LlamaZOO Interactive

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    “VIATEC is excited to be a part of CDMN. Communities across Canada have a great opportunity to... " see more

    Want $4000 to grow your business in another country? 

    CDMN Soft Landing Program 2019 

    VIATEC is now a member of the CDMN (Canadian Digital Media Network) and they have a great Soft Landing Program that has just opened applications for 2019! VIATEC members can utilize this program to open new markets, close international sales, secure investment and connect with new partners abroad. Successful candidates will receive up to $4,000 CAD in reimbursable expenses to help offset transportation and accommodation costs.

    VIATEC is now one of 29 innovation hubs across the country. As a member of CDMN, one of the many benefits is being able to share and administer their valuable programs directly with VIATEC members. Members who are interested in applying for the program and want support can contact rbennett@viatec.ca

    Deadline to apply is May 26, 2019 - Don’t miss out!

    The Soft Landing program offers qualified, mature startups and SMEs exposure to business opportunities outside of Canada. Companies landing at a co-working space, accelerator or incubator may also have the costs associated with workspace covered for up to three months. Both the location and the specific landing facility are always determined by the company based on their business needs and market pull.

    VIATEC members that have participated in this program before include Industrial Plankton Inc., LlamaZOO Interactive, Limbic Media and Plurilock. 

    Program Details:

    Cohort

    Application Open

    Time to Begin Travel

    Spring/Summer 2019

    May 13-26, 2019

    June 2019 - August 2019

    Fall 2019

    July 26-Aug 11, 2019 

    Sept 2019- December 2019

    Winter 2020

    Nov 11-24, 2019

    Jan 2020- March 2020

     

    Note: dates are subject to change.

    Criteria:

    • Canadian tech company (established startup or scale-up);

    • Product has launched and generating revenue;

    • Demonstrate a strong probability of creating jobs, closing sales or securing investment outside of Canada;

    • Clearly define potential meetings and the expected outcome in dollar value; and

    • Applying to attend an event, conference, trade show or trade mission is NOT eligible.

    • Travel within Canada is NOT eligible.

    Have questions about qualification criteria? Email softlanding@cdmn.ca.

    APPLY

    LEARN MORE

    CDMN Hub representatives can provide advice and are consulted during the application process. Applicants will be evaluated based on several criteria, including revenue generation over the last 12 months, current state of the business and/or product and the viability of proclaimed goals and objectives. Companies that located in a region without a CDMN hub partner are still welcome to apply.

    About CDMN

    The Canadian Digital Media Network offers programs that provide tech companies with national and international opportunities to help bring more digital media solutions to market, creating jobs and wealth in Canada.

    Since 2012, CDMN has helped 531 Canadian companies expand nationally and internationally through 739 landings to 63 countries, resulting in more than 87.3M in new revenue and 250 jobs created.

    “VIATEC is excited to be a part of CDMN. Communities across Canada have a great opportunity to realize significant impact from their local tech sector and, while tech is already the number one industry in Victoria with over $4 billion in annual revenues, we are focused on helping our innovative entrepreneurs to scale up their companies and products to their highest potential. As one of Canada’s oldest tech associations, we are eager to learn from our peers and share our experiences. By working as part of a national network we expect we can lend a hand and learn a lot about building the most valuable programs and events for our members and our community.”

    – Dan Gunn, CEO, VIATEC

     

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    LlamaZOO - A 3D data visualization company that uses VR/AR solutions to help companies digest data. see more

    Source: 20mile.co

    20 Mile Podcast: Charles Lavigne, LlamaZOO

    How Game Design & VR/AR Help The Natural Resources Industry (S1, E5)

    In episode 5 of 20Mile’s season 1, we had the opportunity to chat with Charles Lavigne, CEO and co-founder of LlamaZOO - A 3D data visualization company that uses VR/AR solutions to help companies easily digest and visualize data.

    Charles tells how a grad from Vancouver Film School, specializing in game design, created a solution that has seen success in the oil, mining and coal industries.


    OUR TEAM IS EXCITED TO BRING YOU SEASON 1 OF THE 20MILE PODCAST IN JANUARY 2019! WE ARE CURRENTLY RECORDING EPISODES FOR OUR FIRST SEASON. WHO ARE OUR GUESTS? SEASON 1 WILL SHOWCASE A SMALL PORTION OF THE ABUNDANT LOCAL TALENT WE HAVE HERE, IN VICTORIA BC. ATTENDING TO A VARIETY OF DIFFERENT INDUSTRIES, OUR GUESTS WILL TELL WHAT THEIR MARCHES HAVE BEEN LIKE SO FAR, FROM PERSONAL STRUGGLES TO PROFESSIONAL CHALLENGES, EACH MARCH IS UNIQUE YET RELATABLE. www.20mile.co

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    MineLife VR, developed by LlamaZOO Interactive in collaboration with Teck, allows... see more

    Source: fsd.servicemax.com
    Author: Nevin Thompson

    Canada’s Largest Mining Firm Takes the Digital Transformation Playbook Underground

    MineLife VR, developed by LlamaZOO Interactive in collaboration with Teck, allows company planners, project partners and other community stakeholders to virtually “walk” through a planned mine project that’s overlaid on a 3D map.

    For industrial leaders' intent on reducing costs and seizing new business opportunities, digitizing their operations—and their machines—has become critical. The data that now flows from IoT-connected machines has, for many, become as important as the grease that keeps those machines running. From sensor-packed power plants that capture billions of data points per day to software that helps service leaders interpret that data, a slew of digital technologies help keep the lights on and airplanes flying.

    But industrial firms whose equipment we see every day aren’t the only companies that are on a digital transformation journey. Remote and out of sight, mining operators are exploring how to add digital tools to their time-tested toolkits.

    Mining companies, confronted during the past decade with unpredictable commodity prices, slim margins and labor shortages, struggle to keep their earth movers and drills operating in the black. That’s why firms like Teck Resources, Canada’s largest mining operator, are using everything from remote-controlled equipment to virtual reality to run smarter businesses—and to expand their global footprints.

    Machine Learning, Remote Monitoring, Big Data: Digital Canaries to Prevent Downtime

    As one of the world’s major extractors of copper, zinc and metallurgical coal used in steelmaking, Teck Resources’ employs more than 10,000 people at projects across Canada, the United States, Chile and Peru. The Vancouver-based company has developed a reputation for innovation in an industry known for its conservatism.

    “The resource industry can be risk-averse because of very real safety concerns and the challenge of operating with slim margins,” says Charles Lavigne, CEO and co-founder of LlamaZOO Interactive, a technology partner on several Teck projects.

    Teck uses big data and machine learning to identify and analyze data streams from gigantic (and expensive) haul trucks to predict maintenance issues before they happen. A vehicle breakdown costs time and, crucially, money, siphoning millions of dollars from the company’s already slim margins. No detail is too small. According to the company, sensors that remotely monitor wear and tear on the giant haul truck tires could save nearly $1 million per year.

    But cost savings aren’t the only benefit. Teck has found that digital technologies can also help to improve worker safety and increase productivity “in the pit.” At one project, the company deployed a remotely-controlled dozer to access steelmaking coal in an area that would be hazardous for a human operator.

    The next step on Teck’s digital journey? An ambitious project to create interactive, 1:1 digital twin models of its projects. The models, created with LlamaZOO Interactive, a technology startup with roots in the video game industry, allow people to view mining projects, from initial planning stages to future projections about a mine’s scale and impact on the landscape, using virtual reality headsets.

    Envisioning Growth — And Making It a Reality — With Virtual Reality

    Organizations across the field service industry are exploring how virtual and augmented reality could reduce costs, improve productivity and even attract (and retain) talent.

    Teck is no exception. The company, an early adopter of AR and VR in the mining industry, uses digital twin virtual models to slash the amount of time it takes to win approval for a new mine project—and to get the project up and running.

    MineLife VR, a VR app that LlamaZOO developed in collaboration with Teck, allows company planners, project partners and other community stakeholders to virtually “walk” through a planned mine project that’s overlaid on a 3D map. The app includes detailed information about a proposed mine site, including the specific location of ore bodies, bore holes, equipment, facilities and even local flora and fauna based on scientific surveys.

    A digital twin of a proposed mine project. Image: LlamaZOO

    For mining companies like Teck, the virtual model is a powerful tool to determine placement for infrastructure and buildings in relation to the raw materials underground. The models are also useful for training purposes, allowing employees to virtually explore the facilities and equipment.

    “By using MineLife VR, anyone with an Internet connection can visit the proposed mine site,” says LlamaZOO CEO Charles Lavigne. “You don’t need to fly people in to remote mine sites, which makes the planning and consultation process safer and less complicated. And more people can take a look at the mine and provide feedback.”

    The ability to virtually include more people in the consultation process is crucial during the early planning phase of a new project.

    “Until now it’s been difficult for mining companies to show community stakeholders who rely on the land for food, recreation and connection to their traditional culture what a planned mine might look like—and how it will impact the surrounding geography,” Lavigne says. That lack of information, he adds, can delay approvals for a new project.

    One reason why companies aren’t able to share that information externally? It’s often buried in spreadsheets and legacy software.

    Industrial firms in the oil and gas, forestry and agriculture industries now use LlamaZOO’s data visualization platform to unearth previously hidden information, but mining operators like Teck provided the proof of concept, Lavigne says.

    “It can be a leap of faith to invest in technology,” Lavigne says, “but many resource companies understand that without moving forward and embracing Internet 4.0, they will be out of business.”

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    Interview with co-founder Kevin Oke and business development guru Christine Gossland. see more

    Source: worksdesign.com
    Author: Kate Heron

    In Scope: Disrupting Data with LlamaZOO

    Almost half of our trends research samples used these channels to promote open innovation or innovation contents – taking the idea of user-generated content to an intriguing place. In 2018, we worked with Goldcorp to position #DisruptMining – an open challenge that offers entrepreneurs a platform to bring disruptive and exponential technologies to the mining sector. LlamaZOO was one of four finalists at #DisruptMining, and we connected with co-founder Kevin Oke and business development guru Christine Gossland to get the whole story.

    Kate Heron: Give me the elevator pitch for LlamaZOO.

    Kevin Oke: LlamaZOO is changing the way that enterprise interacts with data. We’re a data fusion company. We take complex data sets, integrate them, and make them visual and interactive. We focus on extractive industries – mining, oil and gas, and forestry – these are industries typically drowning in disparate or non-interoperable data. Rather than letting this technical data exist in different data “lakes,” we help companies build a more unified solution. Making data interoperable is ultimately what’s really changing the way the world sees their data. Creating that single source of truth is what lets them really put everything in context.

    KH: We work with so many mining companies. Tell me a bit more about the value proposition for that sector, specifically.

    Christine Gossland: We make it possible for stakeholders in different groups and business units to unite around a 3D virtual reality that’s data rich – and I think that’s unique. Project stakeholders residing in different departments are able to gain their own benefits from a software solution shared by all. Someone in sustainability or communications can explore where First Nations reside in proximity to a project, or a geologist can use the same unified data set to look at an ore body and decide where to place drill holes. Everyone is working from a single, live data set, for their own project-specific needs.

    Employees work in the LlamaZoo office in Vancouver BC. Located in Vancouver, British Columbia, LlamaZOO builds award-winning 3D communication and digital twinning solutions to help companies eliminate communication barriers, work safer and improve efficiency.

    KH: How can that support transparency?

    KO: With digital twinning, we create a replica of a physical asset that updates in real time. So when we’re talking about mining, if a pit is added to a mine or a part is changed in a haul truck, that’s reflected in our digital model. The collection of data is extensive, ongoing and always accessible.

    CG: We support transparency by building real-life virtual replicas of a project/environment on a 1:1 scale, leaving no room for misinterpretation. There is no exaggerating or fabricating. Using the VR as a space to align stakeholders and discuss decisions to be made is as if you’re relocating to site – but this time, without the PPE.

    KO: And we can accomplish this with existing hardware, or we can build and provide sensors for doing scans as part of our services. Getting the right data for our clients is part of the process. We just launched a partnership with Maptek, who is one of the world’s leading providers for mine planning and geology software and hardware.

    The cofounders of LLamaZoo demonstrate the digital twinning capacity of their software. Digital twinning creates real-life virtual models of physical assets that update in real time, allowing extensive data sets to be constantly updated and accessible to companies in the mining sector and beyond.

    KH: So the amalgamation of all of this together is where the value proposition lies? Connecting all of these things together, allowing people to have better conversations and draw more informed conclusions?

    KO: It is. But the visuals – these spatial “digital twins” as we call them – are a big differentiating factor. There are companies out there that bring data together into a dashboard, and give you a bunch of widgets. That exists. But seeing things visually can help you draw conclusions more quickly than parsing a big table database. Colour-coding, heat maps – these are the tools that help you get to the heart of the matter a lot more quickly.

    CG: What we’re proposing is that enterprise needs new methods to derive meaningful insight from existing data lakes. If your data isn’t interoperable, it has very little value and meaning. Interoperability is required to materialize 40% of that potential value. The added context that can be derived from data that is interoperable will drive insights – and then value – within your organization.

    KH: We’ve talked a bit about how your technology can be used to facilitate internal decision making. Can you share ways in which it has supported external relationships as well?

    KO: One of our clients has used the MineLife VR software for business development. They were looking to sell their stake in an asset, so it was used as an onboarding tool – to get potential purchasers exposed to the project, and into the sales funnel. It was a quick and efficient way to get them excited. In terms of impact, I would estimate they accelerated the initial stages by as much as six months. In terms of travel costs and labour, we’re looking at somewhere around $250,000 in savings.

    A virtual reality representation of a mine site. LlamaZoo’s MineLife VR software helps facilitate internal decision making and helps external companies save money by accelerating engagement and overall project timelines.

    KH: Let’s finish up by talking about innovation, and open innovation as a concept. How important are events like #DisruptMining?

    KO: Extremely. George Salamis said it best – we need to make mining sexy again. Some industries haven’t been open to working with outsiders, and have procurement processes that are challenging for start-ups. It makes things difficult for industries already struggling with a skills gap. Events like this bring new ideas to the table. That’s really exciting.

    So many industries are embracing fresh, outside opinions – even if you don’t have the “right” degree. It shows they believe what really matters is to come at problems from the right angle – not with only the “right” skill set.

    KH: Any last words?

    KO: If you have any interest in working with us or hearing about some ways that the technology might benefit you (but maybe doesn’t exactly slot in with VR), or the other things we’ve discussed, we’re happy to have a chat and see where things could go.

    LlamaZOO builds award-winning 3D communication and digital twinning solutions to help companies eliminate communication barriers, work safer and move faster. We spoke with Kevin and Christine at their office in Victoria, B.C., where they develop groundbreaking, disruptive projects – and, just like us, have some dogs around. Find out more at https://www.llamazoo.com.

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    In Feb 2017, LlamaZOO began cold-calling mining companies, a sector that uses a lot of spatial data. see more

    Source: Douglas Magazine
    Author: Shannon Moneo

    LlamaZOO’s Lateral Leap

    How it All Started

    When Charles Lavigne and Kevin Oke created LlamaZOO in 2014, the tech wizards’ intention was to build a software platform where 3D content would be used for education and training. The two post-secondary school dropouts turned video-game creators targeted university veterinary programs, a sector they felt was in need of improved methods to deliver classroom material.

    “For the last 50 years, [professors] have been teaching out of 50-year-old books. The medium they’re using to teach complex subject matter is not the best,” says Lavigne. “Why not teach the basics in 3D?”

    And thus, EasyAnatomy was hatched. It’s a learning application, using a virtual dog, that offers 3D viewing and cadaver dissection, as well as quizzes and supplementary material. Today, EasyAnatomy is used by 90 universities around the world. But while the product made vet education graphic, portable and engaging, sales did not match expectations. “It’s not easy to sell to universities,” Lavigne says...

    [ Continue Reading]

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    LlamaZOO were finalists in a major national innovation completion organized by Goldcorp Inc. see more

    Source: BusinessExaminer.ca
    Author: David Holmes

    LlamaZOO Interactive Software A Mining Innovation Competition Finalist

    VICTORIA – A Victoria technology firm successfully made it to the final four in a national competition organized by one of the country’s largest mining companies. LlamaZOO Interactive Inc., a developer of interactive and immersive 3D communications, training, and digital twin visualization software for industry, was vying for a $1 million prize being offered by Goldcorp Inc. a leader in the Canadian mining sector.

    “We recognized that BC has a very large resource sector, industries that could benefit from the type of systems that we were developing,” explained Charles Lavigne, LlamaZOO’s co-founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

    “We reached out to a number of companies, testing the waters to see if industry would be interested in the sort of technology we were developing, with Teck Resources being the first to see the potential value. We started working with them about a year ago and that’s how we developed our software for the mining industry MineLife VR.”

    In an effort to spur innovation in the sector while serving as a catalyst for the development of new ideas, Vancouver-based Goldcorp Inc. has for the past two years sponsored an innovation expo called #DisruptMining.

    A key component of the Canadian resource sector, mining is an increasingly important part of the nation’s economic mix. But as with virtually every other industry in the country emerging technologies and contemporary methodologies are changing how the industry operates.

    The #DisruptMining Innovation Expo was created to help encourage the fostering of new ideas - developments that in turn will help to empower the mining industry as it moves forward. "Our goal was to uncover the next revolutionary concept that will truly disrupt our industry.

    We were incredibly impressed by the caliber of submissions we received this year and look forward to engaging in discussions with all the semi-finalists and finalists," Goldcorp’s Chief Operating Officer (COO) Todd White recently explained.

    "The four finalists represent the innovative thinking and collaboration our industry needs to ensure mining stays relevant and does its job to fuel the 21st century economy efficiently and responsibly."

    Launched in 2014, LlamaZOO currently has a staff of about 18 and maintains offices in both Victoria and in Vancouver, creating a wide range of interactive 3D software applications. A tech start up and one of the true success stories of the VIATEC (Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council) community, LlamaZOO has carried out ground-breaking work using interactive technology to help solve real world problems.

    “We essentially developed a platform for distributing interactive 3D content, initially for veterinary medicine. But the technology platform that we developed is now being used for the mining sector, through a product we called MineLife VR, which is what got us into the #DisruptMining competition,” Lavigne explained.

    MineLife VR is a software platform which enables companies to represent a mine plan throughout its existence, from exploration to reclamation, in an interactive 1:1 scale using virtual reality.

    This technology allows its user to create greater efficiencies (and ultimately cost savings) across a full spectrum of factors such as resource management, mine planning, reclamation, exploration, community engagement as well as business development.

    From Goldcorps’ point of view, for a company to even make it to the finals in the #DisruptMining competition means they must already be an industry leader in their own right.

    “Every year we run this competition and it’s our way to look into companies that we don’t normally do business with, while opening new opportunities for people that might not otherwise have access to a firm our size,” explained Luis Canepari, Goldcorp’s Vice President of Technology.

    With more than 15,000 employees worldwide, and assets of more than $21 billion, Goldcorp is one of Canada’s largest mining enterprises. “There’s a lot of innovation coming from the smaller firms, so this competition provides them with a forum for exposing their new ideas to a much bigger audience.”

    While LlamaZOO didn’t actually win the competition (Newfoundland-based Acoustic Zoom Inc. did) merely being part of the process has dramatically increased the company’s industry exposure.

    “Being a finalist in this competition definitely has some weight to it. We’re already using the MineLife VR system with multiple Tier One mining companies, and have about five projects on the go right now all over the world,” Lavigne said.

    From Canepari’s perspective his company’s sponsoring of the #DisruptMining competition will ensure the mining industry’s expansion and perhaps even its survival in the years to come. “I believe that we need to be a catalyst for innovation in the industry.

    As a major mining company we have the responsibility to lead the way for the smaller mining companies to follow. For us to be relevant in the next 10 years we need to make an investment today to ensure a positive future tomorrow,” he said.

    www.goldcorp.com & www.llamazoo.com

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    BC’s LlamaZOO Interactive builds mines digitally before ground is ever broken see more

    Source: BIV.com
    Author: Hayley Woodin

    VR development studio unearths virtual potential

    BC’s LlamaZOO Interactive builds mines digitally before ground is ever broken

    Charles Lavigne zooms across 30,000 square kilometres of rugged British Columbia terrain. In seconds, he calls up 50 years and 300,000 metres of drill hole data with a couple of flicks of his wrist.

    It took Victoria-based LlamaZOO Interactive Inc. about a month to take nearly a terabyte of data from Teck Resources Ltd. (TSX:TECK.B) and visualize it in 3D form.

    “Within a month we had a 50-year visualization of a mine plan for a mine that doesn’t even exist,” said Lavigne, CEO and co-founder of LlamaZOO, which has offices in Vancouver.

    “That kind of blew some people’s minds.”

    According to the company, Teck Resources’ Galore Creek project in northwestern B.C. sits on one of the world’s largest undeveloped copper and gold deposits. In 2018, a variety of field programs will be conducted at the site, but on LlamaZOO’s MineLife VR platform, the work is done.

    At a one-to-one ratio, users wearing a virtual reality (VR) headset get an accurate depiction of the area’s geography, its rivers, trees and environmental challenges. They can navigate future site facilities and infrastructure and dive into the proposed mine itself. They can even see things they otherwise wouldn’t, such as the ore body in the ground.

    “You don’t need to have any particular skill sets to understand what you’re looking at. It’s essentially like you’re right there,” said Greg Brouwer, general manager of technology and innovation at Teck. “It’s actually in many ways more effective than taking people into an area physically because you can so easily and quickly see such a large area.”

    Last week, Lavigne pitched LlamaZOO’s value proposition to about 1,200 industry representatives as one of four international finalists in Goldcorp Inc.’s (TSX:G) #DisruptMining competition (see story on page 18), held last week at the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada’s annual convention in Toronto.

    While his company didn’t take home the top prize – a $1 million contract with the Vancouver-based mining giant – selection as a finalist is a high honour, especially considering LlamaZOO has been targeting the mining space for just under a year.

    The company’s story dates back to 2014, when Lavigne and co-founder Kevin Oke started out with the idea for the technology – a platform for 3D content – but without a problem to solve.

    “We kind of knew that it was coming, and it’s going to be big, and it’s going to keep getting bigger,” said Lavigne.

    Their first success came in education with a product called EasyAnatomy, the world’s first medically accurate 3D canine cadaver. Developed in collaboration with five universities, the product was designed to provide veterinary students with a more flexible learning alternative to physical dissection.

    “We didn’t know anything about veterinary medicine. We kind of went in and disrupted how they taught anatomy there. So if there’s one kind of pattern about LlamaZOO, it’s that we kind of see spaces that are ripe for disruption and go in and turn things on their head.”

    After the product launched a year and a half ago – it’s now in 120 veterinary schools worldwide – Lavigne said his team did their own post-mortem on the project. They looked at what they had done – built a way to process and visualize big data – and where else they could apply it.

    “The resource sector has tons of data and they don’t know what to do with it,” said Lavigne.

    “I truly believe that AR [augmented reality], VR and spatial data visualization is going to be one of these paradigm-shifting technologies, because it’s going to allow people to communicate around their data much quicker, faster, and collaborate around it.”

    Teck was the first mining company to jump on board with LlamaZOO, and Lavigne said his company is in conversations with 15 of the world’s top 20 producers. (His presentation at the Prospectors & Developers convention has also spurred significant interest.)

    Given Galore Creek’s remote location, Brouwer said MineLife VR has been arguably more effective than in-person visits for certain types of interactions. It has saved the company from physically taking stakeholders to the site, which is surrounded by glaciers and often covered in metres of snow. The product’s visual nature and information overlays help the company clearly communicate its plans to community stakeholders, and Brouwer said the tool has enhanced the company’s productivity and mine and reclamation planning.

    Depending on use case, number of users and project size, LlamaZOO can build a virtual mine site for $150,000 to $300,000, plus an additional software-as-a-service annual fee.

    According to Lavigne, the company’s services unlock data that may be siloed in certain departments; it makes it accessible to those who wouldn’t have the technical expertise to read geological surveys or engineering reports.

    “To date, they’ve just been using PowerPoint or aerial photos, which doesn’t really convey the scale or necessarily the environmental challenges about a specific area. And now they can actually fly there virtually,” he said.

    While the company is just getting started in the mining space, Lavigne said they’re already dipping their toes into the oil and gas and forestry industries. They’re developing their digital twinning technology – which re-creates every nut and bolt of a physical asset in digital form, allowing someone to see the real-world operation conditions remotely.

    Down the road, LlamaZOO will also look to offer services that would be financially accessible to smaller mining players – a sort of plug-and-play service that would allow companies to input their own data and customize it to their needs.

    “I think there is a realization that disruption and innovation is critical for the survival of the industry,” said Lavigne.

    “It’s accelerating at such a fast pace, and the applications need to be unearthed by working with people in the industry.”

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    Finalists include VIATEC Member, LlamaZOO Interactive! see more

    Source: PRNewsWire.com

    Four Finalists To Take Centre Stage At #DisruptMining Live Finale

    Finalists include VIATEC Member, LlamaZOO Interactive!

    Highlights:

    • The four finalists pitching their disruptive ideas and technologies at #DisruptMining are:
      • Acoustic Zoom Inc.
      • EnviroLeach Technologies
      • LlamaZOO Interactive Inc.
      • Open Mineral AG
    • Finalists to compete for the opportunity to negotiate up to $1 million investment1 for a proof of concept at one of Goldcorp's mines or direct investment in the winning technologies
    • Eight semi-finalists to showcase their disruptive ideas and technologies at the #DisruptMining Innovation Expo

    VANCOUVER, Feb. 26, 2018 /PRNewswire/ - GOLDCORP INC(TSX: G, NYSE: GG("Goldcorp") is pleased to announce the four finalists and eight semi-finalists for #DisruptMining 2018, an innovation accelerator designed to encourage new technologies and ideas to solve some of the biggest challenges in mining, with a $1M investment1 up for grabs. Over 100 impressive submissions were received, making for a difficult selection process to determine finalists. The sold-out live finale will take place on Sunday, March 4, 2018 at the Rebel Entertainment Complex in Toronto during the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) convention, where finalists will pitch their concepts in a "shark-tank" style event.

    "Our goal was to uncover the next revolutionary concept that will truly disrupt our industry. We were incredibly impressed by the caliber of submissions we received this year and look forward to engaging in discussions with all the semi-finalists and finalists," stated Goldcorp COO, Todd White. "The four finalists represent the innovative thinking and collaboration our industry needs to ensure mining stays relevant and does its job to fuel the 21st century economy efficiently and responsibly."

    The four finalists pitching their disruptive technology to the panel of judges are:

    • Acoustic Zoom Inc.: Acoustic Zoom aims to unlock the potential of Canada's mineral exploration sector with high frequency 3D imaging to help map complex geological formations deep within the earth's micro-structure.  After earning a spot as a semi-finalist in #DisruptMining 2017, Acoustic Zoom is back. A breakthrough in its ultra high-frequency 3D Borehole Seismic imaging method provides an unprecedented resolution of subsurface geological structures, while reducing 3D survey costs by up to 90 percent. Acoustic Zoom's method is intended to help exploration teams drill smarter, guide planning and achieve investment value quicker with more actionable and accurate information.
    • EnviroLeach Technologies: EnviroLeach has developed the world's only safe, stable, sustainable, eco-friendly and economic alternative to cyanide. A unique, cost-effective and environmentally friendly alternative to the current methods used in the hydrometallurgical extraction of precious metals, including the prolific use of cyanide, strong acids, mercury and smelting processes. The EnviroLeach process, a patented chemistry based on five FDA-approved ingredients, results in a product that is non-toxic, safe to use and provides similar or superior leach kinetics and recoveries to that of cyanide. It's the first economically and technically viable alternative to the use of cyanide since its introduction in the 1870s. Adoption and application of the EnviroLeach method is expected to help to reduce the environmental impact of mining, streamline permitting processes, improve occupational safety and enhance operational efficiencies.
    • LlamaZOO Interactive Inc.: LlamaZOO Interactive has created MineLife VR, a software platform which enables companies to represent a mine plan from exploration to reclamation in an interactive 1:1 scale using virtual reality, creating efficiencies and value across investor, government, and community relations; resource management; mine planning and reclamation; and business development. Founded by former game designers and developers from Electronic Arts and Microsoft, LlamaZOO's technology empowers mining companies to tell a better story with their data – making it more accessible and actionable for technical and non-technical stakeholders alike. MineLife VR represents the first time that spatial data of such a large and complex nature has been successfully synthesized into a life-sized, interactive, virtual reality experience. If a picture tells a thousand words then MineLife's VR lets you experience a million.
    • Open Mineral AG: Open Mineral, founded by former Glencore executives, is digitizing the relic practices of physical commodity trading that has operated the same way for decades.  By expanding the number of suitable metal concentrate counterparties available worldwide, the Open Mineral Exchange is transforming the way physical commodity trading is conducted. With streamlined contract negotiations and execution to increase efficiency and profitability for the participants, Open Mineral is a 'one-stop shop' for trade execution with sights on implementing blockchain solutions to further reduce processing time and costs while improving cash-flow in concentrate trade transactions. 

    Deciding the fate of the four finalists will be:

      • Blanca Treviño, President & CEO, Softtek and Director of Goldcorp
      • George Salamis, President & CEO, Integra Resources
      • Rob McEwen, Founder and CEO, McEwen Mining
      • Knott, University of British Columbia Mining Engineering student and 2017 Engineers Canada Gold Medal Student Award recipient, and
      • Wal van Lierop, President & CEO, Chrysalix Venture Capital

    The #DisruptMining Expo
    In addition to the four finalists, eight semi-finalists have been chosen for the #DisruptMining Innovation Expo. The Expo will take place on Sunday March 4, 2018 from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. EST at Rebel Entertainment Complex in Toronto. 

    • Active Minerals: Active Minerals' Acti-Gel 208 is a natural mineral additive that prevents particle build-up in slurry pipelines, allowing for more efficient transport with vastly reduced water usage.
    • Earth Alive Clean Technologies Inc: Earth Alive EA1 is the first microbial technology that is proven effective for dust control. It significantly reduces the amount of dust created by trucks driving on mine roads, creating smoother, cleaner surfaces that require less water to maintain.
    • ELEMISSION Inc: Elemission's MISSION:CORIOSITY technology is a fully-automated core scanner designed to be easily transportable and operated on-location at exploration and mining sites, avoiding the need for costly and time-consuming laboratory studies.
    • Infosys Limited: Infosys' BlastAID improves the efficiency, accuracy and predictability of blasting at mine sites, making blasting safer and reducing clean-up time.
    • Minerva Intelligence Inc: Minerva Intelligence translates human knowledge and experience into data that machines can understand, improving the machine's ability to accurately identify exploration targets.
    • Safescape: Safescape Edge Protector is a safer alternative to traditional means of edge protection on haul roads and allows for reduced haul road width.
    • Synergen Met Pty Ltd: Synergen is developing the world's only modular, transportable plant that makes sodium cyanide at the mine site, reducing transportation of hazardous materials to site and allowing for just-in-time supply.
    • VEERUM: VEERUM's Digital Twin Platform bridges the gap between what is envisioned in the planning phase of a project and the reality on the ground, allowing for more accurate decision-making, earlier in the process.

    Net proceeds from the #DisruptMining finale event will be invested in the future of the mining industry through innovation-focused scholarships.

    Goldcorp would like to again thank Co-Host KPMG and marquis sponsor Hard-Line.

    For more information about #DisruptMining, please visit: www.disruptmining.com

    About Goldcorp www.goldcorp.com

    Goldcorp is a senior gold producer focused on responsible mining practices with safe, low-cost production from a high-quality portfolio of mines.

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    LlamaZOO Interactive releases 2016/2017 Production Reel see more

    LlamaZOO Interactive releases 2016/2017 Production Reel

    [Click here to watch the video!]

    In this video you will see clips from:

    - Smart Shores: Helps community risk management visualize shorelines and potential areas of water flooding. Built in Unity, features such as texture streaming, drone/aerial image based photogrammetry and GIS data to recreate a vast open area. Real-time day/night cycle with accurate longitude/latitude representation of sun/moon and sky. Animated displacement shader for water simulation.

    - EasyAnatomy EdTech Platform: Launched in Sept 2016, the EasyAnatomy edTech platform facilitates the distribution of complex 3D educational content, includes functionality for exploring, dissecting, layering, and fading content, as well as adding custom notes, creating annotations, and 3D positional bookmarks all stored on the cloud. Students studying anatomy can access over 1000 quiz questions written by professors, and delivered through an AI based adaptive quizzing system, ensuring students study at a personally relevant cadence. Built over 2 years, the EasyAnatomy canine content was created from a base of MRI/CT scans with collaboration from leading Veterinary professors and institutions from around the world, and represents the world's most comprehensive 3D library of veterinary anatomy content.

    - Jetson MR/VR: Represents states of the art mixed and virtual reality educational content only available to our institutional clients. The worlds first VR cadaver dissection tool, allows for the exploration of the entire EasyAnatomy canine anatomy systems with room scale spatial inputs. Jetson VR was captured as a mixed reality video using Blueprint Reality's (https://blueprintreality.com/) Mixcast.

    - Mine Life VR: Developed for Teck Resources, allows for stakeholders to visualize the 50 years of mine planning data which goes into an open pit mine. Includes recreation of an explorable 10x10km region from GIS data, with year cycling to show terrain deformation, points of interest labels, and natural user interface for navigating the environment similar to Google Earth VR, without producing motion sickness. 9Gb of textures are streamed on 10 streaming landscapes equal to 30m polygons, with simulated ground level details such as grass and trees, running at +90fps on GTX 1070!

    For questions, media or project enquiries: Contact LlamaZOO Interactive at hello@llamazoo.com
    Visit our website: https://www.llamazoo.com

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    BCIC established the program with Accelerate Okanagan and VIATEC to assist small tech companies... see more

    Source:  News.gov.bc.ca

    Tech accelerators create 1,640 jobs

    An entrepreneurial program launched by the BC Innovation Council to help British Columbians transform their ideas into successful businesses is helping drive B.C.’s growing tech sector.

    Over the past five years, the Venture Acceleration Program has created 1,640 jobs, attracted $196 million in investment and generated more than $81.6 million in revenues provincewide.

    “B.C. boasts many innovative thinkers who are choosing our province as the place to start their technology companies,” said Amrik Virk, Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens' Services. “The Venture Acceleration Program helps harness those ideas and bring local innovation to market more quickly, growing our tech sector and creating jobs.”

    The program helps entrepreneurs bring ideas to market faster, like LlamaZOO’s revolutionary 3D veterinary training platform, EasyAnatomy.

    “Participating in the Venture Acceleration Program gave us a formula and process to make sure we did the right things to validate our product, from finding and defining the customers to segmenting the market,” said Kevin Oke, LlamaZOO Interactive co-founder and vice-president of sales. “It was really instrumental to our success.”

    The program also helps experienced tech developers hone their business skills and make new connections, such as AirSenze Solutions and FreshWorks Studio founders Samarth Mod and Rohit Boolchandani who joined the program after immigrating to B.C.

    “We decided to stay in Victoria and start our own mobile app development company after completing our masters of business administration at the University of Victoria,” said Samarth Mod, AirSenze CEO and co-founder. “Participating in the Venture Acceleration Program at VIATEC provided us with mentorship, helped us get office space and network. Most importantly, by attending their fireside chats and other local tech meetups, we got to know the local tech community and learn from the experience of industry veterans.”

    The Venture Acceleration Program is delivered by a team of experienced professionals known as Executives in Residence, who act as mentors to help aspiring entrepreneurs bring new ideas to market more quickly, using a set of best practices for growing tech companies. Every entrepreneur in the program is assigned an Executive in Residence who becomes their primary advisor, often acting like an active member of their management team.

    “In just five years, program participants have successfully generated over $81 million in revenues through locally generated ideas, products and services,” said Carl Anderson, president and CEO, BC Innovation Council. “I couldn’t be more proud of the accomplishments of our entrepreneurs provincewide, which I’ve witnessed first-hand when I was an Executive in Residence for BC Innovation Council’s Venture Acceleration Program.”

    The BC Innovation Council established the program with Accelerate Okanagan and Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council (VIATEC), to assist small tech companies, which make up the majority of B.C.’s tech sector, develop growth opportunities.

    “Programs like Venture Acceleration are incredibly important to B.C.’s growing small business sector because they allow entrepreneurs and start-ups to hone their skills and grow,” said Coralee Oakes, Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction. “With the majority of the high-tech industry made up of small businesses, it’s essential to have the right support to help them achieve their goals.” 

    The Venture Acceleration Program supports the #BCTECH Strategy by helping B.C. tech companies develop revenue growth opportunities.

    The #BCTECH Strategy is a key component of the BC Jobs Plan to support the growth of B.C.’s vibrant technology sector and strengthen British Columbia’s diverse innovation economy. The multi-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 throughout the province.

    In partnership with its Crown agency, the BC Innovation Council, the Province continues to drive tech through B.C.’s second #BCTECH Summit, March 14-15, 2017, with made-in-B.C. tech innovations, thought-provoking keynotes and networking opportunities. To register or learn more, go to: http://bctechsummit.ca 

    Quick Facts:

    • As of February 2017, the Venture Acceleration Program has trained more than 995 entrepreneurs from over 589 companies.
    • The program is supported by the BC Acceleration Network, which is made up of 14 partners in nine regions throughout B.C. including:
      • Accelerate Okanagan Technology Association (Kelowna)
      • Bioenterprise (provincewide)
      • Bulkley Valley Economic Development Association (Smithers)
      • entrepreneurship@UBC (Vancouver)
      • Foresight Cleantech Accelerator Centre (Surrey)
      • Innovation Central Society (Prince George)
      • Innovation Island Technology Association (Nanaimo)
      • Kamloops Innovation
      • Kootenay Association for Science and Technology (Rossland)
      • New Ventures BC (provincewide)
      • Sumas Regional Consortium for High Tech (Mission)
      • VentureLabs (Vancouver)
      • Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council
      • Wavefront (Vancouver)
    • 95% of B.C. tech firms are small businesses, with most employing fewer than four employees.

    Learn More:

    BC Innovation Council: http://bcic.ca/

    Venture Acceleration Program: http://bcic.ca/for-entrepreneurs/vap/

    #BCTECH Strategy: http://bctechstrategy.gov.bc.ca/

    LlamaZOO Interactive: http://www.llamazoo.com/

    AirSenze Solutions: https://www.airsenze.com/

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    2 major post-secondary institutions have adopted EasyAnatomy, the company's groundbreaking... see more

    Two major post-secondary institutions have adopted EasyAnatomy, the company's groundbreaking veterinary education software.

    Victoria, BC (August 18, 2016) LlamaZOO Interactive Inc. is pleased to announce two major post-secondary institutions have adopted EasyAnatomy, the company's ground-breaking veterinary education software. This announcement comes as LlamaZOO Interactive has been selected by Microsoft as a "first wave" developer for its new Hololens augmented reality platform, and continues to demonstrate how 3D can be used in education.

    EasyAnatomy borrows strategies from cognitive neuroscience to update course materials, in real time, according to the needs of the learner.  Students’ performance is analyzed to create individualized quizzes, increasing study time efficiency.

    "EasyAnatomy is a truly innovative EdTech software product that promises to revolutionize post-secondary education for both students and educators, for a variety of subjects" said LlamaZOO co-founder and CEO Charles Lavigne. "Students can now study the complexities of animal anatomy in 3D, online, anywhere and at any time. With the early promise of how virtual and augmented reality can benefit education, we’re excited to continue to advance the product and innovate in the space.”

    The University of Pennsylvania, home of the oldest medical school in North America and the Western College of Veterinary Medicine, also one of the oldest school of its kind in Canada, will provide their students and faculty with EasyAnatomy. The interactive software incorporates MRI and CT scans into its detailed 3D models of animal anatomy and is available to anyone with an online subscription.

    "Anatomy has always been a difficult subject to learn and teach. EasyAnatomy is a novel tool that allows students to explore and understand anatomy in a way that's never been possible before," says Dr. Chris Clark, an Associate Dean at Western College of Veterinary Medicine. "We're excited students and faculty can take advantage of this revolutionary software."

    The two new major customers have signed on as LlamaZOO Interactive prepares to successfully end beta development of EasyAnatomy and start offering the EdTech software in app stores and via the LlamaZOO Interactive website.

    "We're really excited that two of the oldest and most prestigious medical and veterinary schools in North America have decided to adopt EasyAnatomy," said Kevin Oke, LlamaZOO Interactive co-founder and Vice President of Sales. "These two new customers, plus the prestige of being selected as a developer for Microsoft's new Hololens project, provide strong validation of how EasyAnatomy promises to transform post-secondary learning. We will continue to refine, develop and add value to EasyAnatomy going forward."

    About LlamaZOO Interactive Inc.

    LlamaZOO Interactive was co-founded in 2014 by video game industry veterans Charles Lavigne and Kevin Oke, and was quickly accepted in the VIATEC Accelerator program that fosters successful technology startups in Victoria, BC. The company continues to grow at a rapid pace and is currently recruiting developers for a number of positions, with the intent on delivering highly engaging, interactive, and meaningful educational content to iOS/Android, Augmented, Virtual, and Mixed reality devices.

     

    Media Contact:

    Beca Espírito Santo
    HR & Communications Coordinator
    beca@llamazoo.com
    www.llamazoo.com
    www.easy-anatomy.com
    +1(604) 260-4507

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    Three Victoria Companies make New Ventures BC Top 42 see more

    Over the past three weeks a panel of 54 jury members have been reviewing submissions from 138 ventures. The scores have been analyzed, and the results are in!

    The top 15 will advance directly to Round 3, while the remaining 27 Ventures will make a pitch to a jury on June 14th. Congrats to Victoria companies ChatterHigh, Integrated Tracking Technologies Inc. and LlamaZOO Interactive for making the cut!

    Top 15 – advance directly to Round 3 (in alphabetical order)

    1. Appfabriqa Creative
    2. CuePath Innovation
    3. Dooly.ai
    4. Iris Automation
    5. Jane Software
    6. Loom
    7. Mangrove Technologies
    8. Meatme.co
    9. Microdermics
    10. Riipen
    11. Sensible Building Science
    12. sidebuy.com
    13. Spare Labs
    14. VeloMetro Mobility
    15. VisualPing

    Round 2.5 – placing 16-42 (in alphabetical order)

    1. AVA Technologies
    2. Billie’s List Booking
    3. ChatterHigh Communications (Victoria company)
    4. Clarison Medical Corporation
    5. Copypants Creator Technologies
    6. eTrove Incorporated
    7. Head Check Health
    8. Insurecert Systems
    9. Integrated Tracking Technologies (Victoria company)
    10. Ionomr
    11. Lazymeal
    12. Leapfrog.bid
    13. LifeBooster
    14. LlamaZOO Interactive (Victoria company)
    15. Metrics LifeSciences
    16. Metronome Growth Systems
    17. Nourished Babe
    18. Novarc Technologies
    19. Ophthalight Digital Solutions
    20. Portable Electric
    21. Skaha Remote Sensing
    22. Starling Minds
    23. Switchboard
    24. TIPSO-NZTech
    25. Upward Solutions
    26. Voxiter Technologies Incorporated (Signl.fm)
    27. YodelTECH

    Companies will pitch on June 14th; 10 will move on to Round 3. Stay tuned for our Round 3 announcement on June 16th.

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    10 to Watch winners include three VIATEC Members and a VIATEC VAP Program Participant! see more

    Douglas Magazine is excited to announce the winners of their seventh annual 10 to Watch Awards. These awards highlight the very best of Vancouver Island’s new businesses.

    Victoria, BC - April 7, 2016 - The winners were announced at an awards ceremony last night at The Union Club in downtown Victoria and were selected by an independent panel of judges that included business owners and representatives of the University of Victoria Peter Gustavson School of Business and Royal Roads University School of Business. The 2016 10 to Watch winners include three VIATEC Members and a VIATEC VAP Program Participant!

    The winners are:

    “These 10 winners are an inspiring group who dare to think different,” says Lise Gyorkos, whose company Page One Publishing produces Douglas magazine. “Not only do they demonstrate innovation and a dedication to their businesses, they embody the entrepreneurial spirit that the 10 to Watch Awards were created to champion.”

    Now in their 7th year, the 10 to Watch Awards recognize Vancouver Island's best new companies, which have been in business for three years or less. Previous winners include: DeeBees Organics, Flytographer, Indochino, SendtoNews, Rumble Energy Drink, Parc Modern Interiors, Cook Culture and Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre.

    Douglas is Vancouver Island’s business magazine, published by award-winning Page One Publishing. Page One also publishes YAM Magazine, Victoria’s lifestyle magazine, and Salt, a Vancouver Island travel and lifestyle magazine for Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver readers.

    Douglas Editor-in-Chief, Kerry Slavens and select winners will be available for interviews, upon request. 

    For further information and interviews, contact:

    Kerry Slavens, Editor-in-Chief, Douglas Magazine

    Cell: 250-516-0152

    Phone: 250-595-7243

    Email: kslavens@pageonepublsihing.ca

     

    ABOUT THE WINNERS:

    E-Quick Eco Courier (Victoria), http://www.e-quick.ca/

    Can a courier company make the world a better place? E-Quick Eco Courier is a zero-emissions courier, delivery and distribution system that promotes sustainability and environmental awareness in everything it does.

    Easy Job Quote (Victoria), http://easyjobquote.com/

    An online marketplace that brings homeowners and contractors together for a fair bidding process, Easy Job Quote helps homeowners prepare projects for tender and its blind bidding system simplifies the process for contractors.

    Echosec (Victoria), https://www.echosec.net/

    This tech company is making waves globally with its location-based social-media monitoring and analytics platform. From city happenings to war zones, Echosec takes you beyond the nightly news, straight to the people posting.

    Enigmatic Events (Victoria), http://www.enigmaticevents.com/

    This event planner helps your business by facilitating team building. Enigmatic Events provides a "gameful" way of doing meetings, allowing for real results that carry over into a business’s project work.

    Joma Environmental (Victoria), http://jomaenv.ca/

    A triple-bottom-line company focused on protecting the quality of our drinking water, soil and air, Joma Environmental’s waste and recycling systems manage contaminated-site remediation, emergency–spill response, hazardous waste-disposal and ecological reclamation.

    LlamaZoo Interactive (Victoria), http://www.llamazoo.com/

    An edtech platform that allows veterinary students to learn anatomy from 3D digital models instead of textbooks and dissection, LlamaZoo helps students become more engaged and universities reduce the big costs of running labs.

    Resthouse Sleep Solutions (Duncan), https://resthouse.ca/

    Sleep specialists who know that one-size-fits all doesn’t work when it comes to bedding, Resthouse Sleep Solutions focus on customized solutions and organic options to help its customers get the best night's sleep.

    TellWell (Victoria), http://tellwell.ca/

    A self-publishing company that gives its authors 100-per-cent net royalties, TellWell makes its money on services rather than mark-up and book sales, keeping its authors’ best interests at heart.

    The Wandering Mollusk Oyster Catering Co. (Victoria), http://www.wanderingmollusk.com/

    This boutique catering company’s passion for oysters is turning Victoria into a mollusk-lover’s paradise, as The Wandering Mollusk brings its ocean-to-table philosophy and a contagious enthusiasm for the seafood to its venues.

    Toque Catering (Victoria), http://www.toquecatering.com/

    A catering company that knows farm-to-table is more than a trend, Toque Catering uses local and sustainable products in its aim to fill an untapped niche in a Victoria market that craves upscale comfort food and customizable menus.

    ____________________________________________________________________________
     
    Athena McKenzie | Associate Editor
     
    Page One Publishing Inc
    580 Ardersier Road, Victoria, BC V8Z 1C7
    T 250-595-7243 | F 250-595-1626 | www.pageonepublishing.ca
     
    YAM magazine | DOUGLAS magazine 
  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    Interest from Vancouver has hit an all-time high for Victoria. see more

    Source: Bloomberg News / National Post
    Author: Katia Dmitrieva 

    March 14, 2016 - Kevin Oke had a Vancouver millennial’s dream job, working as lead designer at a video-game company whose clients included Atari and Ubisoft Entertainment SA, but he still couldn’t afford a house. So he left his native city.

    “Housing in Vancouver is insane — it was insane when I left and it’s more insane now,” said Oke, who co-founded educational-software company LlamaZoo Interactiveafter moving to Victoria in 2014. “If you’re trying to do the startup thing full-time, it would have been really difficult with all the expenses.”

    Oke, now 33, is part of the millennial retreat from a city where housing prices have skyrocketed at a faster pace than even in San Francisco, another North American technology locus. Rising costs are putting Vancouver’s vaunted growth engine at risk as the city hemorrhages people employed in tech and new media for more affordable locales, including Victoria and Kelowna. The flight of millennials from Vancouver is similar to trends found in other cities with soaring home prices.

    Rising Prices

    Vancouver was ranked the third-least-affordable housing market in the world this year, after Sydney and Hong Kong, by consulting firm Demographia. It was the eighth straight year the city occupied a top-three spot.

    The price of a typical Vancouver home rose 21 per cent to $775,300 in January from a year earlier, according to the city’s real estate board. That compares with a 14 per cent increase to a US$1.1 million median in San Francisco, according to residential-data website Zillow. Vancouver home prices have risen partly as a result of foreign buyers — from China and elsewhere — investing in property.

    Rentals are hard to come by, and just as unaffordable. The vacancy rate of 0.8 per cent is one of the lowest in the country, and the average monthly rent of US$937 for a bachelor suite is tied at highest with the cost in Toronto, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. Rents for newly built units and renovated basement suites are pricier.

    Millennials Retreat

    As housing costs have risen, so have the number of people in their twenties and thirties leaving the city. The net number of people age 18 to 24 added to Vancouver’s population was the lowest ever last year, at 884, and the number of 25-to-44-year-olds decreased by about 1,300, the biggest decline since 2007, according to Statistics Canada.

    That’s led startup leaders, including Ryan Holmes, founder of Vancouver-based Hootsuite Media Inc., to lament the loss of talent.

    “Unaffordability is emptying Vancouver of one of its most valuable assets — young people who grew up in the city and who are invested in it,” Holmes wrote in a Financial Post op-ed in February.

    Along with Ontario’s Waterloo region, Vancouver is often likened to Silicon Valley, San Francisco and Seattle for its startup scene. The city’s tech industry employs more people than oil and gas, forestry and mining combined, and it’s set to help lead economic growth among Canadian cities for the next four years, according to the Conference Board of Canada. Mayor Gregor Robertson created an agency to tackle the housing crisis, with a goal of delivering 2,500 low-cost units by 2021, among other targets.

    Seeking Tenants

    That driver of growth may evaporate as talent exits Vancouver, said Christine Duhaime, founder and executive director of the Digital Finance Institute, which supports Canada’s financial-technology industry. She’s having a tough time filling a 2,000-square-foot (186-square-meter) open-concept office for startups in Vancouver’s historic Gastown neighborhood she opened this year because potential tenants say they’re leaving the city for Victoria, Kelowna and as far away as London and Singapore.

    “We’re banging our heads on the wall,” she said. “Why aren’t they staying? Because it’s too expensive. Vancouver is going to lose its tech edge.”

    One of the main recipients of the brain drain is Victoria, or “Tectoria” as it’s sometimes known, which opened a tech incubator in 2014 to accommodate the growth of what’s now a $4-billion industry in the city employing about 23,000 people. Billionaire investor Terry Matthews has injected capital into startups on the island, once known as the home of “newlyweds and nearly deads.”

    “Interest from Vancouver has hit an all-time high for us,” said Dan Gunn, head of the Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council. “People in Vancouver are starting to look around and realize, ‘I may not be able to afford a home here.'”

    Innovation Centre

    Kelowna is another city seeing a recent flow of millennial housing refugees from British Columbia’s biggest city. The town of 123,000 is in the midst of building a six-story innovation centre for startups and Accelerate Okanagan, an organization that supports local tech companies.

    Karen Olsson, chief executive officer for Kelowna-based software company Community Sift, says it’s getting easier to recruit people from bigger cities because they’re drawn to the lifestyle that includes farm-to-table dining, hand-roasted organic coffee and local beer.

    “Kelowna is much more affordable — it’s a big piece of the sell for sure,” Olsson said. When she and her husband moved to Kelowna in September, they traded a 2,700-square-foot, $800,000 house in Squamish, a suburb 45 minutes away from Vancouver, for a 5-acre (2-hectare) farm in Kelowna that was $200,000 less and closer to downtown.

    Now that he’s in Victoria, Oke, of LlamaZoo, said he misses Vancouver’s “shiny bustle” — until he leaves his apartment, a five-minute jog from the beach, and walks only 10 minutes to his office in space above a coffee shop that also houses a dozen other startups.

    “I don’t know how many more good things I want to say about Victoria,” he said after ticking off myriad benefits of living in the city. “Then more people will come and push housing prices up.”

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    Tech enthusiasts gathered at Fort Tectoria to hear from a panel of entrepreneurs in YYJ's tech hub see more

    Source: CBC All Points West

    Tech is a $3B industry in Victoria, with 900 companies responsible for 2,200 jobs

    Tech enthusiasts gathered at Fort Tectoria Friday morning to hear from a panel of entrepreneurs in Victoria's burgeoning tech industry, hosted by CBC British Columbia as part of its Inspiration Series.

    CBC Radio One's On The Island host Gregor Craigie and All Points West host Robyn Burns asked three panelists about startups and Victoria's future as a leader in the tech world.

    "With 900 tech companies, 22,000 employees and over $3 billion in total revenue, it's hard to deny: the old stereotypes are dead," said Craigie.

    The panel discussion, called Victoria 2.0, covered topics ranging from gender imbalance in tech companies to the impact of a low Canadian dollar on local businesses.

    Why Victoria?

    The three panelists had a range of experiences and came from a variety of backgrounds, but when it came to talking about why they chose Victoria as a place to live and work, they all agreed: Victoria is a close-knit community and that's good for startups.

    "One of the great things about Victoria is it is a smaller community, you're able to really make those deep connections," said Nicole Smith, founder of Flytographer.

    Best of all, the city is affordable, she said.

    "And you're actually able to afford a house."

    Smith worked in Vancouver and Seattle before moving back to her hometown on the island seven years ago.

    Charles Lavigne moved to Victoria three years ago from the Lower Mainland.

    "It really came down to the community. It was just so inviting and so supportive," said the co-founder and CEO of LlamaZOO.

    "I think Vancouver is a lot bigger, so it's more dispersed."

    Entrepreneur Brad Van Vugt said choosing between the Silicon Valley and Victoria was easy. The small B.C. city offers something other places don't, he said.

    "You have this incredibly tight community, incredibly dedicated, smallish group of founders, but they're trying to do big things," said Van Vugt, co-founder and CEO of Sendwithus.

    "If you go to a larger city you're going to get a lot more noise."