BC's bull case

BC's bull case

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The workplace of the future

On Tuesday this week, radio host Robin Gill will moderate a conversation on amenity and design trends with leaders at CLVR Studio, Hootsuite, Frontier Collective, and CBRE. I'll be at the event. Respond with any questions you think I should ask.


11 (rough) notes on the state of Vancouver tech

"Promising, but vulnerable." – What I said on Alt-Text with Erin Gee

Local notes

BC's bull case

Last month, Salus Technologies raised $8 million for its software that helps mining and construction companies reduce risks and improve safety. As VTJ editor Kate Wilson noted, the company is focused on selling to "industries relevant to the local community." In other words, they're building a business by solving a problem in their region – or at the very least, they're sourcing inspiration from local issues.

This is one of the things that I think makes BC special. It's a geographically massive province with (IMO) a relatively diversified economy – and this translates to many, many unique (business/operational/technical/manufacturing) problems that need to be solved. And what does an entrepreneur do when she spots a problem? She tries to solve it.

This is one of the reasons why, in my view, BC has amassed a generous collection of homegrown tech juggernauts in distinct subsectors. I mean companies tackling big problems in an array of verticals like data and agriculture (Semios), legal software (Clio), practice management (Jane), background checks (Certn), identity verification (Trulioo), regenerative medicine (Aspect Biosystems), and robotics (Sanctuary AI), to name a few...

Yes, but: What most entrepreneurs in BC go on to find is that BC is too small of a market – and Canada is too administratively burdensome – to grow inside, so most of their company's sales are to America and the rest of the world. Does that matter? I suppose not as long we keep HQs and executives and jobs and IP and taxes above the 49th parallel, right?

(The whole point above could be bullshit. However, I do believe BC has an abnormally high collection of world-class, tech-enabled companies in different categories.)

Biotech beyond AbCellera

Zymeworks (NASDAQ: ZYME), the biotech company that had a tumultuous 2022, is kicking off 2024 on the front foot. Since October, shares are up 40% (valuing the co at nearly CAD$1B), and the company just secured a $50 million private placement from EcoR1 Capital. Somehow, I think people underrate the strength of BC's life sciences cluster, which also includes Aspect Biosystems (crushing it) and Precision NanoSystems (acquired in 202). ,

Social capital

Vancouver's Relentless Pursuit Partners and Raven Indigenous Capital Partners were among nine direct investors to receive funds (via fund-of-fund manager Realize) through the federal government's Social Finance Fund (SFF). SFF was set up to "address systemic biases and inequities historically present in financial systems and investment decisions." ,


Olympic medalist Andre De Grasse has equity in Vancouver-based Plantiga, makers of smart insoles, as well as other startups through his firm ADG Ignite Ventures.


Thinkific CEO Greg Smith shared five tactics for unlocking more time for priorities. The most important, but hardest, I think: "Be less responsive."

Elsewhere in Canada

The Canadian Tech Conference list.

There were 89 (!) exits in Alberta tech in 2023.

In 2022, only four women made Canada's top 100 paid CEOs list – the same number as Marks and Scotts.

"Canada’s job market eked out a gain of just 100 positions in December, well below estimates of 15,000."

Also of note

A new term from VC firm NFX: fruit flies – "founders who are just going to the hottest thing that don't necessarily have a grounded passion for it."

Clicks is a BlackBerry-style iPhone keyboard case designed for creators

As we get closer to CES, how to spot fake robotics videos

The Internet is about to get weird again → 🔒

Not tech

An outstanding reflection on the Brazilian Ronaldo (football star).


My Vancouver VC list

I put together a list of 45 Vancouver venture capital firms and funds, as well as the key people you need to know at them. It was updated this month. Pay what you want to get it.

Innovate West 2024 (April 16-17)

Use this link to save $100 on your Innovate West ticket, courtesy of my friends at Deloitte.