The Spirit of BC Tech – What is it and why you should vote.

On Thursday night we learned that Left had been named a 2016 TIA Finalist in the category of Community Engagement. This is the same award that we were so humbled to win last year, the criteria for which states:

“This award recognizes a company that embraces corporate social responsibility. By engaging their employees, winners of this award are focused on building a corporate culture that has a positive impact on the community in which they live, work, and play.”

For those of you who know Chris or myself (or for that matter, for those who know any of the proud Lefties that give up their time to get involved in our Community, and make Left the Best Workplace in BC), you know that Community is at the heart of both ‘what’ we do and ‘why’ we do what we do.

However, this blog post is not about that nomination or our Community Engagement program. It is about another BCTIA nomination announced the same night, where all Tech Impact Award finalists are eligible for a People’s Choice Award’ to be awarded the night of the BCTIA Gala on June 7, 2016.

This is called the Spirit of BC Tech award, and yes, we want to win… but this one is actually bigger than us.

Click here to vote for the Spirit of BC Tech

A few years ago, I went to the BCTIA Gala banquet as a guest of the Maple Ridge Economic Development department whom had sponsored one of the tables for ‘Tomorrow’s Tech Titans’.

I must admit, my first thought was, “Hey that’s cool, they think that we are one of tomorrow’s tech titans!” But then I learned that I was invited because they wanted me to advise a few of those that were actually tomorrow’s tech titans. Apparently, we had already achieved the level of success that would classify Left as a tech titan for today.

[Editor’s note: Coincidentally, one of tomorrow’s titans that I sat with was Jane Chung from Perked.co. We are now a beta customer of their Culture Intelligence Platform and I would encourage everyone to check it out.]

At the gala, however, I started to talk with a lot of the other students in attendance and other young tech entrepreneurs. I shared stories from both our company’s history as well as my own personal journey through BC’s tech scene. I talked about how we started, where we received our first angel funding, how we dealt with failure, how we built our team, what was working well (and what wasn’t), and probably most prophetic … I talked about the 10 Core Values that we had built our company around, our value of Community, and how important Our Values were in building a company that could be proud of.

Earlier this year, the province announced a multi-year #BCTECH strategy that involved, $100M BC Tech Fund for investment, grants for training employees, and perhaps most importantly, several programs focused on youth tech education. And while a lot of the debate post announcement focused on implementation details, I believe many missed the underlying tone of the strategy and the plan.

The BC of tomorrow will have technology at its core. I believe that every job will be a tech job or will require those employed to have a technical competency: from reading GIS in forestry, to operating diagnostic equipment in healthcare, to drone maintenance in agriculture, to inventing new wireless mesh technologies (as we are doing), and so on and so on. And likewise, the tech job of the future is not limited to the engineer, the programmer, or the researcher. The tech job of the future is for anyone interested in business, finance, marketing, project management, logistics, or customer support. These roles are just as important to creating a sustainable tech ecosystem as the engineer or application specialist.

When I was in high school back in the 80’s in small-town northern BC, my high school guidance counselor questioned my decision to pursue post-secondary education with the rhetorical question of, “Why would you ever want to go to university, when you already have a great job in the sawmill?!?

My personal journey saw me go on to UBC for what I thought was going to be a pursuit of Law, but within a few years after graduation with a Bachelors of Arts, I had landed my first job in tech working in an entry-level marketing position with Prologic (Richmond, circa 1997, which became Fincentric). Fast forward a few years and I was working in this new field called ‘E-business’ and was fascinated by this new ‘Internet’ thing that I had a feeling was here to stick. And now, another 15+ years after that, here we are working to create brand new communication protocols that can connect the next billion in off-grid, decentralized mesh connectivity using affordable smart devices – concepts that were unfathomable just a few years ago let alone 25 years back.

I guess I could forgive that guidance counselor for not suggesting a career in technology as the world in which he was advising tomorrow’s titans, looked nothing like the world in which we live today.

The ‘Spirit of BC Tech’, thus is not just a popularity contest for those who are already active players in technology, it is a clarion call for all parents or grandparents to get informed about a few of the technology companies that are spread across this wonderful province. And while it is possible that your children or grandchildren may find themselves working in companies like this year’s finalists, it is just as likely that they will be working with a technology that has not yet been invented.

Click here to vote for the Spirit of BC Tech  and share this post with others across the province too. Together, we can make BC soar.

[Editor’s Note: After being informed that Left was eligible for this BCTIA People’s Choice Award, I went in search of the decision criteria, and more importantly, I wanted to read the stories about each of the finalists, hoping to make an informed decision about who to vote for … OK, who am I kidding, I voted for ourselves.

However, for your convenience, here is a quick matrix of the 2016 BCTIA Finalists that can be considered for the Spirit of BC Award. The lone criteria is simply which company gets the most votes. However, I would recommend you considering the mission and values of the BCTIA, which is guided by their vision, “To make BC the best place to grow a tech company, supported by the core values: Be of Service, Succeed Together, and Pay it Forward.

The descriptions below are copied directly from their listed BCTIA description, the finalists’ own websites, or other public sources.]

Company & City URL Description
Allocadia (Vancouver) http://www.allocadia.com/ Allocadia is cloud software for Marketing Operations that helps marketing teams manage their marketing investment planning, budgeting and marketing ROI. Enterprises see immediate financial benefits by re-allocating marketing budgets to the highest-performing campaigns. Customers include F5 Networks, VMWare, Juniper Networks, Stepstone and Trimble.
Aspect Biosystems (Vancouver) http://aspectbiosystems.com/ Aspect Biosystems has developed a 3D bioprinting platform and human cell culture technology capable of creating living human tissues on demand. We have a long-term vision to expand beyond drug development by creating human tissues on demand for broad applications in personalized medicine, organ transplantation, cellular and molecular biology, and the development of safe cosmetics and personal care products.
Bit Stew Systems (Burnaby) http://www.bitstew.com/ Purpose-built for the Industrial Internet, Bit Stew’s MIx Core™ Platform automates data ingestion, applies machine intelligence to learn patterns in the data, allowing industrial companies to discover actionable insights that optimize operational performance. In 2015, Bit Stew was named to Greentech Media’s Grid Edge 20 list, as one of the top 20 innovators architecting the future of the electric power industry, and was ranked as one of the Top 100 Analytics Companies and Top 100 IoT Startups by Forbes Magazine. Incorporated in 2009, Bit Stew is a venture-backed private company that is headquartered in Canada with offices in the USA, Australia and Europe.
Buyatab Online Inc. (Vancouver) https://www.buyatab.com/ Buyatab is a leading supplier of advanced eGift Card online infrastructure and marketing services for medium- and large-sized businesses. With clients in the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia, Buyatab provides eGift Card services to merchants in a wide variety of sectors, including retail, hospitality, restaurant, shopping, hotels and others.

Buyatab is recognized for its solution and design flexibility, focus on merchant brand standards, high quality customer support and fraud protection guarantee. As a result, merchant clients are able to grow their gift card business, enhance their brand, gain a competitive edge, and leverage the rapid growth in mobile device usage and social media.

 

Clio (Burnaby) https://www.goclio.com/ Clio is a cloud-based legal practice management platform that lets you access your all-important matters, contacts and documents anywhere. If you already use other popular cloud services like Dropbox or Google Apps, Clio will make you smile by tying them together in a single, easy-to-use system. With dozens of features like terrific time-tracking, comprehensive calendaring, and beautiful billing, Clio will save you time, make you money, and help you look polished and professional to your clients.
Copperleaf Technologies Inc. (Burnaby) http://www.copperleaf.com Copperleaf Technologies is a dynamic and growing company offering an exciting work environment. Copperleaf provides Asset Investment Planning solutions and technology that improve the performance of energy companies and utilities. Our solutions allow our clients to re-think their approach to life-cycle asset planning and budgeting by integrating planning, analysis, approval, and execution. Our goal is to help our clients make asset investment decisions that are effective, transparent, and focused on long-term performance, thereby earning the confidence of shareholders, partners, ratepayers and regulators.
EDP Software (Vancouver) http://www.edpsoftware.com/ EDP Software is engaged primarily in the consulting, research and development of computer based information systems and software. Our emphasis is on SchedulePro, a sophisticated and easy to use web based employee scheduling software service. SchedulePro automates employee scheduling while adhering to labor laws, safety regulations, and union agreements where applicable.
Freightera Logistics Inc. (Vancouver) http://www.freightera.com/ Freightera offers cloud-based B2B online freight marketplace with 100s of reliable LTL & truckload carriers, where you can search and compare instant all-inclusive freight quotes & book shipments online 24/7.

Our vision is to offer you a better way to ship freight, the best way, transparent, best priced and stress-free shipping. That’s how FREIGHTERA was created, a 5-star B2B freight service now trusted by over 1,700 manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors and other businesses shipping freight in Canada, the US, and Canada-US cross-border.

 

Global Relay (Vancouver) https://www.globalrelay.com/ Founded in 1999, Global Relay is the expert in Compliance Messaging Solutions — including Compliance Archiving, eDiscovery, Mobile Messaging and Collaboration. Global Relay Archive securely captures and preserves email, instant messaging (AOL, MSN, Yahoo!, GoogleTalk), BlackBerry, Bloomberg, Thomson Reuters, Pivot, YellowJacket, social media (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook) and more. Users have easy access to messages via Global Relay Search for BlackBerry, iPhone, Outlook and web. Global Relay Message, delivered via cloud computing, provides businesses with the tools to communicate and collaborate while staying compliant — anytime, anywhere. Global Relay’s 15,000 customers include broker-dealers, hedge funds, investment advisors and public companies, as well as 22 of the world’s top 25 banks and two public exchanges. Global Relay delivers services in 90 countries and has strategic partnerships worldwide, including a global Strategic Partnership with Thomson Reuters for compliance archiving.
InvestX Capital Ltd. (Vancouver) https://www.investx.com At InvestX Capital Ltd. and InvestX Financial (Canada) Ltd. (collectively “InvestX”), we believe that the largest changes in our lifetime are currently emerging in the financial markets.

These changes began in the fall of 2013. On September 23rd, an 80-year-old US securities law was finally lifted, with the creation of Title II of the JOBS Act. For the first time, Title II allows private companies to raise capital (known as “private equity”) over the internet.

But these regulatory changes aren’t just happening in the U.S. They are also happening in Canada and more than 20 other countries globally, creating a massive disruption in the way capital is invested by retail investors.

At InvestX, we see these changes as an opportunity for all investors to finally gain access to private equity – an investment that has historically outperformed any other asset class.

 

Left (Maple Ridge) http://www.left.io Established in 2010, Left (formerly Left of the Dot Media) is a Canadian-based multinational media and technology company with holdings in mobile and Internet-based businesses.

A few of our most well-known and innovative brands include:YO!™ and Stays™. YO! is an award-winning app and platform that provides free and fast off-grid, mesh connectivity to emerging markets. Stays is a portfolio of best-in-class travel and vacation rental brands powered by cutting edge marketing and technology.

 

OpenRoad Communications (Vancouver) https://www.openroad.ca For over 19 years OpenRoad has enabled organizations and brands to create, demonstrate, and deliver value online and beyond. We’ve combined the creativity of a design agency with the ingenuity of a software development firm to make new experiences possible, thanks to complete end-to-end capabilities that include strategy, design, development, and maintenance. Please visit our website for more information.
RESAAS Services Inc. (Vancouver) https://www.resaas.com/ RESAAS is a social and global referral network for licensed real estate agents, REALTORS®, brokers, franchises and associations. RESAAS is designed to help you connect with other professionals from around the world, engage in discussion, exchange referrals, and obtain leads. You can also upload listings, market your brand and increase your online exposure by synchronizing RESAAS with Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, automatically converting your posts into marketable content available on various social networks.
ResponseTek http://www.responsetek.com/ Recognized as a 2014 Top Small & Medium Employer in Canada, ResponseTek is the leader in enterprise customer experience management software solutions. World market leaders in finance, telecommunications and retail – including 14 of the world’s top telcos, and Bloomberg’s top ranked bank – trust ResponseTek to drive millions of customer interactions every week. The ResponseTek Listening Platform™ eliminates silos of information by integrating customer experience data and reporting throughout the entire organization to improve customer satisfaction. Founded in 1999, ResponseTek is headquartered in Vancouver, Canada and operates in over 30 countries throughout North America, Europe and Asia.
Ronin8 Technologies Ltd. (Richmond) http://ronin8.com/ At Ronin8, we are a diverse, global team of experts, drawn from different industries that would normally not intersect. Based in Canada, we are driven to leaving a positive legacy through leading global standards in e-waste recycling by recovering and re-using 100% of the materials contained in electronics while quantifying the real impact of our actions. We are solutions providers. We consistently seek out new ideas and technology to ensure we leave a positive legacy for future generations. We enable our strategic partners to participate in a beyond-closed-loop economy, driving their brand value, and increasing their relevance and profitability for the long term.
Rx Networks (Vancouver) http://rxnetworks.com/ Founded in 2005, Rx Networks is a private mobile positioning technology and services company headquartered in Vancouver, Canada. We develop mobile software and deliver data services designed to accelerate the location performance of any GPS-enabled device. Rx Networks focuses on the fast growing Location-Based-Services (LBS) market, specifically to the GPS-enabled mobile phones and personal navigation devices sectors. Conceived and developed to yield a Click n Go GPS user experience, our GPS solutions help dramatically speed up initial GPS location acquisition times, reduce battery power consumption and improve performance in limited satellite signal strength conditions. Working with NASA/Jet Propulsion Labs, our GPStream framework of real-time and synthetic Assisted-GPS (AGPS) reference and assistance data solutions are licensed, endorsed and/or deployed by global mobile operators, major network equipment vendors and a growing number of GPS chipset manufacturers, such as Nokia Siemens Networks, Qualcomm, Ericsson, NEC, ST Microlectronics and Atheros
Traction on Demand (Burnaby) http://tractionondemand.com/ Traction is a consulting and cloud software development firm with unparalleled expertise in Salesforce.com implementations (customer relationship management system), data quality, marketing automation and force.com development. Our ultimate goal is to streamline business process by bending cloud based technology around business users. Our enemy is redundancy. The results: reduce barriers to success and ultimately increase our customers’ bottom line through sales, marketing and operational alignment.
Trulioo (Vancouver) http://www.trulioo.com/ Trulioo is a global ID verification company that provides advanced analytics from cyber and traditional data sources to verify online identities. The company’s mission is to solve global problems associated with verifying identities online by powering fraud and compliance systems for hundreds of clients worldwide. Founded in 2011, Trulioo is a U.S. venture backed Canadian technology company headquartered in Vancouver, B.C. and recent winner of Deloitte’s Fast 50 Companies-to-Watch and one of Canada’s Top 20 Tech Startups

 

Victory Square Labs (Vancouver) http://www.victorysquare.com/ Victory Square Ventures provides decades of management expertise, deep distribution networks and in-depth deployment knowledge to help startups scale globally. We exist to help entrepreneurs create lasting value for the world. In addition to operating a venture fund, Victory Square runs Launch Academy. Since 2012, Launch Academy has led the effort to help over 350 early-stage startups to get off the ground. To this date, they’ve collectively raised over 80 million and created more than 650 jobs for Vancouver’s economy.

 

Visualping https://visualping.io/ VisualPing is a website change monitoring tool with 300,000 registered users and growing by 6,000 new customers/month driven mostly by Google search. We are growing 37% clip month on month and achieving $20k MRR by YE.

Visualping is unique as is the easiest and most convenient way to visually track changes to websites and we have proven that our customers are willing to pay for superior UX and UI.

It is being used for job, apartment, deal, price hunting, event and product availability, procurement and request for proposals, hurricane alerts, parcel tracking and competitive monitoring.

Our customers use our platform for personal and professional reasons in almost in every country around the word (except 3 Saharan countries) and paying users are from over 30 countries.

We targeting a million users by year end. Some of our current customers include: Google, Citigroup, Apple, Uber, Mail Chimp, Ford, Unilever, Nike, The Wall Street Journal, Expedia, Amazon, Dell, Staples, Target etc.

Watergenics Inc. (Vancouver) http://watergenicssolutions.com/ WATERGENICS Inc. is a Canadian-based private company
that holds the exclusive worldwide license to the patent-pending Hybrid Atmospheric Water Generator (HAWGen), an atmospheric water generation technology invented in the Laboratory for Alternative Energy Conversion at Simon Fraser University (Surrey, British Columbia). The Company is positioned to introduce the next generation of atmospheric water generation technology and products in both custom-engineered systems and proprietary standard off-the-shelf solutions.