• Redbrick posted an article
    With this announcement, the Victoria-based company enters into a new phase of business growth see more

    Victoria, British Columbia, Dec. 04, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Shift, a company from the Redbrick portfolio, today announced the close of its independently-raised $1M CAD seed round, as well as the appointment of former General Manager, Nadia Tatlow, to the role of CEO. Bolstered by capital infusion and the appointment of a new CEO, today’s announcements indicate the company’s business viability, next phase of growth, and its ongoing commitment to addressing some of the most common pain points felt by today’s technology users. Since its inception, Shift – a productivity platform that enables a beautiful and streamlined workflow – has made significant strides forward, recording 10x growth in 2018 and an additional 4x growth to date in 2019. With no sign of slowing down, Shift has since acquired over 30,000 paying customers, averaging ​13.5%​ month-over-month revenue growth this year.

    Shift’s seed round was led by Calgary-based, seed-stage venture capital fund, Panache Ventures and brought together a small group of key advisors who collectively committed $500,000. The remaining $500,000 was committed, through debt financing, by Redbrick – the parent organization to a portfolio of companies, including Shift – demonstrating Redbrick’s ongoing commitment to its portfolio companies throughout their growth and evolution.

    “It’s an absolute honour to be stepping into the role of CEO. Having worked on Shift from its inception in 2016 – when it was simply an idea, all the way through our public launch and growth phase – it’s very gratifying to continue to lead the team and observe, firsthand, Shift’s inevitable transformation and evolution. We are solving an acute workflow pain point, and seeing the impact we are having on our customers’ daily workflow management is extremely rewarding,” said Nadia Tatlow, the newly appointed CEO of Shift. “The last 18 months have been an especially exciting period for Shift. With the close of our successful seed round, I am looking forward to capitalizing on our incredible momentum, refining our product, and building towards a Series A raise next year.”

    An integral part of Shift’s founding team, and throughout her role as General Manager beginning in January 2018, Nadia has led the team through its massive growth phase, furthering Shift’s highly valued functionalities. By electing to use Shift, users are able to increase their productivity and enjoy time-savings of several hours each week. Of Shift’s active monthly paying customers, over 75% use Shift every single workday – with the average user spending roughly 106 minutes in Shift per day – which speaks to the meaningful brand the platform has fostered for them. In her new role as CEO, and with a proven track record in scaling up, Nadia will provide strategic oversight to lead Shift into its next phase of growth.

    Following the close of its seed round, Shift is now building towards a 2020 raise.

    - 30 -

    About Shift

    Founded in 2017 on the West Coast of Canada, Shift, a company started within the Redbrick portfolio, has established itself as a market leader in its category, having scaled at an impressive rate to redefine how consumers approach their digital-centric work lives. In December 2019, Shift announced the successful close of its $1M seed round, indicating the company’s product-market fit, business viability and ongoing commitment to addressing some of the most common pain points felt by today’s technology users.



    Shift is a productivity platform that helps customers streamline and optimize their workflow, in one beautiful place. On a mission to bring focus and convenience to the work day, Shift makes managing multiple apps and accounts—without logging in and out or opening up a browser—simple and intuitive. By re-thinking the way work gets done, Shift is solving an acute pain point felt by millions, and growing at an unprecedented rate.


    Media Contact
    Melissa Ong
    Talk Shop Media

  • David Davies posted an article
    SendtoNews nominated for Product of the Year and Technology Company of the Year see more

    SendtoNews nominated for Product of the Year and Technology Company of the Year

    SendtoNews (STN) has been selected as a double finalist in the 19th Annual VIATEC Awards for Technology Company of the Year and Product of the Year. The awards celebrate the achievements of technology companies responsible for making Greater Victoria the fastest growing technology region in BC, as well as the leaders, creators and innovators that have driven the local tech sector to $4.06 billion in annual sales and $5.22 billion in economic impact.

    SendtoNews was selected as a finalist for the Technology Company of the Year Award (11-29 employees) for the company’s continued growth. This past year has seen huge advancements in both SendtoNews’ technology and partnerships with the company overtaking ESPN to be the #1 sports video platform in the Comscore desktop rankings in the USA, extending partnerships with MLB, NFL and PGA Tour, and adding partnerships with Major League Soccer and NASCAR, and launching the company’s first live stream at THE PLAYERS Championship in coordination with the PGA TOUR and Tribune Publishing. 

    “It’s been a truly amazing year for SendtoNews thanks to the efforts of our staff and our partners,” said Matthew Watson, CEO of SendtoNews. “The innovative and driven Victoria tech community continues to create value for the province and beyond, and it’s an honor to be recognized once again for our team’s contribution.”

    SendtoNews was also selected as a finalist for Product of the Year for its innovative video distribution platform and AI-powered Smart Match video player technology (STN Smart Match). SendtoNews provides publishers with an incomparable three-sided platform that combines content, technology, and monetization at no cost, giving publishers the opportunity to take advantage of a growing video advertising market without needing to invest any resources. SendtoNews’ video platform has continually proven to increase engagement generating more impressions/views, longer time spent on page, more social shares, and more page views which in turn drives additional revenue for publishers.

    Winners will be announced at the Awards Gala on June 14th at the Royal Theatre. To learn more about SendtoNews’ video distribution platform, please visit

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    Canada is ranking high among the top North American startup incubators and accelerators see more

    Source: DailyHive
    Author: Kayla Gladysz

    7 of North America's top startup incubators and accelerators are in Canada

    The numbers are in.

    And it looks like Canada is ranking high among the top North American startup incubators and accelerators.

    These companies exist to support the growth and development of startup companies, through various types of training, office spaces, tools and technology, connections and mentorship.

    Of a recent top 40 list by Salesflare, a CRM software for small businesses, seven of the spots are held by Canadian names. Here’s the breakdown:

    Quebec City

    Le Camp


    Creative Destruction Lab
    Extreme Accelerator


    Launch Academy


    Accelerate Tectoria (VIATEC, at Fort Tectoria)

    So if you’re planning on beginning a startup in Canada, it looks like you have plenty of options for solid support on your endeavours.

    And if you’re interested in the ones from further south, here are the incubators and accelerators that made the Top 40 from the US:

    Capital Factory
    Tech Ranch Austin
    Chicago Blockchain Center
    New Venture Challenge
    The Brandery
    Make in LA
    Betaworks (Camp)
    Blueprint Health
    Cofound Harlem
    Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator
    Fintech Innovation Lab
    MetaProp NYC
    New York Digital Health Innovation Lab
    XRC Labs
    500 Startups
    Alchemist Accelerators
    Boost VC
    Founders Embassy
    Illumina Accelerator
    Upwest Labs

  • SendtoNews Video Inc. posted an article
    CEO Matthew Watson Attributes 372 Percent Revenue Growth to Strong Partnerships see more

    SendtoNews Ranked Number 243 Fastest Growing Company in North America on Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500

    SendtoNews today announced it ranked #243 on Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500TM, a ranking of the 500 fastest growing technology, media, telecommunications, life sciences and energy tech companies in North America. SendtoNews grew 372 percent during this period.

    “We’re honored to be listed on Deloitte’s Fast 500 for the second year in a row and couldn’t have done it without our publishing, league, and sales partners,” said SendtoNews’ CEO, Matthew Watson. "It’s a real testament to the hard work of the SendtoNews team and our amazing partners. Together we’re finding innovative new ways to reach a growing digital audience and I’m excited for what the future holds,” added Matthew.

    “Congratulations to the Deloitte 2018 Technology Fast 500 winners on this impressive  achievement,” said Sandra Shirai, vice chairman, Deloitte LLP, and U.S. technology, media and telecommunications leader. “These companies are innovators who have converted their disruptive ideas into products, services and experiences that can captivate new customers and drive remarkable growth.”

    “Software, which accounts for nearly two of every three companies on the list, continues to produce some of the most exciting technologies of the 21st century, including innovations in artificial intelligence, predictive analytics and robotics,” said Mohana Dissanayake, partner, Deloitte & Touche LLP, and Industry Leader for technology, media and telecommunications, within Deloitte’s audit and assurance practice. “This year’s ranking demonstrates what is likely a national phenomenon, where many companies from all parts of America are transforming the way we do business by combining breakthrough research and development, entrepreneurship and rapid growth.”

    SendtoNews previously ranked 24th as a Technology Fast 500TM award winner for 2017.

    About Deloitte’s 2018 Technology Fast 500TM

    Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500 provides a ranking of the fastest growing technology, media, telecommunications, life sciences and energy tech companies—both public and private—in North America. Technology Fast 500 award winners are selected based on percentage fiscal year revenue growth from 2014 to 2018.

    In order to be eligible for Technology Fast 500 recognition, companies must own proprietary  intellectual property or technology that is sold to customers in products that contribute to a majority of the company's operating revenues. Companies must have base-year operating revenues of at least $50,000 USD, and current-year operating revenues of at least $5 million USD. Additionally, companies must be in business for a minimum of four years and be headquartered within North America.

    About SendtoNews

    SendtoNews is North America’s leading sports video and advertising platform. The company has created an expanding publisher network that now includes more than 1500 sports news properties across North America.

    SendtoNews currently generates over 200 million monthly video views through the distribution of exclusive and semi-exclusive content from 75+ sports leagues, including top tier organizations such as the MLB, NBA, NHL, NFL, PGA TOUR, NCAA and Premier League Soccer.

    SendtoNews' sports video content is both VAST and VPAID compliant and the architecture of its video player technologies, as well as its independent analytics partnerships, address market needs for transparency around viewability and invalid traffic.

    Media Contact:
    David Davies





  • SendtoNews Video Inc. posted an article
    SendtoNews Ranks No. 4th overall on the 2018 Growth 500, and first out of all media companies see more

    Canadian Business and  Maclean’s have ranked SendtoNews (STN) No.4 on the 30th annual Growth 500, the definitive ranking of Canada’s fastest-growing Companies.  SendtoNews increased revenue of 8,388% over the past 5 years.  Along with this, STN ranked 1st overall in the Marketing and Media category, repeating its success from 2017.

    “SendtoNews is thrilled to be listed among some of the top companies in the country on the Growth 500 for the second year in a row,” says Matthew Watson, CEO of SendtoNews. “This tremendous achievement is thanks to everyone at STN and shared with all of our publisher, sales and content partners as well. We wish to also thank Canadian Business and Maclean’s for this honour”, added Watson.

    SendtoNews 2017/18 achievements include a partnership with Rogers Media to distribute NHL and Sportsnet content across Canada, the widespread release of a new AI powered video player that has been proven to improve revenue and engagement for publishers, as well as ranking second overall for total videos viewed and unique viewers in the U.S. comScore rankings.

    “The companies on the 2018 Growth 500 are truly remarkable. Demonstrating foresight, innovation and smart management, their stories serve as a primer for how to build a successful entrepreneurial business today,” says Deborah Aarts, Growth 500 program manager. “As we celebrate 30 years of the Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies program, it’s encouraging to see that entrepreneurship is healthier than ever in this country.” 

    Produced by Canada’s premier business and current affairs media brands, the Growth 500 ranks Canadian businesses on five-year revenue growth. Growth 500 winners, including SendtoNews, are now profiled in a special print issue of Canadian Business published with Maclean’s magazine and online at and

    About the Growth 500 

    For 30 years, the Growth 500 ranking of Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies has been Canada’s most respected and influential ranking of entrepreneurial achievement. Developed by PROFIT and now published in a special Growth 500 print issue of Canadian Business (packaged with the October issue of Maclean’s magazine) and online at and, the Growth 500 ranks Canadian companies on five-year revenue growth. For more information on the ranking, visit 

    About SendtoNews

    SendtoNews is North America’s leading sports video and advertising platform. The company has created an expanding publisher network that now includes more than 1500 sports news properties across North America.

    SendtoNews currently generates over 150 million monthly video views through the distribution of exclusive and semi-exclusive content from 75+ sports leagues, including top tier organizations such as the MLB, NBA, NHL, NFL, PGA TOUR, NCAA and Premier League Soccer.

    SendtoNews has offices in New York, San Francisco, Toronto, Atlanta, Philadelphia and Victoria, British Columbia, and ranks 2nd on comScore for Unique Viewers and Total Videos Viewed in digital sports video.

    For brand advertising inquiries, email For content distribution inquiries, please email For more details, visit or call toll free 855.590.1991.

    Media Contact:

    David Davies



  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    The capital has placed ninth on the list of Friendliest Cities in the World. see more

    Source: Times Colonist
    Author: Jack Knox

    Jack Knox: Come to Victoria and enter the friend zone

    Florida’s Carlos Morales was driving the unfamiliar streets of Victoria on Monday when he almost collided with another man.

    Did the man get mad? No, he apologized to Morales for not seeing his turn signal and giving way. Morales was impressed. “Such charming people,” he said, standing in front of the Bay Centre.

    Half a block away, Belgian visitor Ignace Dufaux offered his own observation on Canadians. When you’re on the sidewalk looking lost, people ask if they can help. “That’s not usual for us Europeans.”

    Across Government Street, Switzerland’s Evelyn Daetwyler said she was taken aback, in a good way, when people here offered to take photos of her and her companions with the tourists’ cameras. “I never saw that before.”

    Holland’s Jan Roos was impressed that the naturalists on his whale-watching trip went the extra mile to ensure he understood what they were saying and was having a good time. You don’t get that in some places, he said, not once they’ve got your money.

    Even other Canadians approve of Victoria’s attitude. “I’ve been all across Canada and this is one of the best places to be,” said Edgar Maldonado, who was raised in Chile and lives in Vancouver. Those passing by smile at you here. “This is very important, especially when you are a newcomer. You feel welcome.”

    Yes, Victoria, we really are as friendly (at least when we’re not tearing each other’s throats out over statues) as the tourism types say.

    It was just revealed that the capital has placed ninth on the list of Friendliest Cities in the World as chosen by the readers of the influential Condé Nast Traveler magazine.

    In June, Victoria placed 23rd on Expedia’s rankings of Friendliest Cities in Canada, trailing first-place Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont., third-place Tofino, Ucluelet (15) and Courtenay (17). If 23rd doesn’t sound that great, remember there were 750 communities on the list, which was based on hotel review data.

    This sort of thing wouldn’t matter in some places. In fact, in some destinations a chip on the shoulder is part of the tourist experience. Victoria travel writer Kim Westad was once at a hockey game in Madison Square Garden where, when the public address system announced the presence of a New York Mets pitcher and his infant son, a guy sitting near Kim booed. The guy’s companion objected: “Why did you boo? He’s a good pitcher.” The reply? “I’m not booing him, I’m booing the baby.” That’s the New York we love.

    In other places, ill treatment might not be desired but is still not unexpected, so isn’t as offputting as it might be elsewhere. (Besides, the legendary disdain of waiters in parts of continental Europe might just be a reflection on those tourists who march into a foreign country and expect to be served in English. CHEK’s Ben O’Hara-Byrne tweeted a headline from The Scotsman newspaper Monday: “U.K. tourist to Spain complains after holiday ruined by ‘too many Spaniards.’ ”)

    Victoria? We couldn’t get off with treating visitors that badly (though note that Charles Rogers, who founded Rogers’ Chocolates in 1885, did not like tourists and would shut the shop when the ferry pulled into town). Part of Victoria’s appeal is how we make people feel when they’re here.

    So, it’s good to report that a quick cruise of the downtown on Monday showed that, anecdotally at least, we do in fact make visitors feel good. “Canada actually is very friendly,” Daetwyler said. Morales referred to Victoria as “calm, respectful.” Touches like Victoria’s hanging baskets make a difference, said Roos: “You feel welcome because of the flowers.”

    Texans John and Lesli Dassonville and their daughter Holly had the best pizza of their life at the Cook Street Prima Strada on Sunday, but it was the “super-friendly” server who made the evening memorable.

    Even Victoria’s panhandlers were seen as relatively friendly. “I would be passing more people asking me for change more aggressively where I live,” said Californian Scott Hull. The lack of social supports has left homeless people there feeling desperate, he said.

    Friendliness matters. It’s not only good business (note that for many years Rogers’ Chocolates has, as a customer-service reminder to staff, left unrepaired a glass display case that a long-ago disgruntled patron smacked and cracked) but is basic human decency. On Monday, Victoria passed the test. Well done.

    Friendliest cities, as ranked by Condé Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice Awards:

    1. San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

    2 Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

    3 Cork, Ireland

    4 Queenstown, New Zealand

    5 Galway, Ireland

    6 Puebla, Mexico

    7 Adelaide, Australia

    8 Dublin, Ireland

    9 Victoria

    10 Chiang Mai, Thailand

  • David Davies posted an article
    “We’re completely brand safe,” said SendtoNews CEO Matthew Watson. see more

    Publishers like Facebook and YouTube often cause consternation for advertisers over brand safety—while advertisers may wish to control the content surrounding their ad placements, they often do not know exactly what content an ad will be juxtaposed against.

    Content delivery and advertising company SendtoNews promises to change that state of affairs with its service. “We’re completely brand safe,” said CEO Matthew Watson.

    SendtoNews delivers video sports content from leagues like the PGA, MLB, NBA, and NFL. It provides those videos to local sports sites, while at the same time placing ads beside the video content. The company is ranked second in sports video views, averaging about 150 million impressions a month and about 600,000 unique views, behind ESPN.

    “Our advertiser’s KPIs are fantastic… We’re 70%-plus viewability (and) 70-plus percent video completion rate,” Watson said, adding that his company “can give advertisers the scale they want, where they want.”

    STN guarantees local fan engagement through its partnerships with local newspapers for sports content, Watson said. “If you’re in Denver and you’re going to the Denver Post and you’re looking up the Denver Broncos team, you know you’re an engaged local fan,” he said.

    Watson says his company’s advertising service is as easy to use as Facebook. STN can team up with local publishers to help advertisers take over a sports page by surrounding a video with brand marketing.

    For example, the Minnesota Star Tribune sells a package that gives advertisers pre-roll content and an overlay companion ad against Minnesota sports teams, while at the same time, STN provides the video content for the Tribune.

    Primarily national advertisers use STN’s service.

    “We often get big national advertisers that might be chains or car dealers,” in large part because of brand safety and the increased engagement guaranteed by local fans on a sports site to view their local sports team, Watson said.

    “That passion and level of engagement enhances the halo effect for the advertiser, who is associating themselves with that local publisher and content,” he said.

    Watson plans to grow his company further in the realm of sports. STN is beginning to look at expanding into other types of content. “We will be launching into a new content vertical in the near future,” he said. “It will likely be the business and tech vertical … (which is) also a brand-safe environment.”

    Anna Kramer is a staff writer at  Street Fight.

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    Hope is to convert the building into a multi-media arts hub perhaps with a café and pub. see more

    Source: Times Colonist
    Author: Bill Cleverley


    Arts hub in works for former Maritime Museum building in Bastion Square

    Work is underway to transform the former Maritime Museum in Bastion Square into a shared community arts space with areas for workshops, studios, exhibits and performances.

    The project is in conceptual stages, but the hope is to convert the former Maritime Museum building into a multi-media arts hub perhaps with a café and pub, Victoria councillors were told Thursday.

    “The whole point of this is to create affordable, shared art space for the community,” said Mayor Lisa Helps.

    Helps said that she has met with representatives from the province and the federal government and they are both “very excited about this project” and the province has agreed to fund an estimate of what would be needed to rehab the building and outfit the space.

    The province “is spending a lot of money to keep it vacant, which isn’t in anyone’s interest, so I think we’ve got potentially really solid partners with the province and with the federal government on this project. So I think we need to, as a council, just let the work continue,” Helps said.

    “I think this is a great proposal,” said Coun. Ben Isitt, adding he would support the city providing a subsidy “as a junior partner.”

    “I don’t think revenue neutral is realistic for this type of facility. Many artists are starving. They don’t have substantial incomes and if we want a facility that’s going to be accessible to a real diversity of artists and also the public-use components, I think a level of subsidization is supportable,” he said.

    Helps said it’s premature to think about subsidies, but there’s potential to generate revenue through a lease for a pub or café in the centre.

    An arts hub is an ideal concept to pursue for the building and would help revitalize the square, said Coun. Pam Madoff.

    “In the past when the square was first created it was full of retailers and restaurants, and there were tons of people. Over the years, it’s really evolved into more of an office hub which really doesn’t bring a lot of people through the square,” Madoff said.

    “There’s an attempt to animate it with the market and that sort of thing, but it really needs more people coming and going on a regular basis and an arts hub is certainly seen as key to that,” she said.

    The arts hub is not a city-led project. A small group with members from the Downtown Victoria Business Association, the Bastion Square Revitalization Association, the community and city hall are meeting “to see the project through the pre-project development phase,” says a city staff report.

    Owned by the province, 28 Bastion Square opened as a courthouse in 1888 and most recently housed the Maritime Museum. The museum was forced to move out in 2014 after the province raised concerns about the condition of building. It has remained unoccupied since.

    A design charette is scheduled late this month to help inform what work would have to be done by the province to bring the building up to usable standards.

    The city transferred the building to the province in 1977, said city solicitor Tom Zworski.

    At that time the province agreed the old courthouse would remain in public ownership, that it would upgrade the building to current standards and any use of the building would have to comply with local zoning.

    Coun. Geoff Young said he’s enthusiastic about the idea of federal and provincial funding but warned any city subsidies should be approached with caution.

    “We know that it’s possible to drift into situations where subsidies are very heavy,” Young said.

    “As I have mentioned on many occasions, the taxpayers of this city sink $750,000 a year into the McPherson Theatre and have done so for many years.”

  • Telmediq posted an article
    Telmediq Ranked No. 1 for Secure Healthcare Communications Platforms by KLAS Research see more

    Healthcare communications company Telmediq has won the prestigious 2018 Category Leader award for Secure Communications Platforms from KLAS, a research and insights firm that gathers data and delivers reports on healthcare technology.

    The award is part of the "2018 Best in KLAS: Software and Services" report, which was released today. Every year, KLAS interviews thousands of healthcare professionals about the products and services their organizations use. The company shares the information online in real time so other providers can benefit from their peers' experience. The "Best in KLAS" report reflects data compiled over the past year.

    Telmediq won the 2018 Category Leader Designation for the Secure Communications Platform market segment. The award recognizes the highest rated company for each category based on live data from the KLAS website. "Category Leader is more than a ranking," says Adam Gale, President of KLAS. "It is a recognition of vendors committed to delivering superior solutions. It gives voice to thousands of providers who are demanding better performance, usability and interoperability in healthcare technology."

    Healthcare organizations rely on Telmediq to help them solve their communications problems while remaining compliant with HIPAA. The company offers a unified communications solution that includes secure messaging, pager replacement, care coordination, alarm management and documentation. On the KLAS website, one chief information officer (CIO) said, "Everyone is quickly catching on to Telmediq. Everybody is demanding it and wants it now … Physicians are raving about it."

    Another CIO noted that "Telmediq is one of the more successful things I have promoted here. Everybody was clamoring for secure texting, but we really needed a platform. I wanted something that was integrated into the workflow, had messaging templates, and automatically populated with things related to the care team and patient location."

    (The above commentary was collected about Telmediq Secure Communications by KLAS in December 2017; visit for a complete view.)

    "We are honored to be considered the top secure communications company in the country," says Ben Moore, CEO and Founder of Telmediq. "We appreciate KLAS' dedication to helping raise the bar, for not only companies like ours, but the industry. KLAS shines a light on both what is working but also areas for needed improvement for all IT solutions across healthcare, and we are honored and excited to achieve the best score in our category."

    About KLAS
    KLAS is a data-driven company on a mission to improve the world's healthcare by enabling provider and payer voices to be heard and counted. Working with thousands of healthcare professionals, KLAS collects insights on software, services and medical equipment to deliver reports, trending data and statistical overviews. KLAS data is accurate, honest and impartial. The research directly reflects the voice of healthcare professionals and acts as a catalyst for improving vendor performance. To learn more about KLAS and the insights it provides, visit

    About Telmediq
    Telmediq is a leader in healthcare communications solutions for large hospital systems and acute-care facilities. Telmediq provides a unified clinical communication platform that integrates more than 20 clinical systems (EHR, scheduling, lab, nurse call) and helps match technology with the way people work. Telmediq provides an integration and consolidation roadmap to reduce software and support costs, improve workflows and provide a single source for analytics, auditing and reporting. Our clients reduce patient wait times, improve patient handover times and improve physicians' work environment.

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    The magazine ranked Victoria second on the list of the top-20 small cities outside the U.S. see more

    Source: Times Colonist
    Author: Andrew Duffy

    We're No. 2 small city in the world in Condé Nast rankings

    Tourism Victoria says Victoria is making a bigger mark on the world stage after it was named the No. 2 small city on the latest Condé Nast Readers’ Choice awards.

    The magazine ranked Victoria second on the list of the top-20 small cities outside the U.S. behind San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Tourism Victoria believes the ranking is proof the city punches above its weight on the world stage.

    “This result is straight from readers of one of the world’s leading travel magazines,” said Paul Nursey, chief executive of Tourism Victoria.

    “This is proof positive that Greater Victoria’s transformation from a quaint and charming regional destination to a world-leading, experiential destination is complete.”

    Victoria beat out Florence, Italy, Bruges, Belgium and Lucerne, Switzerland, for the No. 2 spot. The only other Canadian city to make the list was Quebec City at No. 8.

    Tourism Victoria believes the ranking is down to getting the word out about the experience of visiting Victoria.

    According to the organization, there has been extensive coverage in publications such as the New York Times, New Zealand Herald and Rolling Stone to showcase everything from the region’s burgeoning concert and music scene to the Pacific Marine Circle Route.

    Already this year, Smart Meetings magazine recommended Victoria as one of the top 10 emerging destinations for hosting meetings and conferences, while this summer a poll of 5,770 Canadian travel agents chose Victoria as one of the top five destinations in the country.

    Condé Nast Readers’ Choice Awards are chosen by more than 300,000 readers.

    Victoria and the other winning cities will be listed in the November issue of Condé Nast Traveler.

    Last year, Victoria was ranked in the No. 7 spot on a list of Best Cities in the World (outside the U.S.) in the same readers’


    Conde Nast Top-20 Small Cities (Outside U.S.)

    1. San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
    2. Victoria
    3. Florence, Italy
    4. Bruges, Belgium
    5. Lucerne, Switzerland
    6. Salzburg, Austria
    7. Nuremberg, Germany
    8. Quebec City
    9. Cologne, Germany
    10. Lisbon, Portugal
    11. Copenhagen, Denmark
    12. Edinburgh, Scotland
    13. Bergen, Norway
    14. Stockholm, Sweden
    15. Seville, Spain
    16. Prague, Czech Republic
    17. Venice, Italy
    18. Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
    19. Dublin, Ireland
    20. Jerusalem, Israel

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    Greater Victoria has the lowest unemployment rate in Canada at 3.8%, a level last seen in 2008 see more

    Source: Times Colonist
    Author: Carla Wilson

    Greater Victoria leads Canada with lowest unemployment rate

    Greater Victoria has the lowest unemployment rate in Canada at 3.8 per cent, a level last seen here in 2008.

    The number of people working full-time in the capital region moved to 143,400 in March, up from 137,900 in the same month in 2016, Statistics Canada said on Friday. Part-time employment climbed to 46,200 from 41,500 over the same period.

    Employers are turning out in force at job fairs in the hopes of hiring workers in sectors ranging from hospitality and technology to construction. The Canadian Coast Guard recently announced a hiring blitz and is using social media to attract staff while a tourism job fair attracted a healthy crowd last weekend at Ogden Point ahead of what is expected to be a record season for visitors.

    Greater Victoria’s unemployment rate tightened up from 4.4 per cent in February, Statistics Canada said in its monthly labour report.

    Quebec City is in second place nationally at 4.1 per cent, with a third-place tie between Vancouver and Brantford, Ont., at 4.7 per cent.

    With an election approaching on May 9, B.C. is holding onto its status as the province with the lowest unemployment rate in Canada. That’s despite the fact it moved to 5.4 per cent in March from 5.1 per cent in February.

    “B.C.’s labour market maintained a positive trend through March, but showed mild signs of deceleration with slower employment growth and a slight uplift in the unemployment rate,” said Brian Yu, deputy chief economist at Central 1 Credit Union.

    Total provincial employment rose by 0.2 per cent from February. The medium trend forecast “still points to a strong pace of hiring in B.C.,” Yu said.

    Greater Victoria’s unemployment rate was last at 3.8 per cent at the end of 2008 when the global financial crisis exploded. The region’s rate had been even lower, at 2.8 per cent, in May of that year, but it began climbing as the recession set in.

    Another bright spot in Greater Victoria was the increase in youth (15 to 24 years) employment as numbers rose to 31,100 last month, from 26,200 the year before.

    Employment in the age 25-to-54 group climbed to 119,000 from 112,900 year-over-year.

    There was a slight drop in the 55-year-old plus category with 38,700 working last month, down from 40,300 a year ago.

    Phil Venoit, president of the Vancouver Island and District office of B.C. Building Trades, said the construction sector is becoming stronger all the time. “Things are starting to ramp up around the city, so it is positive,” he said, pointing to major office and multi-family projects that are going up. He is looking forward to the jobs created by the upcoming $765-million sewage treatment plant.

    Employment in the capital region’s construction sector rose to 15,600 in March, from 12,100 the same month a year ago — an increase of 28 per cent, a Statistics Canada official said.

    Building permits in Greater Victoria in February fell by 37.2 per cent to $77.8 million from 124.7 million in Feb. 2016. However, those figures reflect only what happens in one month, not the overall construction activity underway in a particular region.

    Finance, insurance, real estate and leasing experienced a 33 per cent leap in jobs year-over-year to 10,400 from 7,800. Public administration jobs climbed by 26 per cent to 20,800 from 16,500. Business, building and other support services also saw a 26 per cent boost, to 9,600 last month from 7,400.

    There were few job categories with major losses. Education dropped by 17 per cent to 12,800 in March, down from 15,400 the same month in 2016.

    Greater Victoria’s technology sector has been performing well, although job numbers slipped somewhat year-over-year to 18,100 from 19,600.

    The nation’s labour market stayed hot last month, pumping out another 19,400 net jobs — and the vast majority of the new work was full-time, Statistics Canada said.


    A quick look at March employment (previous month in parentheses):

    Unemployment rate 6.7% (6.6)

    Employment rate 61.5% (61.4)

    Labour force participation rate 65.9% (65.8)

    Number unemployed 1,313,700 (1,286,100)

    Number working 18,308,000 (18,288,600)

    Youth (15-24) unemployment 12.8% (12.4)

    Men (25 plus) unemployment 6.0% (5.9)

    Women (25 plus) unemployment 5.4% (5.2)


    Newfoundland 14.9% (14.2)

    Prince Edward Island 10.1 (10.0)

    Nova Scotia 8.6 (8.1)

    New Brunswick 8.4 (8.9)

    Quebec 6.4 (6.4)

    Ontario 6.4 (6.2)

    Manitoba 5.5 (5.8)

    Saskatchewan 6.0 (6.0)

    Alberta 8.4 (8.3)

    British Columbia 5.4 (5.1)


    St. John’s, N.L. 8.9% (9.1)

    Halifax 6.5 (6.1)

    Moncton, N.B. 8.0 (8.2)

    Saint John, N.B. 6.7 (7.9)

    Quebec 4.1 (4.3)

    Trois-Rivieres, Que. 6.6 (6.6)

    Montreal 6.6 (6.7)

    Ottawa 5.0 (5.1)

    Kingston, Ont. 6.1 (6.1)

    Oshawa, Ont. 6.0 (5.7)

    Toronto 7.1 (7.1)

    Hamilton, Ont. 5.9 (5.9)

    Kitchener-Waterloo, Ont. 5.6 (5.5)

    Brantford, Ont. 4.7 (4.2)

    London, Ont. 6.0 (6.2)

    Windsor, Ont. 5.2 (5.1)

    Barrie, Ont. 6.8 (7.2)

    Sudbury, Ont. 7.4 (7.9)

    Thunder Bay, Ont. 5.8 (6.0)

    Winnipeg 6.5 (6.7)

    Regina 4.8 (5.2)

    Saskatoon 7.5 (7.0)

    Calgary 9.3 (9.4)

    Edmonton 8.4 (8.3)

    Kelowna 6.4 (7.4)

    Abbotsford 6.3 (6.1)

    Vancouver 4.7 (4.7)

    Victoria 3.8 (4.4)

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    This report is a collection of snapshots of 22 tech startups located or founded in Victoria BC... see more

    Source: Haro Ventures Startup Report - Intro

    Haro Ventures releases 2017 Victoria, BC "Startup Report"

    What does Victoria’s tech ecosystem look like? And how can sharing this information help all the players involved in building our community?

    This report is a collection of snapshots of 22 tech startups located or founded in Victoria BC, gathered over the last quarter of 2016. We share glimpses into the company market opportunities, directions, go-to-market strategies and unique differentiators. We learn about the entrepreneurs’ vision for the future of their companies, about the times they’ve wanted to give up, and what kept them going.

    The information in this report was gathered using semi-structured interviews with company CEO’s, founders, and team members. Relevant qualitative answers are displayed on the company snapshot pages, and quantitative data has been gathered for an aggregate display at the end of the report.

    We call these insights snapshots because we acknowledge that the information provided could very well change over the next several years, and represents where the companies are at at specifically at this point in time.

    We hope to provide an informative and well-rounded picture of what the tech startup scene in Victoria looks like in early in 2017. This report was created for individuals curious about our awesome city and tech community, potential investors looking for the next big thing, and even entrepreneurs wishing to learn more about their peers.

    To download the full report, click here:

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    This Vancouver Island city is drawing a younger crowd keen on the quality of life, great outdoors & see more

    Source: Toronto Star
    Author: Jennifer Allford

    This Vancouver Island city is drawing a younger crowd keen on the quality of life, great outdoors and emerging cool.

    VICTORIA, B.C. - A guy has a skateboard beneath his feet and a piercing under his nose. Another rides by with a guitar strapped to his back. There’s a grey-haired peloton or two, a little tyke with a Spider-Man helmet takes a spill, and a smiling Japanese Rasta walks by.

    It’s quite some time before you see even one little old lady as you ride a bike on the Galloping Goose — a 60-kilometre trail from Victoria to Sooke.

    It’s rush hour for rowers and as you stop on the Trestle Bridge to watch them on the water below, a couple of young women — one with blue hair another with wacky tights — walk past and you have to wonder what happened to the city full of “newlywed, nearly dead and garden beds.”

    Somewhere along the way, Victoria got cool.

    Students from across Canada have always flocked to the University of Victoria to escape the snow, but people in their 20s and 30s are moving here now, drawn by a booming tech sector.

    And the flock of retirees is getting younger — 50s are the 30s.

    Sure, you can still pick up a stack of Irish linens or get your age spots removed, but you can also pop into Smoking Lily for a periodic table silkscreened on a dress and find plenty of grooming shops for the ubiquitous gnome beards.

    Grandmas line up for afternoon tea at the Fairmont Empress, but at the hotel’s Bengal Lounge, someone’s grandkids are enjoying smart cocktails. (At least until April 30, when it closes. There’s no word on what will replace it.)

    The signature drink features tea-infused vodka, lemon juice, simple syrup and egg white and is served, naturally, with a mini scone.

    “I love this room,” says Bruce Livingstone as we settle into one of the Bengal’s low leather couches, taking in the rich wood panelling and colonial ceiling fans.

    Livingstone, the guy who founded iStock and sold it to Getty for $50 million (U.S.), moved from L.A. to Victoria a few years ago and started a new stock photography company, Stocksy.

    “People say how can you live there, it’s so boring,” he says. “But I tell them if you’re bored then it’s your fault.”

    Livingstone and thousands of others are coming to the city for the quality of life and the great outdoors, which can involve throwing on wetsuits to go for a swim, or going surfing or fishing.

    Victoria is good for business, too. “It’s great,” says the entrepreneur. “There’s a great network of tech people and we’re all connected.”

    On Friday night, beautiful people fill every table at Little Jumbo, enjoying dinner with fresh local ingredients — the chanterelle mushrooms that came in yesterday are served with a little parmesan, garlic and wine on grilled bread.

    Tables of tattooed young ’uns sit next to middle-aged couples and every demo seems to be drinking a fancy cocktail.

    The drink list changes every six weeks. If you’re bamboozled by which booze to try, you can always go with the blurb that most tickles your fancy, such as gin-based Tea and Toast: “My good man it took Dutch courage, a stiff upper lip and a nice cup of tea to build an empire. Hang on to your monocle and have at it.”

    Poking fun is all part of the fun in the Royal City.

    At Hotel Zed (named for the Queen’s pronunciation of the last letter of the alphabet) locals line up weekend mornings for breakfast tacos or the mile-high fried egg sandwich at the Ruby.

    The restaurant’s co-owner Chris Jones — “one of the tall bearded dudes with cool aprons” — says the Ruby will open a second location. “Where the locals go, the tourists want to go,” he says of picking spots that aren’t exactly on the red double-decker bus routes.

    The tourists may also miss Discovery St., where Victoria’s graffiti artists have transformed a couple of blah buildings into a gorgeous tapestry of street art. Visitors looking for treasures along the famed Antique Row may come home with something a little more contemporary if they stumble into Polychrome Fine Art.

    “The sun never goes down on cool, my friend,” the Hotel Zed desk clerk shouts to her colleague as he puts on his aviators and walks toward the 1967 VW bus out front.

    The hotel has hipsters in the hot tub, a lobby that looks like The Brady Bunch on acid, and shuttle rides in a couple of VW buses. “They get a lot of attention” my driver tells me during the quick trip downtown.

    Victoria is not “nearly dead” anymore.

    “It’s getting cooler here all the time,” Livingstone says, but that doesn’t mean the city’s forgotten its manners: “Strangers on the street get mad at you if you don’t say good morning.”

    Jennifer Allford was a guest of Destination BC and its partners, which didn’t review or approve this story.

    When You Go

    Get there: Air Canada flies to Victoria direct from Toronto. If you’re in Vancouver, take the 90-minute ferry over to the island as a passenger or with your vehicle. It’s a remarkably beautiful ride. Or save the time and fly in and enjoy the view from the air.

    Season: Victoria can give you your fix of green pretty much any time of the year: flowers are growing around town all year long. If you really want go deep into green, you could visit the Butchart Gardens. If you happen to be in Victoria during one of the rare snowfalls, you can sit back and watch the show as everyone freaks out and drivers attempt to navigate the roads.

    Stay: Hotel Zed (

    Find out more: Tourism Victoria (

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    Technology now typically employs more people than mining, oil and gas, and forestry sectors combined see more

    Source: Quartz
    Author: Nevin Thompson

    Brexit and Trump could be good news for Canada’s tech scene

    By 2019, it’s estimated there will be 182,000 job openings in Canada’s tech sector—and no Canadians to fill them. Better-known for maple syrup, snow-capped mountains, and head-of-state heartthrob Justin Trudeau, Canada is also home to a vibrant tech sector that is crying out for workers. And Donald Trump’s unlikely presidency may already be helping Canadian tech firms fill those spots.

    On the night of Nov. 8, as many Americans realized that Trump was going to be elected president of the United States of America, a flood of hundreds of thousands of visitors crashed Canada’s immigration website. People were presumably looking for ways to relocate to Canada and escape whatever Trump has in store for the four years ahead.

    But in fact, Americans accounted for just half of the surge in visits to the immigration website—visitors from other parts of the world made up the other half. But why?

    Options for foreign workers looking to emigrate are narrowing. June’s Brexit decision in Britain was based in on a desire to tighten the UK’s border and restrict its flow of immigrants. Indeed, the future of the European Union, the world’s largest trade zone, is in question as anti-immigrant, right-wing parties in the Netherlands and in France seem poised for victory in 2017. In the US, on top of vowing to build a wall with Mexico and deport immigrants, Trump has promised to clamp down on the H-1B visas that bring 85,000 skilled international workersinto America each year.

    Meanwhile, across Canada, 71,000 tech companies are responsible for over 7% of Canada’s economic output and 5.6% of Canada’s total employment: Technology now typically employs more people than mining, oil and gas, and forestry sectors combined. Canada, with its reputation for tolerance and openness to diversity and immigration, has been called one of the world’s last “safe harbors.” Add an almost unlimited demand for skilled workers across the country, and it’s easy to see why Canada could become the next hub for the globe-trotting workforce.

    “Donald Trump has definitely been a topic of conversation here in Seattle,” says Dan Gunn, chief executive officer of VIATEC, a Canada-based community organization and 16,000 square-foot technology accelerator. In the days following the US election, Gunn was spending time in Seattle for Startup Week. “There are questions about what Trump means for tech and for tech workers in the States. Highly skilled workers from around the world, particularly visible or religious minorities who had their sights set on moving to the US, might look to Canada for opportunities instead.”

    As head of VIATEC, Gunn helped build a thriving technology sector in Victoria—a small Canadian city of about 350,000 people located on an island just to the north of Seattle. Once known mainly as a sleepy government town and destination for retirees and tourists, Victoria is now home to a thriving tech scene that has attracted everyone from global giants like Amazon and Schneider Electric to game developers such as Kixeye and a satellite office.

    Just like the rest of the Canadian technology sector, Victoria—nicknamed “Tectoria”—has plenty of job openings. “Canada is growing, a thriving innovation sector, and advanced technology has become the number-one industry in Victoria,” Gunn says. “Nearly 900 companies employ over 23,000 people here. And they’re always hiring.”

    Across Canada, the need for workers is currently so great that a number of employers and industry organizations have banded together with the Canadian government to launch Go North Canada. The initiative is an attempt first and foremost to lure some of the more than 350,000 Canadians who work in Silicon Valley (as well as Canadians in other parts of the US) back home.

    “Canadian companies are currently looking to fill three different kinds, of roles: technical talent, experienced sales and marketing talent, and people in leadership roles who have experience scaling up companies,” says Heather Galt, vice president for human resources at Communitech, an Ontario technology-startup hub, who is helping promote the Go North Campaign across Canada. Galt says that Canada can often offer a better quality of life compared to working in the US: It has better schools, lower commute times, and a stunning natural environment.

    The Trudeau government has also announced a new strategy to make it easier for companies to recruit foreign tech talent. Compared to the H-1B visa process in the US, which can take about six months to set up, it normally takes nine months or more for foreign tech workers to receive a Canadian work visa.

    “Dealing with red tape is the number-one obstacle to bringing foreign talent to Canada,” says Noah Warder. Warder leads operations at Sendwithus, a Victoria-based startup that builds tools for email marketing. “It’s much easier to bring Canadians north of the border,” he says.

    While it’s still too early to determine whether or not Justin Trudeau’s new immigration strategy will make it easier to recruit foreign workers, the prospect of Canada’s attractive tech scene—not to mention its equally attractive outdoor wonderland—should give many foreign workers something to dream about.

    You can follow Nevin on Twitter at @Nevin_Thompson. Learn how to write for Quartz Ideas. We welcome your comments at

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    Owen Matthews sees China as a solid investment. see more

    Source: Times Colonist
    Author: Andrew Duffy

    Chinese trade opportunities loom large for Victoria firms

    Despite slower economic growth in recent years, China remains a market full of potential for Canadian companies. And for some Victoria firms, it may represent a massive missed opportunity if they don’t get into the game.

    Owen Matthews sees China as a solid investment. Matthews is chairman of the  Alacrity Foundation, which provides mentorship and guidance to start-up firms and engineers in order to create new tech companies.

    A single city, Shanghai, with a population of 24 million, is better funded and has more wealth than Canada, he said.

    Matthews, who is also a partner with investment firm Wesley Clover, said companies have the potential to be valued higher there given the availability of capital and the room for growth.

    “Not being part of that in some way is a huge missed opportunity,” he said.

    Matthews, who has just established a branch of the Alacrity Foundation in Shanghai, said China is starting to open up and the country is more open to technology partnerships in particular. But he warned it’s important for Canadian entrepreneurs to find a Chinese partner who they can trust.

    “You have to have people you can work with, whose interests are aligned so when the Victoria company does well somebody there also does well,” Matthews said, noting that partnership is key as it can mean the feet on the ground in China will protect the firm’s interests.

    The seven year-old Alacrity Foundation may be able to do some of that for Canadian firms. The non-profit entity, supported by industry and government, has branches around the world, including Turkey, India, France, the U.K. and now in China.

    Matthews said each of the Alacrity branches gives interested companies an insight into global markets.

    With its arrival in China, Alacrity’s network has trusted feet on the ground in Shanghai that can help open doors, or offer advice.

    The mayor of Victoria hopes local firms are looking at the opportunity in China. Lisa Helps, who returned from a two-week trade mission to China in late October, told a gathering of local business people this week that Victoria firms are well positioned to take advantage of China’s potential. She said she believes the $22,000 trip was a huge success and has laid the ground work for trade deals to be signed with a country that is continually changing and opening up.

    “The central government is focused on growing its economy in a sustainable manner and they need the innovation and technology we have here,” Helps said

    Matthews said having the Victoria mayor join local firms on trips to China can open a lot of doors.

    “It’s a great endorsement,” Matthews said. “It makes a big difference in China. Their assumption is government is a very important player in our economy. Having a mayor shaking hands beside a tech company goes a long, long way.”

    It can also help the tourism industry, said Paul Nursey, chief executive of Tourism Victoria, who was in China at the same time.

    Nursey said Victoria has seen strong growth from China — 20 per cent each year over the last few years — but it can do better.

    “We have a great brand and a great product,” Nursey said. “But we are being more deliberate in targeting overnight stays.”

    Nursey said Tourism Victoria has changed its sales team to be more digital savvy, and able to converse in China, as they go after a more lucrative slice of the Chinese market — the individual traveller rather than packaged tours. That’s a segment growing as a result of an emerging middle class. “Now it’s about the hard work on the ground and pitching, it’s a sales proposition and we have refined our sales approach,” he said.