the Vancouver tech boom may come down to a piece of paper: the U.S. H1-B visa. A non-immigration work permit allowing U.S. companies to hire foreign nationals in specialized sectors including technology, the H1-B is capped at 65,000 persons annually. Were that head cap to be lifted, as it is rumoured it might be, a key Vancouver competitive advantage would fall away. And then the Slack-indicated tech boom might well be in jeopardy.

    Butterfield isn’t worrying about that—not at the moment, anyway; 2017 is coming, and he thinks Slack’s drawing power will be ample to attract the people he needs. “Just look at how beautiful our office is!” he exclaims. Then, more seriously, he offers the following prognosis: “I think that being at Slack right now will be similar to having worked at Google from 2005 to 2007, or Facebook from 2007 to 2009, or Apple in the mid 2000s.”

    If he’s right, a lot of people will be having a happy New Year.

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    Victoria added 1,000 tech jobs to the labour force between 2012 and 2017 see more

    Source: Goldstream Gazette
    Author: Keri Coles

    Victoria named in top 10 Canadian cities for tech talent

    First time B.C.’s capital has made the list

    Victoria now ranks in the top ten cities for Canadian tech talent, according to a new report released Thursday by CBRE Canada.

    It is the first time B.C.’s capital has made the list, which analyzes the conditions, cost and quality of the labour market for highly-skilled tech workers. The rapid growth of Victoria’s tech sector and its momentum is being credited for the ranking boost.

    The 2018 Scoring Canadian Tech Talent Report, published by real estate company CBRE, notes that Victoria added 1,000 tech jobs to the labour force between 2012 and 2017 – a 16.1 per cent increase.

    While Victoria was ranked number 10, its overall score of 46.4 was almost half that of the city at the top of the list – Toronto at 87.3.

    The analysis was broken down into three indicators – tech talent employment, educational attainment and high-tech industry. Victoria was ranked 14, 10 and 6, respectively, out of the 20 cities analyzed.

    Victoria’s SaaS (Software as a Service) and high-tech manufacturing industries pushed its high-tech concentration to 3.6 per cent, well above the national average of 2.6 per cent.

    Tech is noted as one of the fastest growing industries in Greater Victoria, with a 48.3 per cent growth in high-tech industry from 2012 to 2017 and an estimated economic impact of $5.2 billion, according to Statistics Canada data.

    The report says the primary tech industries in Victoria are SaaS, ocean science, and advanced manufacturing.

    Early this year, B.C.-led Digital Technology Supercluster, of which Victoria is a part, was chosen as one of the funding recipients for the Government of Canada’s Innovation Supercluster Initiative, created to facilitate and fund collaborative technology projects.

    It is expected to boost GDP in B.C. by more than $5 billion and create more than 13,500 jobs over the next 10 years.

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    As a female developer these are some things I want in a company before I decide to join see more

    Source: Code.LikeaGirl.io
    Author: Leigha Mitchell

    I’m a woman in tech, and this is what I want in a company

    As a female developer these are some things I want in a company before I decide to join, and once I’m a part of the team.

    I want to see other women

    The first thing most people do before interviewing or even applying for a job is look at the company careers page. If it’s plastered with pictures of white guys in flannel with beards, that’s a red flag. If the exec team is all white men who look like they could be my father that’s another one. When you’re a small team and those are the cards you’re dealt, it’s harder to get around that. But you can always put a statement on this page explaining the fact you want to diversify your team and why. Another trick I’ve seen is having a clearly female silhouette saying “This could be you!”.

    Once I’ve made it past the careers page, I want to see them in person. It’s always important to have women in the interview process, but especially when the candidate is also a woman. This makes me feel more comfortable with asking certain questions, and offers an opportunity to ask things only another woman in tech could answer. Even if there aren’t currently women on the team I’d be joining (red flag) bring someone from another team in for a culture interview.

    I don’t give a shit about your “amazing culture”

    Everyone has great culture and you’re all best friends, I get it. This is so common in startup land that it’s meaningless. I’ve worked at these places, and I promise you what is an amazing culture for one person can be horrible for another. I want you to prove it. I want to meet members from every team, I want to chat with them and get to know what they’re like. It’s important for me to know that these are people I’m going to work well and grow with, and that they want to do those things with me.

    “Many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.”
    – Obi Wan Kenobi

    I don’t care that you have a ping-pong table, or a keg, or free snacks. I care that the CEO leaves on time to pick up her kids during the week, that the holidays are for spending time with your family, and that when the guy in marketing got engaged to his boyfriend everyone went out for lunch to celebrate. Those are the things I want to see, and the team I want to be a part of.

    Tell me how you’re going to help me grow

    The moment I get stagnant, I get bored and I move on. That is a huge factor in why I became a developer in the first place. There’s always something new to learn, or practice, or build. This means growth and projection are extremely important to me and I’ve learned the hard way to make sure that is clear from the beginning.

    I, like a lot of other women, am very passive when it comes to asking for raises or promotions. Having an outline of expectations for each level of developer helps with this. Now I have a guideline and I know exactly what I need to do to meet those expectations. It also helps reduce the opportunity for discrimination. Everyone knows what is expected for each level, and for each salary. You either meet the requirements, or you keep working at things until you do.

    I should forget that I’m a minority, but be supported when I remember

    It should never be painfully obvious that I’m the only woman in the room. In an ideal world I won’t be, but sometimes that is still the case. We are adults and everyone should be treated with respect and equally, but that is a whole other conversation. It’s great to have a CEO or a few advocates in the company who support diversity, but if it’s not a part of every employee’s mentality it won’t happen.

    If I bring something to the attention of a manager or member of the exec team, like concerns about lack of diversity or the treatment of women in tech, it should be taken seriously. If it’s within the company their help is crucial, but if it is a more broad concern I want to know that I have their support. If I tell them I want more women to get into tech I want them to say “So what are you going to do about it?” and know that they will push and support me.

    Help me fight my imposter syndrome

    Everyone knows about Imposter Syndrome these days and it’s something I suffer from. Especially as a woman in tech, and extra especially as a more junior developer. I’m incredibly hard on myself so it helps to have a team that will have my back in the fight. I don’t mean that I want to be told how awesome I am, I want real advice. I want to know that my mentors started out where I did, I need to be told to step back and look at the big picture and not the day to day.

    “The dark side clouds everything. Impossible to see the future is.”
    – Yoda

    That being said, it is also beneficial to be on a team that will tell other peoplehow awesome you are. A lot of people don’t like to brag or bring attention to their accomplishments, that’s why you need to do it for them. Seeing others be supportive of their team mates and brag about other’s accomplishments is a powerful thing. That is an environment you can’t fake, and everyone deserves to be a part of.

    I’ve been lucky enough to find a company like this, but for those still looking this is what I would expect and demand. For companies looking to hire more women and diversify your teams, I hope you learned something.

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    The company is offering signing bonuses to the candidates whose values align with those of the team see more

    Signing Bonuses Offered for Technologists as Victoria Company’s Rapid Growth Continues

    Are you an electrical technologist or technician looking to join a team that places people before product and profit?

    Local tech company  AML Oceanographic does not just manufacture innovative ocean sensing solutions; The Sidney firm has a reputation for world-class customer service, a designation achieved through keeping a strong corporate culture at the forefront of daily operations. This has resulted in tremendous sales growth, which has seen AML’s team expand by 30% since the start of 2018.

    Recognizing that the committed, engaged team of “AMLers” is the key ingredient to the company’s success, recruitment is not about simply filling roles. In the search for electrical technologists and technicians, the company is offering signing bonuses to the candidates whose values align with those of the team.

    "At AML, we're all about growth: growth as individuals, growth as a team, and growth as a business. To make that happen, we invest heavily in constant learning," AML CEO Robert Haydock explained.

    If you are looking to join a team that is serious about helping their customers succeed and having fun doing it, AML just might be the place for you. To learn more about AML and apply, visit our website.

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    If you want a job in Greater Victoria, there is likely one waiting for you. see more

    Source: CHEK News

    As Greater Victoria businesses struggle to fill jobs, some are cutting hours

    WATCH: If you want a job in Greater Victoria, there is likely one waiting for you. The unemployment rate in Victoria is the fourth lowest in Canada, and the lowest in B.C. But as Mary Griffin reports, businesses are struggling to find workers.

    On a sunny afternoon, a note on the coffee shop door at Victoria’s Fisherman’s Wharf goes unnoticed by most going inside.

    But they are outside soon when they find out the shop is closed.

    The cafe at Victoria’s Fisherman’s Wharf is experiencing a shortage of workers. So it now closes hours earlier than usual.

    Tourist Glen Rabuka was sitting outside Friday, sharing a coffee because he didn’t know the shop was closing early.

    The coffee is good, and there is no one to serve it, I guess. And that is so unfortunate,” Rabuka said.

    The economy in Greater Victoria is booming and that contributes to a worker shortage, according to Frank Bourree, principal of Chemistry Consulting of Victoria, a business and human resource consulting firm.

    “We’ve been involved in employment business for about 25 years, here, and we’ve never seen it this severe in terms of shortages,” Bourree said.

    He believes that the region is facing an employment crisis.

    “It’s pretty much across all sectors. We’re seeing a lot of competition now between sectors for higher, and higher wages. So, people are leaving the tourism industry, and going to high-tech, or construction for higher wages often,” Bourree said.

    Victoria’s unemployment rate of 4.2 percent, lower than Vancouver’s, and significantly lower than the national unemployment rate of six percent is the lowest in the province.

    That translates into difficulties for employers.

    “This is a structural problem. We’ve got a demographic challenge. We don’t have enough kids coming into the system. We’re not getting the migration, as I said, for a number of reasons. And we’re not getting enough immigration to this region. And that’s really the only solution to our labour shortage problem,” Bourree said.

    According to Statistics Canada, the construction industry created 5,900 jobs from January 2017 to January 2018.

    Another 2,900 in retail, and wholesale jobs. 2,400 jobs in finance-related positions, and 2,700 more jobs in education.

    But the high cost of housing, transportation and childcare are challenges for workers and the companies that are cutting hours due to a lack of employees.

    Outside the coffee shop, tourist George Sears says something is wrong when a business has to close in the middle of the day to deal with a staffing shortage.

    “It’s a real twist, isn’t it?  People want to be here.  Visit here. And so, to not have a facility open after three p.m., or it’s two o’clock, isn’t it?  It’s hard on the business,” Sears said.

    Del Staveley is a tourist who intended on enjoying an afternoon coffee but was turned away.

    “I think it’s unfortunate that the cost of living, the cost of getting a place to live is preventing people from getting jobs. Which is what it is,” Staveley said.

  • 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


    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]


    Dan Gunn




    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
    Victoria's unemployment rate 2nd lowest in country bolstered by job growth in tech, govnt. & retail. see more

    Source: CHEK News

    New numbers from Statistics Canada show the jobless rate in Canada moved up in July, as the economy shed more than 31,000 jobs, but BC, and Victoria in particular, are bucking the trend.

    The Capital Region’s unemployment rate was now the second-lowest in the country last month, at 4.7 per cent, bolstered by job growth in tech, government and retail.

    VIATEC CEO Dan Gunn said the Statscan figures showing 5,000 more people working in science and tech in the Capital Region, could actually be low.

    “You have new companies starting everyday and they’re growing fast so the reporting can be slower than the actual reality,” he said, adding that Statscan’s labour force survey also fails to account for contract and freelance workers who make up a large part of the tech workforce.

    And there was at least one surprising stat.

    While the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation just reported the region saw housing starts reach a 15-year high through the first six months of 2016, the number of people working construction in Greater Victoria is down, with 2,700 fewer workers than in July 2015.

    BC’s Construction Association president Manley McLachlan says it’s not for lack of demand.

    “There’s lots of rationale for it. I would say that there’s still a huge demand, we know that, and I think the fact there’s 2,700 fewer people working here today, they’re probably working somewhere else,” he said.

    “I’d suggest look up-Island, the John Hart dam is going strong, two hospitals under construction, lots of private sector work.So it’s a bit of an anomaly.”

    At GT Hiring Solutions, Christine Willow says its also a case of demand outpacing supply, as the construction sector is just one of the industries looking for help finding workers.

    “Companies like Labour Unlimited are coming to us and saying we will come and pick up the people and drive people to the site,” she said.

    And she says from skilled workers, to entry level jobs in kitchens, employers are having a hard time filling openings across the board, leading to plenty of opportunity for anyone looking for work.

    “There are very few sectors where I could say they’re not looking for people … I think now with 4.7 per cent unemployment, there are employers who are perhaps willing to make some concessions and do on the job training as well.”

    But with unemployment higher for younger workers, McLachlan said it’s never been a better time for young people to consider building trades.

    “We know we have retirements coming, two out of every three construction workers [in BC] is over the age of 45,” he said. “Those jobs will need to be filled, there’s huge opportunity.”

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    Codan is in serious growth mode with plans to expand its ranks by as many as 30 engineers. see more

    Source: Times Colonist
    Author: Andrew Duffy

    VICTORIA, BC - March 31, 2016Codan Radio Communications is in serious growth mode in Victoria with plans to expand its ranks by as many as 30 engineers and double its production in the next five years.

    Formerly known as Daniels Electronics, the company acquired in 2012 by Australia-based Codan Ltd., is looking for talent and said there’s no end of potential for growth.

    “We are ramping up for future growth in the near to medium term,” said Charlie Stuff, Codan’s executive general manager. He said with spending in the U.S. now returning to normal levels, the market for Codan’s products has grown and the company is well placed to take advantage.

    “The [land-mobile-radio] market is expected to grow globally by between 12 to 15 per cent over the next five years and we are in the midst of it with our technology, so it’s the obvious time for us to start investing in that technology and growing the business,” Stuff said.

    Codan manufactures value-added electronic products for radio communications, metal detection and mining technology. It expects to expand its Victoria operation to 100 staff through the hiring blitz that kicked off this week.

    It comes as a bit of a surprise to the parent company in Australia.

    Donald McGurk, the Australia-based chief executive who was in Victoria this week, said when deep spending cuts hit the U.S. shortly after Codan bought Daniels for $24 million in 2012, they saw revenue “fall off the cliff” and had the firm looking at cutting expenses.

    “But that [spending] has come back and it’s exceeded our expectations,” McGurk said, crediting local management, cost control and the sales team.

    McGurk said the signs suggest Codan’s Victoria operation, bought to act as a springboard for the company into the North American market, will lead Codan Ltd. forward.

    “As a company, we have decided this is the growth engine for Codan. We turn over between $150 million to $170 million a year and we see more potential in these guys here than we do in every other part of our business,” McGurk said.

    In fact, McGurk went so far as to suggest the Victoria operation may have doubled in value since 2012, and he hopes that in the next three and a half years it does so again.

    If Codan meets expectations, it will be because it broadened its product base and had the right team in the right place at the right time, Stuff said in an interview at the company’s James Bay plant.

    “The core competency that resides here is immense and the market is directly south and east of us and we are right here,” he said. “When Codan acquired Daniels in order to establish a footprint in North America, it was in exactly the right spot.”

    Ben Pearce, Codan’s North America regional sales director, said it has also come down off the mountain and broadened its appeal.

    Daniels Electronics made its name designing and manufacturing customized digital and analogue radio repeater systems capable of working in extreme climates, such as mountain tops and other sub-zero locales.

    “We were offering a small repeater device, and we still do that … but we are coming down into markets that are much bigger and that need more capabilities,” he said. “We are focused on the public safety markets, and as a close second homeland security.

    “If you’d asked us five or six years ago, we’d say those were areas of interest for us, but we just dabbled. Now, those are the big growth sectors for us.”

    Pearce said the company remains a well-kept Victoria secret because it doesn’t sell here, but it is doing a lot of exciting and innovative things that are making a big splash on the global stage.

    “The old Daniels market we had is vastly changed. We still have the core values, but we’ve taken that and morphed it into something much bigger,” he said.

    The company recruiting effort is focused on radio frequency engineering and software development that will support new product development across its portfolio.