• Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    An executive asked [Lem] if genetics could have caused a bad reaction to pot... see more

    Source: Canadian Press via Times Colonist
    Author: Tara Deschamps

    Canadian tech companies look to cash in on cannabis with innovations and apps

    TORONTO — One of John Lem's first hints that the technology behind his DNA testing company Spartan Bioscience could be a hit with cannabis users, came years ago when an executive asked him if genetics could have caused a bad reaction to pot.

    The question intrigued Lem so much that he eventually applied Spartan's technology to a new Toronto-based venture called Lobo Genetics. Through Lobo, he created a genetic testing device that fits in the palm of a hand and uses cells obtained through a cheek swab to measure a person's ability to metabolize THC — the main psychoactive component in cannabis — and determine someone's predisposition to short- and long-term side effects.

    Lobo believes it could be a hit with health-care practitioners and medical marijuana users, but has also recently experienced a flurry of interest from the recreational industry.

    "We thought the med pool was going to be first in terms of adoption, but dramatically on the rec side, there are a lot of potential opportunities," Lem said.

    The boom Lem is seeing puts Lobo Genetics among a wave of tech companies benefiting from the Oct. 17 legalization of recreational cannabis in Canada.

    Already the pot tech industry has seen the debut of Toronto start-up Strainprint Technologies Inc., which makes it easy to track and manage the dosage and effects of pot, and California-founded Weedmaps, which helps users find locations throughout Canada where they can buy the substance. Also cashing in on the pot tech rush are Ottawa-based Shopify, which powers provincial and private marijuana e-commerce offerings, and cannabis companies like Lift & Co., which runs a reviews app.

    "There has been no shortage of entrepreneurs getting out there," said Dan Skilleter, Lobo's director of policy and communications. "The last year has been so busy for cannabis and certainly Lobo saw the opportunity."

    Skilleter and Lem said Lobo has only launched on a pilot basis, but is already seeing enthusiasm.

    Those high hopes have spread to Winnipeg, where Save the Drive is readying a platform that allows people to hire a personal shopper to buy and deliver weed.

    Its chief executive officer Chanel Graham said it has yet to launch because of weed shortages and required changes to legislation, but legalization has already brought a spike in interest.

    "I am surprised how many people reached out right on Oct. 17, hoping that we were in operation," said Graham. "We have had quite a few customers contacting us."

    The same is true for cannabis-centric social networking platform High There!

    The Florida-based venture, which helps users find buds to, well, smoke buds with, said it has seen a 300 per cent increase in sign-ups since legalization and plenty of those new users are based in Montreal, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver.

    Over at Strainprint, chief executive officer Andrew Muroff said users in Calgary, Vancouver and Toronto have flocked to its product the most.

    Strainprint, which has focused on medical marijuana users but works just as well for recreational users, launched the day before legalization to take advantage of the attention pot would garner.

    However, with its launch and legalization lining up, Muroff said, "We did see a lift, but it is hard for me to know if it came from legalization."

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


    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 for more information.


    Dan Gunn

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

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    This first annual capital mission was overwhelmingly successful. see more

    VICTORIA, BC - March 31, 2016 —­  In February, the economic development “reverse mission” saw Mayor Lisa Helps and local representatives welcome Washington, California and Canadian-based companies, investors and ex patriots to the Capital City. Based on its success, the City of Victoria and community partners plan to make the “Capital Mission” an annual event. The next mission is scheduled to take place in spring 2017.

    “This first annual capital mission was overwhelmingly successful. We wanted to attract investors and showcase Victoria as an innovative, creative and livable tech hub and tourist destination. We did this, and more,” said Mayor Helps. “The follow-up meetings and business generated speaks for itself. Our hosted guests will be back, and they’ll recommend Victoria to their networks.”

    Twenty-five guests from Los Angeles, Palo Alto, San Francisco, Seattle, Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg and Toronto participated in the mission to Victoria. In an exit survey, 100% of attendees said they would refer this mission to others in their networks. During their visit to Victoria, a total of 295 contacts were made, 156 “face-to-face” business meetings were held, and 88 qualified business leads were generated. Since the mission’s “Discover Tectoria” event, 93 follow-up discussions have taken place.

    “The City of Victoria has a vibrant and growing tech sector, and through the connections made with partners in neighbouring jurisdictions, we are providing access to new markets and job creation opportunities, which is exactly what the province is driving through the #BCTECH Strategy,” said Amrik Virk, Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services. 

    The province’s #BCTECH Strategy is a key component of the BC’s Jobs Plan to support the growth of B.C.’s vibrant technology sector and strengthen British Columbia’s diverse knowledge-based economy. The 10-year strategy includes a $100-million BC Tech Fund and initiatives to increase talent development and market access for tech companies that will drive innovation and productivity across the province. For more information:

    Survey respondents noted in their comments that Victoria has talent, has a great civic environment to support startup culture, and that an event like this makes generating new business in Victoria much more attractive and easier.

    “Having never been to Victoria before, I did not know what to expect. What I found was a jewel in Canada's start-up crown,” said Leonard Lanzi, Executive Director of the Los Angeles Venture Association. “Together with an enthusiastic city, a venture and angel capital network, a first class university, and lots of creative and innovative people, there is a recipe for a vibrant startup ecosystem! We in Los Angeles are happy to have a partner in creating the cross border innovation economy.”

    Capitalizing on a successful trade mission to San Francisco last year, February’s “reverse mission” to Victoria involved the City, University of Victoria, VIATEC, Tourism Victoria, Downtown Victoria Business Association, Urban Development Institute and Capital Investment Network collaborating to support existing and new entrepreneurs, and inspire innovation in local markets. 

    "VIATEC was honoured to host our visiting guests at Fort Tectoria during the Capital Investment Network's pitch event. The timing of the mission coincided with Discover Tectoria which is our largest expo of local innovation and entrepreneurship, and I think immersing our guests in a room with 100 local tech companies and over 3500 other guests really revealed how dynamic our local economy is,” said Dan Gunn, CEO of VIATEC. “We look forward to building on our 25 year history of developing international relationships with investors and partners on behalf of our members and the entire local innovation sector, and seeing the plans for future Capital Missions is a key part of that strategy.”

    Over the three-day mission, attendees met at Fort Tectoria to hear why Victoria is the place to live, work, play and invest. Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps, Amrik Virk, Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services, United States Consul General Lynne Platt and Tim Catlin, Vice-President of Engineering at, delivered remarks followed by dozens of start-ups pitching Victoria. 

    “Accelerated walkability” was a focus as visitors hit the streets checking out co-working spaces, and new and renewed developments. The Royal BC Museum served as a backdrop for a discussion with Seattle-based investor and author, John Maher, about angel investments and start-ups, and the mission capped off with a one-day exposition of over 70 Greater Victoria tech firms and research agencies at the Crystal Garden.  

    “San Francisco is a key source market of both leisure business and meetings and conference opportunities for Victoria. We are working to build more inbound business in the future,” said Paul Nursey, President and CEO of Tourism Victoria. “We applaud the City of Victoria and Mayor Helps for her leadership in driving deeper connections in San Francisco and the Bay area. Tourism Victoria will remain a committed partner for future endeavors because we see the return on investment.”



    Victoria is a dynamic and thriving city, offering a high quality of life that a smaller city can provide. Creating Prosperity Through Economic Development is a key objective of the City of Victoria’s strategic plan for focus and investment over the next three years. Based on community input, the Mayor’s Task Force on Economic Development and Prosperity developed the Making Victoria: Unleashing Potential - Economic Action Plan. Approved by City Council in October 2015, the plan identifies six primary “engines" to drive Victoria’s businesses, generate jobs, raise household incomes, and increase well-being over the next four years. 

    In addition, a Business Hub has been established at City Hall to streamline and demystify business and development processes; make it easier to do business in Victoria; advise on how to reduce unnecessary red tape; connect entrepreneurs with the resources they need; and accelerate the development of a vibrant downtown.

    Quick stats:

    • Greater Victoria's largest industry is high-tech, with an economic impact exceeding $4 billion annually. Many local firms rely on global connections to grow their business and create jobs. These companies directly employ 15,000 Tectorians.
    • Tourism is Greater Victoria's second largest industry with $1.9 billion in economic impact and over 
      22,000 jobs.

    — 30 —


    For More Information:

    Mayor Lisa Helps