OneFeather Mobile Technologies Ltd posted an articleHow challenging is it to launch a successful tech startup on Vancouver Island? see more
After helping more than a hundred First Nation Bands across Canada conduct a variety of mission-critical voting events including referendums and elections, one successful First Nations startup based in Victoria is providing safe and secure voting technology to professional associations across Canada.
Lawrence Lewis and his Victoria-based team behind the successful First Nations technology company OneFeather are getting ready to launch another new software product. SmartBallot is a voting registration and vote management tool that makes it easier for organizations to engage and communicate with membership, conduct mission critical voting events, carry out legitimate decision-making and reduce the costs and strain of administrative management.
In this interview, Lewis discusses some the lessons he's learned while building technology businesses on Vancouver Island.
How challenging has it been to launch a successful tech startup (OneFeather) on Vancouver Island?
Lawrence Lewis (LL): While OneFeather has been able to take advantage of a local Victoria accelerator program for startups, it has been very challenging. Compared to other tech startups, access to capital for First Nations early stage companies and young entrepreneaurs is essentially non existent.
Going out and raising capital is equally hard. This is because traditional VCs do not understand the First Nations space, and consequently cannot evaluate the very real opportunities that exist in this growing market.
On top of that, there are just not that many First Nations programmers or other highly qualified technical experts in emerging technologies or innovating new ones.
How has your team overcome these challenges?
LL: OneFeather’s approach has been to build our business one client at a time with a solid core product offering and value proposition. It takes a little longer to build up an inventory of clients, but by focusing on individual clients needs we have been able to develop trust and really strong word-of-mouth. We’ve built a service and product our clients will happily refer to others.
This approach has served OneFeather well, and has kept us lean and focussed on service and product development that truly matters to our clients.
You already have a successful career as an administrator and community leader. What made you decide to develop, commercialize and market your own software solution?
LL: At some point I had to make a choice. I had to decide: do I support, or do I lead?
Either choice makes sense, depending on who you are and what your goals are. But for me, running my own company and building a vision for something I believe in requires a certain fortitude and commitment. And it’s not for the faint of heart because there are a lot of ups-and-downs and mistakes along the way. You have to be prepared to learn and adjust all the time, and grow both as a person and as a company.
Building something new and disrupting elections, referendums and governance -- a space that has for the most part continued to oppressed First Nations people through its antiquated processes -- is something I am excited to tackle each and every day.
What has made your success so far possible?
Quite simply, building a company around aboriginal values and principles has made our success possible. We strive to lead with integrity. We speak the truth and stay solution focussed. These values not only ensure we provide a valuable service that facilitates sustainable governance and bringing communities together, but also helps us build a technology that customers trust so much they recommend to others.
What encouragement do you have for people with a First Nations or indigenous background who are considering an entrepreneurial path?
I am a big believer in hard work. Entrepreneurs must be focussed, and we must be determined.
Successful technology entrepreneurs must be smart about how we invest our precious, limited time. This means reading everything about the business you’re in, and surrounding yourself with good advisors and mentors.
We must also not be afraid to fail, which means we always need to be testing assumptions and what is regarded as “truth”.
Finally, we need to make sure that what we are working so hard toward is something that is inspiring, brings satisfaction and will leave the world or community a better place.
Lawrence Lewis, a technology entrepreneur based in Victoria, is the CEO of OneFeather. Lewis and his team will soon launch SmartBallot, a voting registration and vote management tool that makes it easier for organizations to engage and communicate with membership, conduct mission critical voting events, carry out legitimate decision-making and reduce the costs and strain of administrative management.
Nadia Tatlow posted an articleIn an email to partners this week, Google shared some plans to launch their new web interface. see more
Victoria, B.C. — In an email to partners and G-Suite administrators earlier this week, Google shared plans to launch a new Gmail web interface soon.
Google described the new interface as “a fresh, clean look for Gmail on the web” with some exciting additions like “Smart Reply on the web, just like on mobile.”
Shift, a desktop built by the team at Redbrick, has released exactly what the new designs will look like within Shift, allowing Gmail customers to access all of the new features and easily switch between multiple Mail, Calendar and Drive accounts.
The Compose button, and right-hand views for Calendar, Keep, and other Google apps are displayed inside Shift, which will handle the multiple account matrix for Gmail customers with several accounts, as well as third-party apps and extensions like Slack, WhatsApp, Trello, Evernote, Grammarly, LastPass, and others.
“All of the right-hand views for Google Apps will be similar to a mobile view, and easier for at-a-glance Calendar view when writing an email and trying to plan a meeting at the same time. For the full week or month view, Shift offers Gmail customers an easy way to toggle between multiple Mail and Calendar views and accounts, ” said Director of Product, Michael Foucher.
The ability to “snooze” emails and have them returned to your inbox later is another nice addition. Many Gmail users will appreciate having that functionality built right in. Another new Gmail feature, Offline Support, will give Shift customers much more flexibility when looking to get stuff done while off the grid.
For more information about this story, please contact:
+1 (250) 216-0019
Lorne Duncan posted an articlePetroglyph now holds the distribution rights to offer TILOS software. see more
Trimble TILOS – The Globe’s Leading Linear Scheduling Software Software – Announces Victoria, BC based Petroglyph Project Analytics as dealer across North, Central, South America
Victoria, B.C., July 27, 2016– Today, Petroglyph Project Analytics, a Victoria, BC. owned and operated engineering support company, announced they’re expanding into Central and South America. An authorized reseller of Trimble’s TILOS, a world class linear project planning tool, Petroglyph now holds the distribution rights to offer TILOS software provisioning, sales, support and training services into the Americas.
Of the company’s recent success, Lorne Duncan, President and Founder of Petroglyph says “We’ve been the distributor for TILOS in North America since 2008. We’re honoured that Trimble has acknowledged our successes in the North American market and is extending us the opportunity to work farther afield. It’s very exciting!”
The expansion is a natural evolution of the company’s offerings. “We’ve been providing consulting and workshops in South & Central America for years, as our client base tends to move around quite a bit. This expanded distribution means we can more effectively help our clients optimize and better execute their linear projects, no matter where in the Americas they are.” Duncan explains.
In many cases, Petroglyph can provide TILOS sales, licensing and related services from any of their locations. “While we can provide our products and services effectively from our locations in Canada and the US, we’re excited to travel to meet and work with new clients within our expanded territory.”
About Petroglyph Project Analytics:
Petroglyph Project Analytics is a Victoria BC. based engineering support company that helps their clients optimize, plan and execute their projects by providing world class linear project planning products and services. Petroglyph has worked with many of the leading global companies in the pipeline and infrastructure planning and construction industries. For more information please visit tilosamericas.com or call Lorne Duncan at +1 800 983 2826 ext. 101
Redbrick posted an articleRedbrick Releases New Desktop Application To Make Navigating Multiple Gmail Accounts Easier see more
Victoria, B.C. -- Leading Canadian software provider Redbrick announced today the release of Shift: a new native application for desktop that helps simplify and streamline the navigation of multiple Gmail accounts.
With Shift, the company’s goal is to address the many workarounds that Gmail users commonly resort to when managing their various accounts, such as running multiple browsers simultaneously, setting up different users in Chrome, and adding email accounts and aliases to their primary Gmail account.
“Many people today rely on multiple Gmail accounts and G Suite apps like Docs, Drive and Calendar for both personal and business purposes. One of the biggest frustrations users face is constantly needing to toggle between these multiple accounts,” said Redbrick CEO Tobyn Sowden. “You might need to view the Calendar for one account and Drive for another. That means logging in and out of the corresponding account or opening up multiple browsers or tabs, and generally cluttering up your browser. We built Shift to eliminate those pain points.”
Shift is available as both a free and a Pro version for a yearly subscription of $19.99. The basic plan offers support for multi-account access; a sleek, clutter-free desktop application; easy switching between Mail, Calendar, and Drive; native desktop notifications; and cross-platform support for Windows, Mac, and Linux.
The Pro package is available to users for a free 30-day trial with access to several additional features. In addition to the features that come standard with basic plan, Pro plan upgrades include unlimited inbox accounts and support for additional email providers like Outlook, and a removal of the “Sent with Shift” signature.
Shift’s preview launch gained traction with a sizeable list of early adopters and garnered highly positive feedback.
In addition to their newest consumer-facing product, Redbrick also commands an ever-growing portfolio of B2B offerings focused on user engagement and solution-driven technology.
Redbrick was recently ranked 5th fastest-growing business in Canada and 2nd fastest-growing Canadian software company in the 28th annual PROFIT 500. The company reported growth of more than 8,200% between 2010 and 2015 and over 500,000 users across 200 countries and counting to date.
Redbrick’s latest release perfectly aligns with the growing number of email users worldwide that regularly maintain multiple personal and work email accounts, most specifically Gmail accounts -- the world’s largest email service which now represents over one billion daily active users.
When asked about what excited him most about the newest product launch, Sowden said, “The
simplicity and convenience that Shift delivers directly translates to an improved ability to stay on task and significantly greater productivity all around. That was our goal straight out of the gates, and that’s ultimately what we were able to accomplish.”
Shift is now available to the public as of December 20, 2016. Those interested in trying Shift Pro free for the first thirty days can learn more here.
For more information about this story, contact:
Tessa Bousfield posted an article“Teaming up with one of the world’s best hardware manufacturers makes sense for us.” see more
Foundry Spatial teams up with hardware manufacturer, FTS
A match made in natural resource heaven..
Victoria, BC (October 27, 2016) - Next month Ben Kerr, CEO and Senior Water Scientist at Foundry Spatial will be at the Latornell Conservation Symposium in Ontario, meeting with conservation authorities, government and non-profit workers, students and others interested in making sound environmental decisions. That’s nothing new – Ben regularly shares his data analysis expertise with others (and regularly shows off the Fountainhead software he designed to do it).
What’s new is for the first time Ben is at a conference with a hardware manufacturer, Forest Technology Systems (FTS) – an environmental monitoring company with more than 30 years of experience and an international footprint.
“Teaming up with one of the world’s best hardware manufacturers makes sense for us,” says Kerr. “We’re happy to build innovative software, and leave the bullet-proof hardware design to the experts.”
Foundry Spatial’s Fountainhead software is “technology agnostic,” meaning that it works with any kind of database, regardless of the hardware used to collect it, and whether it is stored in the cloud, on a machine, or on a local network.
“FTS has a proven track-record of building reliable hardware for collecting data in extreme environmental conditions,” says Kerr. “And we have a proven track-record of building reliable software that turns that data into actionable information. It’s a match made in natural resource heaven.”
How does it work?
Fountainhead rapidly and accurately accesses and aggregates water data, then generates beautifully-presented online reports to users, including easy-to-understand charts and graphics:
- see current water conditions in the context of historical monitoring
- explore how past years data compare to the present, how much variability has been observed during a customizable time period, and how different time periods compare
- understand your data side-by-side other publically-available monitoring networks
All you need is a web browser to access the power of Fountainhead’s sophisticated data analysis and rendering tools. It does all the work for you.
Fountainhead is used by federal, provincial/state and municipal governments; industries including oil and gas, mining, forestry and agriculture; environmental groups; First Nation communities; and a wide range of recreational users, including fishers, kayakers, and other adventurer lovers. A few places to see Fountainhead in action:
Cariboo Water Tool: http://cariboo.bcwatertool.ca/stream
BC Water Portal: www.bcwatertool.ca/waterportal
Alberta Water Tool: www.alberta-watertool.com
Atomic Crayon Web Development Ltd. posted an articleJust in time for summer, the District of Saanich’s new website has been released into the wild. see more
Some may say that we are bloomin’ crazy at Atomic Crayon - and we might even agree - but we love to change the landscape of municipal web design. Just in time for summer, the District of Saanich’s new website has been released into the wild.
The District of Saanich is the largest municipality on Vancouver Island with more than 110,000 people and without a doubt one of its most beautiful. The community cultivates urban and rural neighbourhoods with 169 parks, more than 100 km of trails, four recreation centres, numerous beaches and amenities for all ages. It truly showcases the island's incredible natural beauty at its finest.
When the District let us know we'd won this project, we didn't beat around the bush. We dove right in, pruning the information architecture to make a lean website that would still be able to easily grow in the future.
The design team focused on the mixture of urban, suburban and rural elements and cultivated one of our freshest designs to date. The new site also showcases a wealth of powerful features, including a new harvest of our expansive modules that is saturated with award-winning accessibility, social media integration, online submissions, District spotlights, event calendar, tender opportunities and much, much more. This is no garden variety website!
We also integrated of a number of custom applications, including a Carbon Fund Calculator, Webcam integration, Online Submissions and Searchable Libraries.
The website utilizes our enterprise-level content management system, ElementCMS. After providing the District staff training on this robust CMS, they are now able to update the website themselves, thereby ensuring content is fresh as a daisy.
The site is live and our work is done. Time to hit the hay!
This project brought to you by Atomic Crayon
Press release available here
Craft Technology Services Corp (Craftt.com) posted an articleVIATEC Accelerator company, Craftt, closes strategic partnership with ContainerWorld. see more
Victoria, BC - December 14th, 2015 - Craft Technology Services Corporation (Craftt) is excited to announce a recent partnership with ContainerWorld Forwarding Services Inc., a leading logistics provider to the alcoholic beverage industry.
ContainerWorld has made an equity investment in Craftt. The two parties have also entered into a consulting agreement in which Craftt’s web knowledge and expertise will aid ContainerWorld in improving the software and services they offer to their clients.
“This is an ideal partnership for us and for ContainerWorld. Our services complement each other really well. ContainerWorld is the industry leader in logistics and Craftt is the easiest way for a brewery to manage their inventory and orders.” says Ryan Stratton, founder of Craftt.
“Together, we can provide a full-service platform for breweries to manage their business all the way from manufacturing through to the product being delivered to their customers.”
Craftt’s brewery management software is designed specifically to help craft breweries stop keg loss and get better insight and control over their inventory. With powerful reporting features, breweries can significantly reduce the time they spend on creating regulatory reports to send to the relevant governing bodies. The recent investment will go towards growing the development team, among other things, to further improve Craftt’s software.
“We want to make Craftt the go-to platform for breweries, helping them manage their inventory, and their business, efficiently.” Stratton goes on to say. “Through this strategic partnership, we will be able to ensure craft brewers make the most of their time by simplifying these often complex aspects of the job.”
Unlike spreadsheets or expensive, bloated Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems, Craftt’s software makes it easy for every brewery employee to quickly access and manage their inventory and assets in real time through any smart device. Understanding current inventory and capacity levels allows breweries to make better decisions when it comes to production, customer orders, and distribution, and allows them to have a comprehensive overview of what resources are available in the brewery at any given time.
Partnering with ContainerWorld will provide Craftt’s clients with additional benefits, giving them direct access to one of the best logistics and distribution companies in the beverage industry today.
Craftt is a Victoria, BC startup and part of the VIATEC Accelerator program. They build innovative tools and services to modernize and simplify the way beverage companies manage their business.
ContainerWorld is a multi-faceted company based in British Columbia. They provide clients with worldwide door-to-door logistics services, including inventory management, freight forwarding, warehousing, and distribution.
Silkstart Importer posted an article"This place has a very entrepreneurial attitude.” see more
Source: Globe & Mail
Author: Sean Silcoff
Burgeoning tech companies are on the rise in Canada, attracting funding and IPO buzz in hubs across the country. The Globe & Mail's occasional series explores how each locale nurtures its entrepreneurs, the challenges they face and the rising stars we’re watching.
Owen Matthews found the perfect way to convince his father, Ottawa tech pioneer Terry Matthews, to invest in a startup in his home base of Victoria: The company, Echosec Systems Ltd., can track social media postings by their geographic origin, so to demonstrate the power of the tool, the younger Mr. Matthews showed his father what had been posted to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram in the vicinity of his house. What showed up during the demonstration eight months ago shocked the billionaire: 15 pictures, including one of his grand-daughter, on his property. The first thing the elder Mr. Matthews did was track down the posters to get them to remove the pictures. The next thing he did was invest. “I like this tool, it clearly has a lot of value,” he told his son, who noted that the technology is already used by military and law enforcement agencies.
While Terry Matthews is known as one of Ottawa’s most prominent tech investors, he and his son have also poured money and time into Victoria, another government town with a surprisingly buoyant tech ecosystem. Victoria does not have any big tech companies, but it has enough small and medium-sized firms that the sector – not government or tourism – is the top employer in the metropolis of 344,000 people. The Victoria Advanced Technology Council says there are 900 technology companies employing 15,000 people in the area, generating $4-billion in economic impact. “Most people go to Vancouver and miss Victoria because it’s a cute government town,” Owen Matthews says. “But this place has a very entrepreneurial attitude.”
Mayor Lisa Helps argues that Victoria’s climate, abundance of restaurants, local beer and coffee, rental units and pleasant lifestyle options (“work here ends at kayak o’clock”) make it a magnet for startups. “What works in our ecosystem that makes us unique is small companies that grow rapidly and punch away above their weight on the world market,” she says.
It’s certainly helped by the Matthews family: Owen Matthews, 43, came to University of Victoria to study computer science and psychology and never left, starting a telecommunications software company in 1998 and selling it to Vancouver’s CounterPath Corp. in 2007 (the Matthews family owns close to 30 per cent of the stock).
He’s since helped develop the local startup scene by convincing several government and industry bodies, along with his alma mater and father, to fund the creation of the non-profit Alacrity Foundation, dedicated to helping nascent entrepreneurs get on their feet.
Owen Matthews argues that the first six to 12 months of an entrepreneurial enterprise is too early for serious investors to commit financing. So the foundation offers training, space, mentorship, access to industry players and expense money to help get B.C.-based business and engineering graduates on their feet as entrepreneurs. The idea is that if they flourish at Alacrity, there may be investors ready to jump in after a year.
Sure enough, several companies that have graduated from the program have landed seed investments, from the Matthews family and others. They include telecommunications software startup Tutela, online marketing firm Pretio and Echosec.
Karl Swannie, a former partner of local geospatial technology firm CloverPoint who heads Echosec, argues that “you have to be good in Victoria to survive. Your software has to be good enough to make it off the island. Because if you don’t do well, you die.”