ArticleVictoria’s high-tech community has raised $300,000 to help tackle the issue of local food security. see more
Source: Times Colonist
Tech sector steps up for Mustard Seed
Victoria’s high-tech community has raised $300,000 to help tackle the issue of local food security.
During its annual awards show June 14, investor and former chair of the Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council, Rasool Rayani, challenged the full-house audience to pledge money to the cause. They raised $200,000 on the spot.
The money was combined with $100,000 from the Victoria Foundation, which will be given to the Mustard Seed Street Church to further develop its Food Security Distribution Centre.
The centre, on Viewfield Road in Esquimalt, currently brings in about 1,815 kilograms of rescued produce each day and is part of the Food Share Network, a partnership of 50 organizations that operate food security programs in Greater Victoria.
The Mustard Seed estimates more than 35,000 people in Greater Victoria seek a reliable source of food every month.
Dan Gunn, chief executive of VIATEC, said raising that kind of money within minutes is just a small example of the local industry’s generosity.
During the VIATEC awards more than 20 individuals and companies stepped up to fund the large donation. They were: Redbrick Technologies, Checkfront, Kixeye, Kano, Rumble, Scott and Jessica Lake, StarFish Medical, RingPartner, FamilySparks, Mark Longo, Stuart Bowness, Gord Macdougall, RaceRocks, Telmediq, Royal Roads University, FreshWorks Studio, Watershed, Quimper, VIATEC and the Victoria Foundation.
Anyone wanting to donate: victoriafoundation.bc.ca/make-a-donation.
ArticleProceeds will go towards the next phase of development of Food Security Distribution Centre. see more
VICTORIA, BC (July 2, 2019) – On Friday June 14th, over 1,100 community members came together to celebrate the achievements made in the Greater Victoria technology sector for the annual Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council Awards at the Royal Theatre. The energy in the room was electrifying - so much so that when VIATEC Past Chair Rasool Rayani challenged the audience to raise funds to help food security in Victoria, $200,000 was pledged on the spot by a number of generous local tech companies and entrepreneurs. (See the full list below). The monies will be combined with an additional commitment of $100,000 from the Victoria Foundation for a total of $300,000.
“Tech companies locate in Victoria for many reasons including the post-secondary schools, research facilities and quality of life,” said Dan Gunn, CEO of VIATEC. “That said, most of the tech sector’s $4.06 billion in annual revenues are generated by selling our products globally. As a result, our 955 tech companies do not require the same kind of strong brand recognition locally that the other primary sectors of our economy rely on and they fly under the radar. We know that our members have always given back but, much of that giving has been quiet or anonymous. The VIATEC Foundation was created as a way to encourage, support and recognize the community support of local tech companies and the results of this impromptu campaign shows the impact they continue to have.”
“The Food Rescue Project is innovative, inspiring and demonstrates how many entities, agencies and organizations can come together for greater good. We are honoured to assist our members in supporting such a great initiative.”
The VIATEC Foundation, in partnership with the Victoria Foundation, are putting the money towards the next phase of development of Food Security Distribution Centre. The 22,000 sq. ft facility at 808 Viewfield Road in Esquimalt currently serves as a central hub for the Food Rescue Project, which recovers and redistributes fresh healthy food that currently reaches about 35,000 people every month across the capital region. Consultation and planning is underway to further leverage the Centre to support the local food economy through such things as incubation and development of food-based social enterprises, processing and storage for local food production, or opportunities for food skills training and employment.
Earlier this year, the Mustard Seed secured financing to purchase the Centre in partnership with the Victoria Foundation and a $2 million grant from the province. The Centre, which launched in 2017, is part of the Food Rescue Project, an initiative of the Food Share Network, a collaboration of more than 50 member organizations, including local non-profits, First Nations, School Districts and other organizations working towards a food secure region.
For those that would like to take up the challenge, donations can be made to the VIATEC Foundation Fund at https://victoriafoundation.bc.ca/make-a-donation/ or by sending a cheque payable to the Victoria Foundation—with the memo line of “VIATEC Foundation Fund”—to Victoria Foundation, #200 - 703 Broughton Street, Victoria BC, V8W 1E2.
Generous commitments so far:
- Redbrick Technologies
- Scott and Jessica Lake
- StarFish Medical
- Mark Longo of Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP
- Stuart Bowness of Workday
- Gord Macdougall
- Royal Roads University
- FreshWorks Studio
- Quimper Inc.
- Victoria Foundation
About the VIATEC Foundation
The VIATEC Foundation, in partnership with the Victoria Foundation, was established by VIATEC to connect Victoria’s technology sector to the broader community. The foundation offers a mechanism for the tech sector to harness its collective charitable efforts to maximize the impact of the sector’s donations.
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
Armon Arani posted an articleCanadian indies join forces to bring cult classic mockumentary from the big screen your mobile phone see more
FUBAR Is Back With Terry, Deaner, And All New Plotlines In An Awesome New Mobile Game!
Canadian indies join forces to bring cult classic mockumentary from the big screen your mobile phone.
[Victoria, BC, March 13, 2019] – In a truly Canadian production, Kano (Victoria, BC) has partnered with East Side Games (Vancouver, BC), and Busted Tranny (BT) Productions (Calgary, AB) to bring Terry and Deaner back for their first ever mobile game, FUBAR: Just Give'r.
Based on the Canadian cult classic, FUBAR: Just Give'r picks up where the movies left off, with Terry and Deaner embarking on a quest to host the longest bender in history. Everyday they wake up hungover, with just 12 hours left to put together an epic rager to keep the streak alive; all while warding off antagonists like cops, landlords, and ex-girlfriends trying to kill their buzz and break their record.
As Terry and Deaner say, “Givin’er ain’t always about partyin’, but partyin’s always about givin’er!”
An immersion into headbanger culture, FUBAR: Just Give'r is full of unique events and challenges, familiar faces, and brand new plotlines.
FUBAR: Just Give'r is set to release on Google Play and the App Store in Summer 2019. Stay up-to-date and be the first to play by signing up at www.PlayFubar.com.
Bootstrapped in 2008, Kano is a profitable and growing independent gaming studio. Through building free-to-play games as a service, Kano has established gaming communities encompassing millions of players worldwide. Focused on player obsession, Kano’s goal is to build meaningful connections through lasting social games.
About East Side Games
Founded in 2011, East Side Games (ESG) is a proudly independent and profitable game studio that is focused on making the best narrative idle games in the business, and creating the technology for developers to tell amazing stories. ESG strongly believes in community-driven design, making games built for fans by fans, and having the best culture around. Our games and our team have the same goal; to be inclusive and for everyone.
About Busted Tranny (BT) Productions
Founded in 2001 by Dave Lawrence, Michael Dowse and Paul Spence, Busted Tranny Productions is the Calgary based film and entertainment company behind the cult mockumentary film FUBAR, FUBAR II and the spin off television series FUBAR –Age of Computer.
If you would like any more information about FUBAR: Just Give'r, please call Grace Lee at 226-750-7665, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Region Focus: Inside Vancouver's [and Vancouver Island's] top game companies see more
Region Focus: Inside Vancouver's [and Vancouver Island's] top game companies
Could you tell us a bit about your company and what it does?
Tim Teh, CEO, Kano: Kano is an independent, social/mobile game developer based in Victoria, B.C., Canada. Currently in our tenth year of business, we are a self-funded and growing studio with 30 full-time staff.
We have five successful free-to-play titles in live operations on platforms like iOS, Android, and Facebook and we’re currently working on a new mobile game set for release in Spring 2019.
What have been the biggest developments for the company in 2018?
2018 was an exciting year for Kano. We grew our team, started work on our new mobile title, had our best day of revenue ever and our last 12 months produced record-breaking revenue growth.
We couldn’t be happier with our current position as we head into 2019 profitable and with a new product on the way.
In such a competitive games industry, how do you make sure you stand out and offer something unique?
Player obsession is one of our core values and it’s something that really makes us stand out. When the goal is to create long-lasting social experiences, it’s important to never lose focus that you’re making more than just content.
You are also creating a means for players to form satisfying, lasting relationships with one another. This becomes especially apparent when you see active players who started nearly a decade ago in our first game, Viking Clan.
The fact that they continue to engage daily is a proof of concept and incredibly motivating. The community is a huge part of what we create and why we create. It’s truly amazing to see players meet in our games and build lifelong friendships.
What are your plans heading into 2019?
We are genuinely excited about 2019! We have a great community of players who engage with our live games daily and our focus centres around growing, adding to, and supporting those games.
As well, with a new game set to release we have plans and designs around that too. Outside of that, we will continue to grow our team and, with our office almost at capacity, we’ll likely be looking for a new HQ in Victoria, B.C. very soon.
Could you tell us something unique about your company that people not may know?
We have an uncapped profit share program. Each year a percentage of our profits are distributed to our team and that profit share is uncapped.
Meaning that, if we have ten times the revenue in the next year, everyone in the company will get to share in that success. With a new game on the way, we’re pretty excited by our prospects for 2019!
East Side Games
Could you tell us a bit about your company and what it does?
Josh Nilson, CEO, East Side Games: Founded in 2011, East Side Games (ESG) is a proudly independent and profitable game studio that is focused on making the best narrative idle games in the business, and creating the technology for developers to tell amazing stories.
ESG strongly believes in community-driven design, making games built by fans for fans, and having the best culture around. Our games and our team have the same goal; to be inclusive and for everyone. We are the weird kids.
What have been the biggest developments for the company in 2018?
We started working on our next big game, It’s Always Sunny: The Gang Goes Mobile. We are very excited about this.
We love live ops as well, so we have been growing and working on our hit game Trailer Park Boys: Greasy Money all year with some super greasy content coming soon. We really love our fans.
In such a competitive games industry, how do you make sure you stand out and offer something unique?
You have to build something with your fans. Find your niche and continue to work on that over time. Start small and iterate, iterate, iterate.
The biggest change in idle games is we build more than games - we build content for fans. We have twice-weekly events and also live streaming programming to keep our fans up to date with what we are doing.
From day one we have done all of our community support in house. "Community is Everything" is one of our core pillars at ESG.
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 workspaces tucked away on second floors of commercial buildings or in industrial warehouses... see more
Source: Douglas Magazine
Author: Nevin Thompson
An Inside Look at Victoria’s Gaming Companies
In workspaces tucked away on second floors of commercial buildings or in industrial warehouses, Victoria’s gaming companies are punching above their weight in a multi-billion dollar market.
“In Canada there are more people per capita working on video games than in any other country in the world,” says Eric Jordan, CEO of Victoria video game company Codename Entertainment. “They’re part of an industry worth $100 billion in North America alone that continues to grow.”
Victoria is also a player in that global video game industry, with a vibrant tech sector employing at least 15,000 people and steadily transforming the city from tucked-away, renovated offices above Fort Street, Bastion Square and Chinatown, or in industrial parks and home studios. There, you’ll find at least 20 video game companies employing about 250 people who are creating games that are popular with millions of people all over the world.
Discover Tectoria panel says tackling unconscious bias, education part of building inclusive workplacesThanks to people like the panelists, and the rebellious youth, there's an extremely bright future... see more
Author: Wyatt Fossett
Discover Tectoria panel says tackling unconscious bias, education part of building inclusive workplaces
The ever-quiet sibling of the mainland metropolis that is Victoria, British Columbia continues to surprise and grow. With help from groups like the Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology & Entrepreneurship Council, the veil is lifted—if ever so slightly—a few times a year, and it truly exposes the veins of an astounding technological sector which just so happens to be the leading employment industry within British Columbia’s capital city.
The secret to Victoria’s innovation
There’s no shame here. Everyone is more than happy with their growth, and their success from the shadows of Vancouver. Maybe it’s key to their evolution. Perhaps it’s this climate, sans spotlight, that makes people in Victoria willing to try things a little more on the unconventional side.
Discover Tectoria is an annual event held by VIATEC in Victoria, filled with panels and a show floor that puts over 75 of the most innovative companies on Vancouver Island on display. Integral to the growth of their industry, the Discover Tectoria event works to promote the often unknown, or forgotten $4 billion tech sector. It’s a full day of expo floor that includes demos and plenty of local companies looking to hire — the free-to-attend event is big for those seeking work.
Want to keep tabs on your boat using smart-home-like technology? BRNKL has you covered. Maybe, for some reason, you’re looking to replace all of the lights in your abode with fixtures that react to noise, or dance while you sing? Limbic Media has just the thing for you. Perhaps you’re looking to engage children in the field of engineering? Well, there’s a group doing just that.
Victoria is even home to some of Canada’s most successful independent video game companies (see: KANO apps, Codename Entertainment, and Double Jump). With over 20,000 video game projects launched in Canada alone last year, it’s a sector of the tech industry that will not be going away anytime soon.
The VIATEC showcase
VIATEC does an outstanding job gathering some of the most interesting and prospering companies that call Victoria home and puts them on display to continue working towards promoting their tech sector.
Some of the standouts on this year’s Discover Tectoria show floor were:
A lot of people go about their creating alone. But whether it’s in robotics or gaming, collaboration is essential to the growth of our technological industry. The Victoria Makerspace is a member-operated space where imaginative technology developers can share time, tools, and work with their peers. It’s absolutely key that spaces like these exist, and it’s often difficult to get the word out; Victoria’s Makerspace is the best place to grow and collaborate with like-minded people.
What inspires young minds the most? Is it reward? Is it play? One of the most influential things to dreamers are heroes. FIRST Robotics BC promotes robotic sciences to children from kindergarten and throughout high school, creating heroes for young scientists in the form of their competitions and mentorship.
A flagship in the Victoria technology industry, Codename Entertainment cut their teeth on the gaming world with Facebook titles like EggBreaker and BushWhacker back in the day.
Recently, they’ve exploded with their clicker-based fantasy game Crusaders of the Lost Idols that came out on nearly every platform you can think of. On the shoulders of that big success, they were granted the enviable task of adapting a beloved role-playing intellectual property Dungeons and Dragons into something like Crusaders.
In a world where breaking news happens on Twitter, and our social media feeds are a far more viable source for what’s going on than most news outlets, a lot is lost in a sea of voices. Echosec wants to change the idea of smart news and uses billions of social media posts to collect data and report on the happenings of the world based on geofencing technology. The company is gathering interest from government and security firms, social coordinators, and news sites (ironically).
Targeted to women in technology, Loc’elle is a women-only social networking platform that enables like-minded women to easily connect in person or digitally. This is not just LinkedIn for women. Whether you’re looking for new friends, a mentor or running buddy, Loc’elle’s mission is to provide a safe platform for women to connect. The goal is to provide groups that are underserved and underrepresented with more ability to connect and support one another.
In addition to the trade show, a special stage and seating area on the upper level of the Crystal Room in the Victoria Conference Centre held panels all day. The talks—a collection of four or five experts and a moderator—ranged from cryptocurrency security, creative storytelling, local gaming takeover, all the way to “how do I land that gig.”
It was a vibrant theatre throughout the day, with a ton to take away with you for those that managed to catch a talk or two.
When discussing the future of the technology industry — a world with a high-demand for more talent — there’s a lot of weight on the industry to adapt in order to be more inclusive. Wrapping up the day of panels was, by far, the best of the bunch: Industry Enhanced by Inclusion. Unfortunately, it was also the one talk with the least amount of people in the audience.
Young people are key to breaking barriers in tech
It is essential in our changing social landscape to be on the inclusion end of a movement currently breaking down long-standing barriers faced by underrepresented groups in tech. True, major strides have been made. But it’s not enough.
Inclusion isn’t a concept solely related to mainstream, front page topics such as women in tech and how they’re treated, though that is very much a part of it. Rather, it’s a generalized term referring to all kinds of inclusion. Gender identity, disability, race, and other intersecting identities are at the forefront of the conversation. But what is the industry and the people within it to do in order to encourage inclusivity?
The final panel of the Discover Tectoria event included moderator Rebecca Kerstein (Rethink Thinking), and speakers Jeff Hopkins (Pacific School of Innovation & Inquiry), Bobbi Leach (RevenueWire), Nigel Livingston (UVic), and Dawn McCooey (Women’s Enterprise Centre). Two women who are developing the world of women entrepreneurs and the support systems in place for them, one disability researcher, and the founder of a revolutionary education system.
The panel kicked off with a simple introduction, followed by an intriguing question: “How is the diversity perspective changing, and what does it look like today?“ asked Kerstein.
It’s fundamental that we assess and speak to what the current climate is. If we’re not aware of where we are, it’s difficult (or impossible) to map out how we get to where we need to be.
“Social media has done a great service in giving those with disabilities—namely an inability to speak—a voice. Or anyone a voice, for that matter. Young people are the most sure-of-themselves generation yet,” Livingston says.
“There’s a new awareness and support for women in the tech industry, and it’s extremely positive. Though the pace is not enough.” adds McCooey. “At our current rate, some estimate it would take 400+ years to reach a state of equality.”
The conversation needs to shift to the dissolving of the systems already in place, because they’re problematic.
While there is a lot of conversation happening around supporting women in tech, Leach cautions against falling for hype. “We hear and see all of these stats and headlines like a recent one that read ‘women CEOs of Fortune 500 companies grew by 50 percent last year’ but it’s disingenuous. It did grow 50 percent, but that 50 percent increase only put the number up to  out of 500. Outlets are using catchy titles to breed complacency,” said Leach.
This is a major problem. Like Livingston points out, social media has done a fantastic job in allowing anyone a voice (see: Florida students fighting against NRA and Trump). Unfortunately, it’s also an easy tool to manipulate the public consciousness, and has spurred the growth of inaccurate representation of facts.
When you take the current social media tools into account, the conversation needs to shift to the dissolving of the systems already in place, because they’re problematic. “It’s a systemic unconscious bias,” says WEC founder McCooey (echoed by the rest of the panel) on the inherently non-inclusive, grandfathered structure of many industries. “The way we speak to one another, and the predetermined roles within offices, who succeeds and who fails, are pre-formatted. So much so that we ‘expect it’, due to the pattern in the industry’s history.”
Our best bet? Well, that comes down to how much power we give our youth. Millennials are a strong force and possess the drive and determination to shake up any structure already in place. They (as a collective) are the most progressive age of humans and have done valuable work to force the world onto an inclusive path.
“How do we ensure that our future is brighter, and we’re more inclusive?” asked Kerstein.
We’re always told that you can’t change the rules from the outside, and it was reflected here as the panel discusses ways we can adopt an change for the future. The key for older generations is to learn the ways of the new world. For those on the cusp, it’s important to nurture that world. For the youth of the world, it’s to continue understanding yourself, being free within that self, and remain inclusive of all types.
“Working with teenagers in an abnormal education environment like I do, it’s evident. People — and I don’t know if it’s exposure to social media or places like Reddit — are more comfortable with their own identity,” said Hopkins, as he’s on the front lines of a shift in the inclusive educational structure.
“Yes!” exclaimed moderator Kerstien. “It’s also important to jump in and educate when finding yourself face-to-face with an opportunity to dissolve others’ ignorance.”
“It’s very much about language, and our awareness of such a thing, that is the key to being inclusive,” added Leach.
The language in question is an overall term used here to describe a shift in the way we speak to one another, or speak for ourselves. “When it comes to identifiers, I always open with my own, and ask for their pronouns afterwards. It opens up a safe conversation, and as a member of an older generation, displays my desire to be inclusive right out of the gate,” said Hopkins, in response to an audience question of how he uses language to ask someone about pronouns.”
There are many other ways to ensure that the language we use is inclusive. “Women need to adapt away from passivity, in a sense, but it has always supported a more comfortable environment, so it’s still very much a work in progress,” said McCooey on how we should present our at-work selves. The common use of aggressive language to achieve goals, or put into action one’s climb up the “ladder,” is something that has to die. Inherently, this language brews a lack of inclusion.
“We can be more thoughtful. We can ask more questions. We can try to help each other, or ensure that others are more comfortable in any environment,” said Leach.
It is only a revolution, on the brink of toppling an entirely predetermined path, that is going to be the foundation of a tech industry (or any industry) that will progress through the inclusion of all people.
The problem is a poison that many don’t even know they are perpetuating. This systemic bias is something that caters to an already privileged group. A lot of the world is missing out on some of the most qualified personnel out there, all because of an archaic structure or uninviting workplace. There is turmoil now, but thanks to people like the panelists here — and the rebellious youth — there’s an extremely bright future.
Vancouver Island’s smaller talent pool pushing some developers to recruit from outside video game... see more
Source: Business in Vancouver
Author: Tyler Orton
Victoria video gamers grapple with HR challenges amid growth
Vancouver Island’s smaller talent pool pushing some developers to recruit from outside video game sector
It’s been nine years since three University of Victoria (UVic) grads launched their first video game aimed at Facebook (Nasdaq:FB) users.
Viking Clan was monetized almost instantly and managed to gain 250,000 players within weeks of its launch, and by the end of its first year on the market, Kano/Apps CEO Tim Teh said the Victoria-based company was profitable after generating $1 million in revenue from the game.
“We try to create games that are built around communities that last for a really long time,” said Teh, who met his co-founders on their first day at UVic.
Kano/App’s latest game, Free Rider HD, is the fifth game the team has developed for iOS after expanding beyond Facebook games. The company recently moved into its second office after growing from the initial UVic trio to 25 developers.
Despite Kano/Apps’ significant growth, Vancouver Island-based video game developers still face talent recruitment challenges.
There are 5,500 full-time employees at 128 companies in B.C.’s video game industry, according to a 2015 Entertainment Software Association of Canada report.
Vancouver Island accounts for “roughly” 250 of the province’s developers, according to Eric Jordan, a DigiBC board member who also serves as CEO of Victoria-based Codename Entertainment.
The talent pool is significantly smaller, which makes recruitment from within the industry tricky.
But Jordan said the broader tech industry has usurped tourism as Victoria’s main economic driver.
BC Stats’ 2016 profile of the B.C. tech sector estimated the tech industry accounts for 20,000 jobs on Vancouver Island.
“Certainly there’s a love of video games in the broader tech community, so we can recruit people out of the broader tech industry,” said Jordan, whose company just released Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms, a Dungeons & Dragons-themed game.
Codename Entertainment CEO Eric Jordan, left, says his company is recruiting from Vancouver Island’s broader tech industry | Submitted
Kano/Apps has been using the same tactic of recruiting from the broader tech industry already living on Vancouver Island.
“The rising cost of Vancouver definitely helps in terms of trying to drive talent Island-side,” Teh said, adding Kano/Apps also recently recruited a game designer from India.
Meanwhile, Jordan said flattening distribution channels – app stores, for example – has made it easier to develop and release games into the market anywhere in the world.
“And so that then combined with, ‘So if I don’t have to be in Vancouver, well, where would I like to be?’ You have studios in Victoria, of course, but then you’ve got some really interesting stuff happening up-Island, too.”
Jordan added that Vancouver Island developers like Cloudhead Games are in locations “that make Victoria look astronomically large.”
As for future growth, Jordan said gaming is acting as a “natural bridge” between the public at large and the tech sector.
“And the tech sector’s really growing so much here in Victoria, it’s been a real boon for video game companies.”
Kano Apps is a Victoria, BC, Canada based Gaming Studio see more
What Makes Kano Apps a Great Place to Work
Done for the UVic BCom 2017 Entrepreneurship Innovation Challenge. Kano Apps is a Victoria, BC, Canada based Gaming Studio. They're currently hiring for an Online Marketing Specialist. To view their job postings, click here.
Video by Eve Olynyk
There were robots and rockets and a talking glove, oh my! see more
Source: Times Colonist
Author: Michael Reid
Around Town: Geeking out at Discover Tectoria
There were robots and rockets and a talking glove, oh my!
It wasn’t just super-cool technological crowd-pleasers like these that made Discover Tectoria, the high-tech showcase that packed them into Crystal Garden on Friday, such a blast.
As one visitor remarked, almost as impressive as the high-tech doodads was that there were so many We’re Hiring signs displayed by dozens of local technology companies that participated.
While this family-friendly event did to some extent have the feel of a hiring fair, it was a predominantly educational and entertaining showcase for the region’s thriving tech sector.
“What is Tectoria, anyway?” was one question overheard from those not already in the know about the catchy moniker created by VIATEC (Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council) in 2011.
To quote its playful slogan, Tectoria, the umbrella title for the capital region’s tech sector, is “home to 100 killer whales and 1,500 killer apps.”
To describe the products and opportunites on view as mind-blowing would be putting it mildly, whether you were marvelling over the fun and games or the scientific applications.
Popular draws included Victoria Hand Project’s low-cost 3D-printed prostheses, used in developing countries where amputees have limited access to prosthetic care.
Another eye-catcher was Tango, the revolutionary glove designed to overcome the communications barrier between deaf and hearing individuals by using a glove equipped with sensors and a microcontroller.
A user’s hand gestures correspond to phrases or letters that, via Bluetooth, appear on a smartphone screen in a text format that can be output as a digitized voice.
Kamel Hamdan, Alaa Dawod and Abdul-Rahman Saleh head the development team for the University of Victoria project, working in association with Coast Capital Savings’ Innovation Centre.
Other highlights included LimbicMedia’s interactive blinking-light installation; VRX Ventures’ massive racing simulator; and the Holografx station’s Instagram photo booth.
“We’re creating a new prototype, our biggest screen at 49 inches,” said Anamaria Medina, a Colombia-raised electrical engineer who works at the Esquimalt-based company.
The tech firm develops innovative holographic tools used to showcase products, services and company logos, she said.
“We did the Instagram photo booth because this is what teenagers do now,” she said, pointing to giant hashtags and other social media tools.
Matthew McCormack said he joined a capacity crowd for an afternoon seminar on Victoria’s video game sector in the Innovation Theatre to learn about employment opportunities.
“I want to know how to get into the video game arts. What’s the best route to get my first job, to skip over working at the grocery store and get right to where I want to be working?” the Claremont student said.
McCormack, an avid gamer who plays Rainbow Six, a first-person shooter, and the futuristic vehicular soccer game Rocket League, learned being a fan isn’t necessarily enough.
“It’s a highly competitive industry. We don’t just hire you if you’re really into games,” said Eric Jordan, CEO of Codename Entertainment, with a smile.
“You’ve got to be really good at art, or marketing, or businesss or programming, depending on what we’re hiring you for.”
Jordan offered the crowd some pointers, including VIATEC’s Student Video Game Work Experience Program, which gives students a chance to work in a gaming studio.
Moderator James Hursthouse of DigiBC got a few laughs when he asked if “there is something in the water here” to explain why so many tech types come to Victoria.
“I think it’s where people want to live,” said Magda Rajkowski of Kano Apps. “It’s beautiful here, and there’s a lot of creativity.”
Even before you entered Victoria Conference Centre, it was hard to miss UVic Centre for Aerospace Research’s sleek carbon fibre-and-fibreglass drone parked outside.
“This is our workhorse, an aircraft designed to carry payloads, conduct research for companies or collaborators who want to test equipment,” explained operations manager Eldad Alber.
One software developer, for example, asked the team to design wings that would be flexible based on their software designed for such a purpose.
“Hopefully we’ll get more students interested in aerospace,” said Alber. “A master’s program for aeronautics is going to be available soon, so it would be nice to see more exposure and people applying for it.”
Kano's "Free Rider HD" releases on iOS see more
Kano's "Free Rider HD" releases on iOS
Kano is a Video Game company that was established in 2008 in Victoria. In the near decade they’ve been around, they’ve created games like Mob Wars, Viking Clan, Pirate Clan, Zombie Slayer, Free Rider and much more.
They started out creating Facebook games, moved on to desktop and as of today, Free Rider 3 (HD) is on iOS! Free Rider is a difficult and VERY addictive game with a stickman riding a bike. It has millions of plays a day and has a billion plays in total!
Listen to the Zone at 91-3fm and VIATEC's "B-Side" show to learn more about this local company: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=le4Ooe6jF5I