Attendance ballooned to over 1000 guests making it one of the largest celebrations of its kind... see more
17th Annual VIATEC Awards prove
Greater Victoria’s #1 industry not slowing down
VICTORIA, BC (June 18, 2018) – Last Friday night at the Royal Theatre, the VIATEC Awards celebrated the innovation and excellence of individuals and technology companies responsible for making Victoria the fastest growing technology region in British Columbia. A record breaking total of 54 finalists were honoured, with 16 recipients receiving new robot trophies (designed by Russell Papp), at the elaborate show. Attendance ballooned to over 1000 guests making it one of the largest celebrations of its kind in the nation.
Known for going over the top in the crowded pantheon of business award galas, Erin Skillen took the reigns as host for this year’s production. Billed as an “Art Deco Cabaret”, the night featured five variety show acts from Atomic Vaudeville and a powerful finale accompanied by "the Choir and the Chorus" and, in what has become an annual tradition, flying inflatable Killer Whales. A stunning set designed and built by local artist “Jimbo” Insell and Studio Robazzo framed the stage and was brought to life by immersive video projections from Hololabs and reactive lighting by Limbic Media. The resident “Vecima Ritz” live band brought the audience to their feet, and everyone continued the celebration at the After Party with local talents Rara Avis and Distant Grand.
“It is our honour to produce a show that brings together and entertains our tech community and we relish the opportunity to highlight and celebrate some of our top performing companies and executives,” said Dan Gunn, CEO of VIATEC. “Each year gets more elaborate and we cannot say enough about our local arts community and what they bring to make this event the unique and anticipated festivity it is has become.”
Technology Company of the Year
Sponsored by Farris, Vaughan, Wills & Murphy LLP
Technology Company of the Year
Sponsored by University of Victoria
Emerging Technology Company of the Year
Sponsored by KPMG LLP
Startup of the Year
Sponsored by Bambora
Product of the Year
Sponsored by RBC Commercial Financial Services
Innovative Excellence - Software or ServiceDelta-X Research
Sponsored by Grant Thornton
Innovative Excellence - Hardware
Sponsored by BDC
Team of the Year
Sponsored by Royal Roads University
Employer of the Year
Sponsored by Engaged HR
Leader of the Year
Sponsored by Corporate Recruiters
Valerie Foster, JSF Technologies
Emerging Leader of the Year
Sponsored by Roy Group
Sarah Gulbrandsen, RingPartner
NAMED RECIPIENTS (No finalists):
Colin Lennox Award for Technology Champion
Sponsored by Reed Pope LLP
Angel of the Year
Sponsored by Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP,
and Presented by Capital Investment Network
VIATEC Member of the Year
Sponsored by Cox Taylor Lawyers
Jim Hayhurst & Ian Chisholm
Sponsored by the City of Victoria
For full profiles on all the finalists, photos and more, please visit www.viatecawards.com!
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
Darrell Groom can expect, at a moment’s notice, to be sent on a service call anywhere on Earth. see more
Source: Field Service Digital
Author: Nevin Thompson
Plumbing the Depths: A Roving Tech Team Keeps Scientific Expeditions in Shipshape
From his home base in Halifax on Canada’s Atlantic coast, Darrell Groom can expect, at a moment’s notice, to be sent on a service call anywhere on Earth. It comes with the territory for a project manager whose clients include navies and scientific organizations around the world.
Groom’s company, AML Oceanographic, employs about 40 people on both coasts of North America and in Scotland to design, manufacture and service a variety of hydrographic surveying systems that navies, government agencies and private companies use to collect a variety of oceanographic data, including water salinity, temperature, and the topography of the seafloor.
Groom, however, is focused on the AML’s Moving Vessel Profiler, or MVP, product. He leads a team of six engineers and services technicians who keep the company’s MVPs operating wherever in the world the systems might be deployed.
The MVPs consist of hardware, high-tech electronics and software, though each model varies in size and complexity depending on customer needs. Components include a mechanical crane and computer-controlled winch to lower and raise the device into the ocean, and a torpedo-shaped device that’s towed behind the ship. Roughly the length of a human arm, the tow body is studded with sensors that beam readings to a computer onboard the customer’s ship.
So far, about 130 MVP systems have been sold around the world. Clients include navies (to map the sea seafloor and spot submarine hideouts), oil and gas companies (to survey potential undersea drilling sites) and scientific agencies (to conduct oceanic research or to update coastal undersea terrain that changes constantly because of storms and underwater currents). These organizations rely on the MVP to improve data quality and to contain mission costs. But the complex devices require regular maintenance, which often falls to customers. And that can create problems.
The MVP allows research institutes, navies and businesses to collect a variety of oceanographic data to profile the water column.
Once a survey mission is complete, the crew responsible for MVP’s maintenance might rotate off the vessel, leaving the system unused as the ship and its crew pursue a different mission.
“Similar to a car, our equipment may not work when you try to fire it up, and sometimes a system will experience problems only a few days before a survey,” says Groom, who has a background in electrical engineering.
That, Groom says, is when his field service team gets called to fix the problem.
Making On-the-Go Research Possible
The MVP is so prized — and Groom is so very much in demand as a troubleshooting service tech — because the system can significantly reduce the cost of survey missions.
Using conventional survey technologies, a research vessel must make frequent stops to collect profiles of the water column by dropping and retrieving sensors and other instruments. This start-and-stop method is expensive and time-consuming — ocean survey missions costs can spiral to hundreds of thousands of dollars per day — and also increases the risk of damaging equipment as crews deploy the equipment into the water.
The MVP solves this problem by allowing crews to collect data simultaneously from the vessel and the tow body while the ship is on the move. The computerized winch uses locational data from both the tow body and the vessel itself to automatically adjust the depth of the tow body to avoid the seafloor. This means the vessel can follow its survey pattern without ever needing to stop and retrieve the tow body and its array of sensors.
Since costs from even brief outages or downtime add up quickly, Groom says customers are willing to fly his team in to fix problems they can’t fix themselves. AML offers service contracts, or customers can opt to pay on an as-needed basis. Scheduled maintenance is sporadic, he says, because the systems are designed to be highly reliable.
Groom recalls a recent call from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the agency responsible for charting U.S. coastal waters, which had a problem downloading data from the MVP. “They needed someone to go up to Alaska right away.”
Groom spent one day planning the trip and caught several flights for the 14-hour journey from Halifax to Ketchikan at the southern tip of Alaska’s panhandle. But his trip wasn’t finished yet.
“When I arrived at the harbor they were waiting for me with a Zodiac inflatable boat to take me out to the survey vessel,” Groom says. “It turned out that the tow body was slightly damaged, so I improvised and MacGyvered a solution that allowed them to collect data and continue the survey.”
Groom’s service calls, as well as trips to install and set up MVP systems have taken him on some memorable trips, including cruises from the Azores and between American naval bases in Okinawa, Japan, and Saipan.
“When I arrived in Saipan, I realized I was booked into a five-star vacation resort, so I was forced to stay there for a few days until my flight home to Halifax,” Groom jokes.
One of his most memorable service trips was to Ireland, where thieves stole most of his tools from the back of a rental van. While transporting the MVP to Dublin, Groom and the client spent the night at a hotel close to the airport. There were concerns in the area about theft, so Groom backed the van against a chain-link fence.
“The thieves simply cut open the chain link fence, pried the doors open, and stole all of my tools,” says Groom.
But the story has a happy evening: He was able to improvise with borrowed gear, and Dublin police eventually recovered the stolen tools.
For the most part, service calls out at sea are for unusual problems that stem from neglect or preventative to keep the reliable MVP systems in shipshape.
AML provides training and documentation to its clients on how to use and maintain the system, but Groom says that institutional knowledge isn’t always transferred between crews as they rotate through survey vessels.
“As people move through the ranks they take a lot of valuable knowledge about operating the MVP with them,” says Groom.
He recommends that customers deputize at least one person on each vessel to own upkeep and maintenance for the system.
“It can be difficult for customers to perform daily, weekly and monthly maintenance,” he says. “Someone needs to have ownership of the MVP, but for the most part this doesn’t happen. They just want it to work when they do a survey.”
As a result, Groom is certain he’ll keep getting phone calls to depart at the drop of a hat to almost any place in the world to service the MVP.
Featured image courtesy of Pexels. All other images courtsey of AML Oceanographics.
ABOUT NEVIN THOMPSON
Nevin Thompson is a journalist, copywriter and a content strategist who works in a variety of different verticals.
Biggest thing holding back the growth of our tech community is our ability to attract exp. talent see more
Author: Dan Gunn - CEO, VIATEC
Getting Victoria's Tech Sector to $10billion by 2030
VIATEC's strategic goal is focused on getting Victoria's tech sector from $4 billion to $10 billion in revenues by 2030. We call it the 10/2030 plan. We believe that the biggest thing holding back the growth of our tech community (just like everywhere) is our ability to attract experienced, senior talent. We need people who have scaled big, know what it takes and how to do it.
That said, those people are rare and have lots of options. Our companies have appealing opportunities for them but, in the eyes of those desired candidates, we do not have enough breadth and depth. As such, great candidates often look to larger cities where they feel more confident that there are a long list of viable companies that can use and would want their talents. It's a safer bet.
To create more of the critical mass and awareness we need, the development of locally grown anchor companies are key. We call them Whales and are aiming to support the emergence of a $1b company with 1,000 staff. We would consider four new $250m or ten new $100m companies also a success. It's not so much about adding a $1b in revenue to the total as it is what companies like that can bring. The critical mass provided by bigger companies create attention, spinoffs and leadership that knows how to build great companies. This benefits every part of the ecosystem...big and small.
The emergence of more locally founded and built anchor companies is a long-term goal. So, what do we do in the meantime? We set out to identify the highest potential leaders and companies and we provide them with advanced skills training. We're not turning our back on medium size companies, lifestyle ventures or start-ups. We're focusing on building great leaders and every organization needs those. Programs that support our highest potential leaders and ventures will benefit the entire community.
Imagine our $4.06b tech sector and its 16,775 employees were one entity. That would make it a Fortune 500 company (or at least close). The vast majority of companies that size have programs designed to identify their top performers and their highest potential team members so that they can provide them with professional and personal development and training.
That's what we want to do at VIATEC. Offer a Top Talent program to our members so that we can build the leaders we need to take us to $10b.
An executive asked [Lem] if genetics could have caused a bad reaction to pot... see more
Source: Canadian Press via Times Colonist
Author: Tara Deschamps
Canadian tech companies look to cash in on cannabis with innovations and apps
TORONTO — One of John Lem's first hints that the technology behind his DNA testing company Spartan Bioscience could be a hit with cannabis users, came years ago when an executive asked him if genetics could have caused a bad reaction to pot.
The question intrigued Lem so much that he eventually applied Spartan's technology to a new Toronto-based venture called Lobo Genetics. Through Lobo, he created a genetic testing device that fits in the palm of a hand and uses cells obtained through a cheek swab to measure a person's ability to metabolize THC — the main psychoactive component in cannabis — and determine someone's predisposition to short- and long-term side effects.
Lobo believes it could be a hit with health-care practitioners and medical marijuana users, but has also recently experienced a flurry of interest from the recreational industry.
"We thought the med pool was going to be first in terms of adoption, but dramatically on the rec side, there are a lot of potential opportunities," Lem said.
The boom Lem is seeing puts Lobo Genetics among a wave of tech companies benefiting from the Oct. 17 legalization of recreational cannabis in Canada.
Already the pot tech industry has seen the debut of Toronto start-up Strainprint Technologies Inc., which makes it easy to track and manage the dosage and effects of pot, and California-founded Weedmaps, which helps users find locations throughout Canada where they can buy the substance. Also cashing in on the pot tech rush are Ottawa-based Shopify, which powers provincial and private marijuana e-commerce offerings, and cannabis companies like Lift & Co., which runs a reviews app.
"There has been no shortage of entrepreneurs getting out there," said Dan Skilleter, Lobo's director of policy and communications. "The last year has been so busy for cannabis and certainly Lobo saw the opportunity."
Skilleter and Lem said Lobo has only launched on a pilot basis, but is already seeing enthusiasm.
Those high hopes have spread to Winnipeg, where Save the Drive is readying a platform that allows people to hire a personal shopper to buy and deliver weed.
Its chief executive officer Chanel Graham said it has yet to launch because of weed shortages and required changes to legislation, but legalization has already brought a spike in interest.
"I am surprised how many people reached out right on Oct. 17, hoping that we were in operation," said Graham. "We have had quite a few customers contacting us."
The same is true for cannabis-centric social networking platform High There!
The Florida-based venture, which helps users find buds to, well, smoke buds with, said it has seen a 300 per cent increase in sign-ups since legalization and plenty of those new users are based in Montreal, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver.
Over at Strainprint, chief executive officer Andrew Muroff said users in Calgary, Vancouver and Toronto have flocked to its product the most.
Strainprint, which has focused on medical marijuana users but works just as well for recreational users, launched the day before legalization to take advantage of the attention pot would garner.
However, with its launch and legalization lining up, Muroff said, "We did see a lift, but it is hard for me to know if it came from legalization."
The newest tech firm to open doors in Victoria commands a stunning view of the region see more
Brazilian software firm Daitan Group finds right environment in Victoria
From its ninth-floor window at the corner of View and Douglas streets, the newest tech firm to open doors in Victoria commands a stunning view of the region.
It’s that view, and what’s tucked within that idyllic scene and the buzz of the city, that convinced Augusto Cavalcanti, founder and chief executive of Brazilian software firm Daitan Group, to open the company’s first development lab outside of South America. For the software company, which develops custom products for its clients, Victoria ticked a lot of boxes.
“I wanted a city that would offer to our employees a great environment,” said Cavalcanti. “Victoria is very in line with the principles and values of the company.
“We want to offer a great work environment, developing top technology, as well as a great environment for living life and that’s what we found here,” he said. “I came to Victoria and saw the family orientation, schools, parks and a good quality of life.”
It took a year of planning, research and deal making to get to the point of opening the Victoria office. Much of that heavy lifting was done or facilitated by the South Island Prosperity Project, which Cavalcanti said has made the transition easier.
“Daitan Group is a prime example of the ideal type of company SIPP works to attract. It’s a values-driven, innovative, growing company that believes in putting their employees first and creating a healthy work environment,” said SIPP chief executive Emilie de Rosenroll. “We helped Daitan Group analyze the opportunity in the region. We knew [they] would be a good fit, and their decision to move here reflects Greater Victoria’s ability to compete in the broader region.”
Cavalcanti said in Victoria he saw strong similarities to Campinas, São Paulo, where the Brazilian company started, as the south Island offers a strong technology community, universities and a culture that understands the importance of work-life balance.
It doesn’t hurt that Victoria is also strategically well-placed to service the bulk of Daitan’s U.S. clients, most of which are in Silicon Valley.
Daitan, which has 665 employees, already has a small executive, sales and customer service team in Silicon Valley, but Cavalcanti said in order to build what he hopes will be a team of more than 100 developers within the next two years he needed a city that was more affordable than Silicon Valley while having a talent pool to draw from.
He also noted the type of work they do — collaborate with companies to develop custom software — requires a lot of face-to-face interaction.
“To build a team there you face the difficult cost and the lack of available people,” he said. “The whole Bay area it’s immensely difficult to hire people.”
He understands Victoria will have problems like that as well, but he said a company culture that stresses work-life balance, offers challenging work and takes care of its people should help Daitan attract talent.
He intends to draw from the local talent pool as well as recruit from across Canada and internationally when possible.
“The whole world wants [software developers]. Who offers the best environment in terms of work as well as living I think will retain those guys and that’s why we chose Victoria,” he said.
Dan Gunn, chief executive of the Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council, said that decision is another sign of the strength and appeal of Victoria’s tech industry.
Last week, NetMotion Software announced it will open a fourth international headquarters with a team of five people in Victoria.
As for the intense competition for talent, Gunn said all firms are facing the same situation.
“We have to find a way of growing our companies in the face of that, which means attracting people from other places and graduating more people [into the workforce],” he said. “We are still growing at such a pace that we are struggling to fill the vacancies we currently have.”
Daitan opens in Victoria with a team of 10, chosen from the company’s Brazilian operations. Cavalcanti said he is excited at the prospect of growing the new Victoria venture.
Application Deadline to apply: Thursday, November 15th at 11:59 pm CST see more
Showcase your emerging technology product or service at 2019 SXSW Pitch
Application Deadline to apply: Thursday, November 15th at 11:59 pm CST.
Take advantage of the opportunity to showcase your emerging technology product or service in front of industry leaders by participating in the 2019 SXSW Pitch (Formerly Accelerator).
This event takes place on March 9th and 10th as a part of the SXSW Festival, during which you can improve your product launch, attract venture capitalists, polish your elevator pitch, receive media exposure, build brand awareness, network, socialize and experience all that SXSW Interactive has to offer. The deadline to register is Thursday, November 15that 11:59 pm CST., a few months away, so visit
SXSW Pitch Application Fee $220
Of the 453 companies who participated in SXSW Pitch between 2009 and 2018, over 71% received funding, with combined funding in excess of almost $5.43 billion (does not include undisclosed grants, angel and seed funding). Of these 453 companies, 16% have been acquired by the likes of Google, British Telecom, Huffington Post, Apple, Live Nation, OpenTable, Constant Contact, and Harmon. Some of our prestigious alums you may know include Klout, Hipmunk, Wildfire, Tubemogul, Siri, Foodspotting, and Tango.
Launch date eligibility requirements:
· The company’s product or service must have launched no earlier than March 9, 2017;
· The company’s product or service must not launch after June 9, 2019;
· Each company may only enter one product or service to SXSWPitch;
· A company that enters more than one product or service will not be eligible to participate in SXSWPitch;
· Founders of the company applying must retain some portion of ownership in the company;
· Each applicant is only eligible to present in one of the SXSW family of startup events (SXSW Pitch, SXSW Pitch Release It, SXSW Pitch Launchedu). In contrast, if you have applied for one of these events (other than SXSW Pitch), and were not accepted to participate, then please feel free to apply to SXSW Pitch.
· The Company must not have raised over ten (10) Million Dollars in funding from combined funding sources; and
· The product or service must fall into one of the SXSW Pitch categories.
Applicants must be within one of the ten categories:
Augmented & Virtual Reality
Enterprise & Smart Data
Entertainment & Content
Health & Wearable
Social & Culture
Sports & Performance Data
Transportation & Delivery
We SXSW announce the Judges before the event?
Past Judges Include: Tim Draper of DFJ, John Sculley of Apple/Pepsi, Robert F. Smith of Vista Equity Partners, Constantijn van Oranje of Startup Delta, Tim O'Reilly of O'Reilly Media, Paul Graham of Y Combinator, Kay Koplovitz of Springboard Growth Capital/USA Network Co-Founder, Naval Ravikant of AngelList, Guy Kawasaki of Alltop, Cyan Banister of Founders Fund, Werner Vogels of Amazon, Shervin Pishevar of Sherpa Capital, Christine Herron of Intel Capital, Mark Suster of Upfront Ventures, Albert Wenger of Union Square Venture, Bob Metcalfe of 3Com/Ethernet Co-Founder, and Laurie Segall of CNN to name a few…
Where can I get more Information?
Visit the SXSW Pitch website athttps://www.sxsw.com/apply-to-participate/sxsw-pitch/
As a female developer these are some things I want in a company before I decide to join see more
Author: Leigha Mitchell
I’m a woman in tech, and this is what I want in a company
As a female developer these are some things I want in a company before I decide to join, and once I’m a part of the team.
I want to see other women
The first thing most people do before interviewing or even applying for a job is look at the company careers page. If it’s plastered with pictures of white guys in flannel with beards, that’s a red flag. If the exec team is all white men who look like they could be my father that’s another one. When you’re a small team and those are the cards you’re dealt, it’s harder to get around that. But you can always put a statement on this page explaining the fact you want to diversify your team and why. Another trick I’ve seen is having a clearly female silhouette saying “This could be you!”.
Once I’ve made it past the careers page, I want to see them in person. It’s always important to have women in the interview process, but especially when the candidate is also a woman. This makes me feel more comfortable with asking certain questions, and offers an opportunity to ask things only another woman in tech could answer. Even if there aren’t currently women on the team I’d be joining (red flag) bring someone from another team in for a culture interview.
I don’t give a shit about your “amazing culture”
Everyone has great culture and you’re all best friends, I get it. This is so common in startup land that it’s meaningless. I’ve worked at these places, and I promise you what is an amazing culture for one person can be horrible for another. I want you to prove it. I want to meet members from every team, I want to chat with them and get to know what they’re like. It’s important for me to know that these are people I’m going to work well and grow with, and that they want to do those things with me.
“Many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.”
– Obi Wan Kenobi
I don’t care that you have a ping-pong table, or a keg, or free snacks. I care that the CEO leaves on time to pick up her kids during the week, that the holidays are for spending time with your family, and that when the guy in marketing got engaged to his boyfriend everyone went out for lunch to celebrate. Those are the things I want to see, and the team I want to be a part of.
Tell me how you’re going to help me grow
The moment I get stagnant, I get bored and I move on. That is a huge factor in why I became a developer in the first place. There’s always something new to learn, or practice, or build. This means growth and projection are extremely important to me and I’ve learned the hard way to make sure that is clear from the beginning.
I, like a lot of other women, am very passive when it comes to asking for raises or promotions. Having an outline of expectations for each level of developer helps with this. Now I have a guideline and I know exactly what I need to do to meet those expectations. It also helps reduce the opportunity for discrimination. Everyone knows what is expected for each level, and for each salary. You either meet the requirements, or you keep working at things until you do.
I should forget that I’m a minority, but be supported when I remember
It should never be painfully obvious that I’m the only woman in the room. In an ideal world I won’t be, but sometimes that is still the case. We are adults and everyone should be treated with respect and equally, but that is a whole other conversation. It’s great to have a CEO or a few advocates in the company who support diversity, but if it’s not a part of every employee’s mentality it won’t happen.
If I bring something to the attention of a manager or member of the exec team, like concerns about lack of diversity or the treatment of women in tech, it should be taken seriously. If it’s within the company their help is crucial, but if it is a more broad concern I want to know that I have their support. If I tell them I want more women to get into tech I want them to say “So what are you going to do about it?” and know that they will push and support me.
Help me fight my imposter syndrome
Everyone knows about Imposter Syndrome these days and it’s something I suffer from. Especially as a woman in tech, and extra especially as a more junior developer. I’m incredibly hard on myself so it helps to have a team that will have my back in the fight. I don’t mean that I want to be told how awesome I am, I want real advice. I want to know that my mentors started out where I did, I need to be told to step back and look at the big picture and not the day to day.
“The dark side clouds everything. Impossible to see the future is.”
That being said, it is also beneficial to be on a team that will tell other peoplehow awesome you are. A lot of people don’t like to brag or bring attention to their accomplishments, that’s why you need to do it for them. Seeing others be supportive of their team mates and brag about other’s accomplishments is a powerful thing. That is an environment you can’t fake, and everyone deserves to be a part of.
I’ve been lucky enough to find a company like this, but for those still looking this is what I would expect and demand. For companies looking to hire more women and diversify your teams, I hope you learned something.
Nine students from Victoria and the Gulf Islands were selected to attend see more
Author: Nicole Crescenzi
Esquimalt High student gaining STEAM experience this summer
SHAD program offers young people opportunities to practice innovation
While summer vacation has just begun, 1,000 students from across Canada, including Emily Doerksen from Esquimalt High, have just finished their first week at a month-long educational opportunity.
SHAD is an award-winning program focused on enrichment and entrepreneurship in science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM). High school students from across the country are selected to attend the program at one of Canada’s hosting universities, though this year even more diversity is added as the program runs at 16 host universities from coast to coast. This year the program runs July 1 to 27.
Nine students from Victoria and the Gulf Islands were selected to attend, and Doerksen is stationed at the University of Saskatchewan.
“It’s been really interesting, and nothing like I have learned in school,” she said during a break from the program’s exercises. “We’re an amazing group of people, we’re so passionate about similar things yet we’re all so different.”
Doerksen, who just finished Grade 11, first heard of the program from her cousin, who urged her to apply after having a great experience herself.
“I was so excited because I knew SHAD would push my limits in innovation, which I haven’t had a chance to do that at school,” Doerksen said.
In the first week, the 63 students on campus were divided into groups and given two smaller design projects focusing on helping people in northern Saskatchewan who lost their homes in a fire.
“We had to use designs with very limited supplies, and we’ve really been getting our ideas rolling with the project,” Doerksen said. “We’ve also had quite a few lectures that were very interesting on things like financial savings and how to be a good entrepreneur.”
The groups were also presented with a large final project that they will present at the end of the program, the theme of which is: building up resilience against natural disasters.
So far the experience has definitely met Doerksen’s expectations.
“Some of these exercises are really putting all of us out of our comfort zones, and I can already feel myself becoming more confident. I’m usually shy and don’t like sharing my own ideas, but in this group we can make amazing things we couldn’t do on our own.”
After the program wraps up, students will join the ranks of nearly 17,000 other SHAD alumni. For Doerksen, this is a stepping stone toward her post-secondary studies.
“I want to pursue something within the field of science,” she said. “I’m not sure which one, and that is also a big reason why I wanted to attend SHAD, because it helps us explore different fields.”
Government is seeking third parties to launch and operate a “women entrepreneurship knowledge hub" see more
Author: Jessica Galang
Government Announces RFP to Compile Data on Women Entrepreneurs
During Montreal’s Startupfest, Minister of Small Business and Tourism Bardish Chagger announced that the government is accepting proposals from companies that could help it collect data on how best to support women entrepreneurs.
The government first announced its intention to collect “disaggregated data” on women entrepreneurs in Budget 2018, which had a large focus on women entrepreneurs. The budget earmarked $9.5 million over three years for proposals on collecting gender-based data on entrepreneurs.
Chagger expanded on its request for proposals during the event. The government is seeking third parties to launch and operate a “women entrepreneurship knowledge hub,” which will collect and compile information on women entrepreneurs and inform the development of support tools for women entrepreneurs. “This data will also help us establish best practices that women entrepreneurs can use to further their entrepreneurial journey in Canada.”
This year’s budget had a major focus on women entrepreneurs; $1.4 billion in loans over five years is being allocated to women entrepreneurs through BDC, with the overarching goal of doubling the number of women entrepreneurs by 2025. Chagger said that the four core pillars of it’s Women’s Entrepreneurship Strategy include helping women-led businesses grow, increasing access to capital, improving participation in the innovation economy, and enhancing data on women entrepreneurs.
“This is a key area where data is missing and to better understand women entrepreneurs and to help them and support them, we need this data,” said Chagger.
The Minister made the announcement during one of BDC’s Women in Technology bootcamps, which works to foster business skills and financial literacy for women. The bank’s bootcamps were also part of the initial Budget 2018 announcement, and will take place across Canada.
The news is timely, as this morning Female Funders announced a new report on the state of venture capital with Hockeystick. The report drew on data from public sources like Crunchbase and data from angel and VC groups, finding that just 14 percent of Canadian VCs are women.
The deadline for proposals is September 7. More information is available on the government website here.
Virtually every aspect of the city's tech scene is influenced in some way by UVic Engineering. see more
Author: Mitch Wright
Tech Sector's strength tied to UVic Engineering
UVic's Faculty of Engineering has been a part of Victoria's flourishing tech community from the very beginning. With students in co-op positions, faculty working with startups, and alumni as CEOs, virtually every aspect of the city's tech scene is influenced in some way by UVic Engineering.
VIATEC puts their FREE tech expo on at the Crystal Garden Feb 23, 2018 from 11am to 6pm see more
DISCOVER TECTORIA TO SHOW OFF LOCAL TECH WITH ONE-DAY EXPO
VIATEC puts their FREE tech expo on at the Crystal Garden Feb 23, 2018 from 11am to 6pm
Victoria, BC (February 22, 2018) - Discover Tectoria is the Island's BIGGEST Tech Expo and it’s taking over the Crystal Garden from 11am to 6pm on February 23rd. This year’s showcase features 76 booths over two floors, a great lineup of panel discussions, science demos for kids, VR experiences, a “Jam Hut”, samples from Victoria Beer Week, the Spirit of Tomorrow car and more. The expo, organized by VIATEC (Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology & Entrepreneurship Council), will feature a:
Main floor Tradeshow
(local companies demonstrating products, hiring talent and co-op students)
The Creativity Hub, sponsored by BC Public Service Agency
(A collection of interactive tech displays, showcasing our city's most excellent creativity)
Startup Alley, sponsored by Work BC
(get a sneak peek at the future of Tectoria)
The UVic Research District
(see some amazing projects post-secondary students have put together)
The Innovation Theatre, sponsored by TD Canada Trust
(a line-up of great talks and panel discussions - schedule TBA soon!)
The Combustion Chamber
(Science Venture LIVE demos for the kids!)
Partner Row, sponsored by Royal Roads University
(a group of incredibly useful organizations that serve businesses and the community).
VIATEC is once again taking full advantage of the tri-district Pro-D Day scheduled on the same day and is encouraging parents to bring their kids to enjoy a full day of exploration.
Youth get a glimpse into a future working in tech, post-secondary students and job seekers get to meet potential employers, local and visiting investors can check out some up-and-coming businesses, and tech companies get to showcase their products and services to thousands of attendees.
“We created this event in 2003 to showcase the innovation taking place right here in Victoria,” explains Dan Gunn, CEO of VIATEC. “Discover Tectoria gives our local tech companies a platform where they can be seen and heard by investors, media, job seekers and youth. We are aiming to draw out 4,000 attendees, many of which will make up the leaders and vital team members of our community in the immediate and near future. There’s no better way to inspire our future tech workers than filling a space with all the opportunities, creative minds and unworldly inventions.”
Simultaneously, VIATEC, the City of Victoria, the Capital Investment Network and NACO are hosting the Western Regional Angel Summit for a contingent of visiting angel and VC investors which kicked off on February 21 and runs until the February 23. Invitees are experiencing first-hand the city’s highly sought after quality of life, including how easy it is to travel to and from Victoria, the vibrancy of our innovative business community and the depth of our local deal flow. The trip will finish with a visit to Discover Tectoria.
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
ArticleCanadian mobile games company DoubleJump has acquired local developer TinyMob. see more
Canadian mobile games company DoubleJump has acquired local developer TinyMob.
DoubleJump has released titles such as mobile RPG Slash Mobs and platformer Grappling Garry in the past. It was co-founded by Ian Stapleton, also known as SSundee on YouTube where he has eight million subscribers.
TinyMob meanwhile has previously developed multiplayer strategy title Tiny Realms, which received a Gold Award from our sister-site Pocket Gamer and has been played over 10 million times worldwide.
The team consists of industry veterans from EA, Disney and Microprose (now Glu Mobile).
More to come
Following the deal, TinyMob co-founders Alex Mendelev and Jamie Toghill will take on executive roles at DoubleJump.
DoubleJump said is still looking to grow its portfolio and that further acquisitions and publishing deals are on the cards.
"I am thrilled for the future of our company,” said DoubleJump Games co-founder Ian Stapleton.
“We’re very excited to accelerate the execution of our influencer strategy and bring amazing games to new audiences."
He added: “Following this deal, we are excited to focus on plans for future growth, including the growth of both the company and its portfolio. We are looking to help other games studios with strategic distribution and look forward to introducing high-calibre games to millions of new players around the world.”
"The PNW is getting less attention than it deserves, especially considering the great things that... see more
Source: Times Colonist
Author: Andrew Duffy
B.C., Pacific Northwest tech sectors start network
In a bid to bring B.C. and the Pacific Northwest together to help grow the region’s technology sectors, a broad section of organizations in the province, Washington and Oregon have launched the Cascadia Venture Acceleration Network.
Nearly 50 groups, including tech organizations, universities and investors, have signed on to the network, which will try to match startups with funding, among other initiatives.
“B.C.’s tech sector is firing on all cylinders, with businesses and researchers increasingly looking to work together on a larger scale,” said Bruce Ralston, B.C.’s minister of jobs, trade and technology. “[This] will help B.C.’s homegrown talent connect with partners across the Pacific Northwest region to boost our economy and create new jobs here in B.C.”
In its early stages, the network will focus on information technology, life sciences and clean-tech sectors.
Dan Gunn, chief executive of the Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council, said signing on was a no-brainer.
“Of course we wanted to be part of that,” he said. “There’s obviously an opportunity for people close to each other to support each other.”
Gunn said the network might go a long way toward elevating the region and putting it on the map.
“One thing the Pacific Northwest lacks is having the same weight that maybe some other regions have, at least in terms of how it’s perceived,” Gunn said. “The Pacific Northwest is getting less attention than it deserves, especially considering the great things that are happening there.
“[The network] could start to address that, or at least play a role in addressing that.”
There are 17 founding members from B.C., including VIATEC, along with 19 from Washington state and 12 from Oregon.
Event will feature stories & insights of business professionals, entrepreneurs & women in technology see more
Source: Times Colonist
Author: Andrew Duffy
SheBiz at St. Margaret’s School to expand horizons
As many as 200 young women will get a chance to peer into their own futures on Friday as St. Margaret’s School in Saanich plays host to SheBiz, a day-long program designed to expand the horizon for promising young students.
The program, which is being overseen by the Victoria chapter of Women in Capital Markets — a network of women in the Canadian capital markets — is in its sixth year and is making its first stop in Victoria.
According to Tamara Bonn, co-chair of WCM Victoria’s steering committee, the day will feature the stories and insights of business professionals, entrepreneurs and women in the technology sector. The hope is that it will open the eyes of young students to what is available to them beyond the traditional courses of study in university.
“Studies have shown that while young girls have really strong skill sets in STEM [science, technology, engineering and math], the reality is they are not going into those fields in university,” said Bonn, portfolio manager at TD Wealth. “One of the problems is they may not have female role models, or mentorship, to illustrate what a real-life career would look like for them.
“We want to make sure their eyes are open to the various options. And the skill sets women have are so desirable in our world right now, but it still seems like there are huge barriers for them.”
The event will run at St. Margaret’s for young women in Grades 10 and 11 from 10 area high schools.
There will be presentations from accomplished women from a wide variety of businesses, many of which might not have been on the radar for these students.
Cathy Thornicroft, head of St. Margaret’s School, said events like this are critical in giving young people a broader view of what might be possible.
“I think our young girls need direct contact with role models who have been successful in the fields of finance. I don’t think we are well represented in that field,” she said, adding that this is equally true of technology and entrepreneurship.
“I’m not sure if that’s due to confidence or the fact people haven’t told girls they are capable … and should be looking at these careers.”
Thornicroft said bringing together both finance professionals and the entrepreneurial set is uniquely Victorian.
“I think Victoria is different than places like Vancouver and Toronto, which have strong finance bases. Here there are huge opportunities for entrepreneurs, that’s the spirit of Victoria,” she said. “And if we can capture [the students] a bit earlier, we may be able to open their eyes to other opportunities.”
Bonn said events like this make a huge difference.
When she was starting out in Vancouver, having completed a finance and economics degree, she felt her options were limited.
“And I knew my skill set wasn’t aligned with accounting, but I didn’t feel like there was a lot of choice,” she said.
She kept asking questions of people in the finance industry, looking for pathways to different careers and learning what it would take to succeed.
It’s the kind of thing not taught at university, she said, noting that through her inquiries, she gained insight into what was required for her to forge a new career path.
“At 21, the next five jobs I had, I had never heard of before,” she said, adding it came down to finding role models who could light the way.
SheBiz, she said, is about passing that knowledge on. Bonn hopes that by sharing her story and telling students about the chances and risks she took, they might see what’s open to them.
“Sometimes the biggest thing they lack is not knowing what’s available to them,” she said.
Bonn admits that it’s difficult to judge the efficacy of things like SheBiz, though she said there has been some improvement in her own corporate world.
“Generally speaking, I do find myself the only female in the room a lot of the time,” she said.
“But it’s a little better now in the role I am in, now [that] it’s a senior role.”
The sector is behind the times when it comes to finding a place for women in senior roles. see more
Source: Globe and Mail
Author: Sean Silcoff
‘We absolutely have a problem’: Canada’s tech sector gender gap
Canadian technology companies may be breaking new ground as innovators, but a landmark study published on Wednesday finds the sector is behind the times when it comes to finding a place for women in senior roles.
The survey of more than 900 Canadian tech firms found women account for just 5 per cent of CEO roles and 13 per cent of executive team positions, while more than half – 53 per cent – of tech companies have no female executives. On average, women account for 8 per cent of director roles, while 73 per cent of firms have no women on their boards.
Seventy per cent of Canadian venture capital firms that finance young tech firms have no female partners, while 12 per cent of all partners are women. The study was led by a new Toronto organization called #movethedial and co-authored with PwC Canada and MaRS Discovery District.
"We absolutely have a problem in Canada that there is significant gender and overall diversity gap in the technology ecosystem – the data is clear," said #movethedial founder and Toronto entrepreneur Jodi Kovitz.
The data are little better among tech companies that have raised the most funds from venture capitalists or gone public. When the report's authors narrowed their look, at The Globe and Mail's request, to those companies that had raised $50-million or more in venture financing from 2010 to mid-2017– so-called "scale-ups" – none had a female CEO or founder, 30 per cent had no women senior executives and women accounted for just 6 per cent of director roles. Nearly two-thirds had no women on their boards.
Among the 20 publicly traded companies that make up the TSX Capped Information Technology index, there are no female CEOs, while women hold 8 per cent of executive team jobs and 12 per cent of board posts. Eight per cent have no female executive or board members.
By comparison, recent studies have found that 21 per cent of board seats on Canadian stock index companies and more than a third of senior management positions with the banks are held by women. "The statistics are dismal, there's no way around that," said Carol Leaman, CEO of Waterloo-based digital learning firm Axonify Inc. "Am I surprised? I can't say I am."
The report comes during a watershed year in which long-standing practices of sexual discrimination, harassment, assault and other forms of bad gender-biased behaviour have been outed – and punished. Revelations of toxic workplaces or allegations against abusers have led to the departures of senior figures in the technology, entertainment and media industries in the United States and Canada. It also led to the unprecedented #MeToo campaign in which countless women declared on social media that they had experienced the kind of alleged abuse that had toppled figures such as film producer Harvey Weinstein and Silicon Valley venture capitalist Dave McClure.
"I think the fact that Harvey [Weinstein] could be brought down in two weeks is one of the most significantly important things that I've seen in my career … and will have repercussions for all industries," said Carol Bartz, former CEO of U.S. tech giants Autodesk Inc. and Yahoo. In some ways it is surprising that the nimble and change-embracing tech sector has been so impervious to the gender-balancing evolution that has been more common in such fields as financial services, medicine and law.
"In a sector that should be leap-frogging all others in gender inclusion, it is shocking that 73 per cent and 53 per cent, respectively, of Canadian tech companies have zero women on their board and executive teams, which constitutes an unconscionable lag as compared to the rest of the Canadian market," said Tanya van Biesen, executive director of the Canadian arm of Catalyst, a global non-profit that advocates for better female representation in the corporate world. "Canadian tech companies will only thrive if they have the best and brightest talent, so they should be doing everything they can to position themselves as magnets across the broadest possible pools of people – men and women."
Several damning studies have pointed to a distinctive and troubling anti-female bias in the tech sector, despite several other reports that show female-led tech companies have posted better returns than those with no female senior leaders.
For example, a 2016 Catalyst report found Fortune 500 companies with highest percentage of women directors outperformed those with the fewest by at least 53 per cent; companies with more representation of women in management experience 35 per cent better return on equity, according to a Catalyst study of companies in late 90s; and a study by San Francisco-based seed-stage venture firm First Round Capital found companies with a female founder performed 63 per cent better than the firm's investments with all-male founding teams.
Some blame a Silicon Valley culture that has rewarded what technology journalist Sarah Lacy, author of the upcoming A Uterus is a Feature, Not a Bug, has described as "toxic masculinity" in which many tech leaders have little interest in the diversity issue.
"What's interesting is, this is supposed to be a data-driven industry," Ms. Lacy said in an interview. "There's tons of data showing that … women make better entrepreneurs, women make better investors [and that] gender and racial inclusion makes for stronger teams. There is no shortage of data … And this data-driven industry continues to ignore the data, and inclusion has gotten worse," including a decline in the share of women-led tech firms that received venture financing since the dot-com boom.
Industry participants say it is vitally important to ensure the tech sector catches up, because it has been a source of substantial economic growth and job creation globally. With Canada facing a shortage of engineering talent in the coming years and cutting edge technology increasingly invading all sectors, "It's not okay for half the talent pool to be on the sides because we need them in order to compete globally and drive our GDP," Ms. Kovitz said. In response, there has been a proliferation of new organizations to help women succeed as tech entrepreneurs, executives, engineers, directors and investors, such as SheEO, The Big Push, Go Sponsor Her, The Raise Collective and Women's Equity Lab (WEL), a Victoria-based project to help 20 local women invest in startups. "There's almost no women investing in these companies," WEL co-founder Stephanie Andrew said. Data from #movethedial also shows firms with female directors or CEOs are likelier to have more women on their executive teams than those that don't.
"Women need to see role models and they're asking for it, especially women getting into the tech space," said Michelle Scarborough, who is overseeing a new $50-million government fund to invest in women-led tech businesses for Business Development Bank of Canada.
At the same time, successful women tech leaders say they want to be promoted on their merits and track record, not because of their gender. Many warn of tokenism, whereby firms feel they can get off the hook by hiring a single senior female. Angela Tran Kingyens, one of two partners in Vancouver-based venture capital firm Version One Ventures, said "I can't tell you how many times recruiters have reached out" but they're looking specifically for a woman "which is such a turnoff. It's almost a slap in the face when someone comes to you and says 'We'd love to have a female general partner' versus 'Hey, we really like the way you think around your thesis on network effects.'"
"One female partner isn't going to change much, just as one female board member doesn't really change much," Ms. Bartz said. "You have to have at least two. Until you start seeing multiple females in these roles, there's not a change."
Tech industry players say institutional investors must push venture capitalists they back to in turn ensure the young companies they finance are embracing diversity in their culture and hiring practices at an earlier stage.
Meanwhile, some male Canadian tech leaders, including Ceridian CEO David Ossip and Montreal venture capitalist Helge Seetzen, say the key is for senior leaders to set a tone and ensure female executives are being as equally groomed for promotions to senior jobs as men. "We're probably half way to where we need to be" in terms of female representation in Ceridian's senior ranks, Mr. Ossip said. But as jobs turn over, "you'll typically end up within a few years with an organization that has the right representation."