All about AI

All about AI

Hey, it's William. Happy New Year. Welcome to my notebook – my thoughts, my latest writing, articles worth reading from around the web, and other recommendations. Moving forward, I'll send this out on Mondays. Today's an exception because yesterday was New Year's Day.

My stuff

The state of Vancouver tech

I recently joined Alt-Text with Erin Gee to discuss the state of Vancouver's tech ecosystem. Click here to listen and for a list of topics timestamped.

Raising VC in 2024

I'm emceeing an upcoming event featuring CEOs who have collectively raised $60M in VC including pre-seed, seed and Series A rounds. I think there are still a few tickets left. Save your spot here.

Local news of note

Newsmaker of the year

Predictably, Business In Vancouver chose AI as its newsmaker of the year. The interesting (or scary) thing here is that we have probably seen barely 1% of AI's impact on society and business.

Durable's safe bet

Led by James Clift, Durable uses AI to help small businesses launch websites in minutes. Last year, the company raised a $6M seed round and then a $14M Series A. “We believe in a world where almost everyone is self-employed, and owning a business is a default option," explained Clift. The thing is, I think Clift's tools will be useful, but mostly for people who are employed but need an efficient way to start their side hustles. I don't know anyone who is not working on a project or product on the side of their full-time job. That's either a cool stat about entrepreneurship or an ominous take on the cost of living in Vancouver.

The biggest AI newsletter in Canada is in Metro Vancouver

That's right. Rowen Cheung, founder and CEO of The Rundown, an AI newsletter with 400,000 subscribers is a Burnaby boy. Check out this rundown of 100 AI advancements in 2023.

Ripple's rising star

Last year, Ripple, an early-stage VC firm set up shop in Vancouver. The person planting their flag is borderline Gen Z-er Dominic Lau who, according to Venture Capital Journal, is someone to watch. "Lau joined Ripple Ventures at its founding in 2018 and later founded the Toronto firm's RippleX Fellowship program to democratize access to education around venture capital. He hosts co-working sessions, networking events and educational workshops across Canada to broaden access to venture capital. Lau's RippleX Fellowship program has since led 13 cohorts with an ethnic diversity of 80 percent and gender diversity of 50 percent. The program boasts more than 300 alumni who have gone on to raise more than $50 million in venture funding." Probably worth buying him a coffee.

Elsewhere in Canada

The much-lauded Canada Innovation Corporation is likely DOA ,

AI in Toronto: "I think all of the foundational ingredients are in place for this to skyrocket."

Prairie-based Startup TNT, which connects angel investors to startups, announced the first close ($2M) of a $5M venture fund.

Worth revisiting

Competition & complacency: "In examining why Canadian businesses are so reluctant to invest and innovate, the Centre for Productivity and Prosperity – Walter J. Somers Foundation (CPP) concluded that the problem is a lack of internal competition. Competition among Canadian companies is too weak and simply does not generate the incentives that would normally boost their competitiveness."

Not tech

A look at the mess in Argentina, and the man tasked with cleaning things up. "So within no more than 3 years in office and virtually no political experience, Milei became the first economist to be elected president in the history of Argentina."