TechTalk Blog
Three VITP tenants included in this years VIATeC 25!

The Victoria Advanced Technology Council announced its VIATeC 25 – an annual listing of the top 25 revenue generators in the industry and it includes three VITP tenants: Boardwalk Communications, HP Advanced Solutions Inc., and RevenueWire!  This announcement comes along with some figures that show Victoria’s high-tech sector is valued at $3 billion!!

The full list of the VIATeC 25 in alphabetical order:

AbeBooks.com
Access Point Information Ltd.
Archipelago Marine Research
Beanstream
Boardwalk Communications
Camacc Systems Inc.
Carmanah Technologies
Codan Radio Communications
Contech Enterprises
FTS Forest Technology Systems
HP Advanced Solutions Inc.
JEA Pension System Solutions
Neverblue
ParetoLogic
Procura
Quester Tangent
Reliable Controls
RevenueWire
Schneider Electric
Scott Plastics Ltd.
Seastar Chemicals Inc.
ShipConstructor Software Inc.
UNIT4 Business Software
Vecima Networks
Viking Air Ltd.

Click here to read more about the economic impact of Victoria’s Technology Industry as posted on VIATeC’s website!
VITP’s Jeff Maudie featured with Bike to Work Week Victoria!

Jeff_MaudieBike to Work Week Victoria took place from May 27th – June 2nd this year and VITP’s own security staff member Jeff Maudie participated in the event and has been featured on their website and Facebook page! Click here for the original article. Way to go Jeff!!!

Cycling is the best part of my day

After retiring from my teaching job in Alberta in 2005, I moved to Victoria. Since getting my current job in 2006 I have done my daily commute of about 10 kilometres one-way from Colwood to the Technology Park by bike. I started cycling 38 years ago, and cycled to and from work in Alberta when I could.

Of course weather and distances in Alberta can be a challenge for bike commuting so it is difficult to do it year-round. We are so fortunate to have the good weather and infrastructure that we do here in Victoria that accommodates cycling.

I am fortunate that my employer provides terrific, secure bike facilities for us. I can cycle right up to the front door, and easily get my bike into the bike room which is very secure. Knowing your bike is safe and the ease of entering our bike facilities is great. Plus, we have lockers to put heavier items in, and showers to get freshened up in.

You only have to try it to really understand how enjoyable cycling to and from work can be. Often it can be the best part of the day, listening to birds, challenging yourself to see if you can make it up a particular hill. I cycle rain or shine, but for those who don’t want to cycle in the rain, just cycle on dry days. Can you imagine the impact on our roadways if everyone in a 15 or 16 kilometre radius of their workplace cycled to work even one or two days a week? Any bike commuting contributes to your health, cash flow and environment in a positive way.

Try it. You might like it.

Jeff Maudie

Tech News: What’s More Important to a Startup: Product or Sales?

Posted by Techvibes Newsdesk
On Techvibes.com
View the original article here.

Startups are constantly asking themselves: should we focus on the quality of our product or the strength of the sales and distribution strategy?

Award-winning Vancouver-based angel investor Boris Wertz tackles this question in a new blog post.

“On one end of the spectrum, many start-ups think that great products sell themselves, while the other camp argues that it’s the channel and monetization that define a company’s success,” writes Wertz. “The simple answer to the question is you need both. To be successful, a stand-alone company needs a top-notch product and a clever distribution/sales strategy. However, there are a few nuances to add to the discussion.”

Here’s Wertz’s breakdown:

1. Startups are generally more successful when the founders are product-driven. “It’s typically much easier to add sales expertise to a product-driven organization than it is to add product focus to a sales-driven start-up,” says Wertz (Full disclosure: Boris Wertz is an investor in Techvibes.). “Sales is more of an execution game, meaning a start-up can hire senior executives to shape and refine the sales and distribution strategy. On the other hand, a great product requires great leadership with the right product instincts. Those intangibles are usually much harder to add.”

2. Sales-driven companies can turn into service organizations. “Sales-driven companies are often focused on maximizing short-term return on investment and this mindset can shape product decisions,” the Canadian investor explains. “The natural consequence is that sales-driven companies can evolve into service companies as they are stating to build every feature that clients are asking for instead of following a long-term product vision.”

3. The consumerization of IT is putting more emphasis on product. “Historically, software and products were sold to a company’s purchasing agent and CTO,” notes Wertz. “The sales cycle hinged on the ability of the vendor’s sales team to make the right contacts and manage the sales process and relationships from start to finish. Today, it’s a different story. The CTO and other management no longer serve as gatekeepers for which products are used in the organization.”

Wertz says that products are now introduced directly to end users and that this trend has a double impact:

  • small startups that don’t have a large sales force can now sell their products in the enterprise;
  • and the enhanced role of the end user in buying decisions makes the product experience all the more important. Good products that are easy to use take hold in this environment.

While the sales cycle may be changing, startups still need to focus on their sales and distribution strategy, according to him. “Products, no matter how great, usually don’t make money on their own. As a result, product-driven companies need to focus on distribution in order to succeed in the long-term,” he concludes.

RevenueWire can’t stop topping all the charts!

Congratulations to RevenueWire who have had an exciting month in the news being recognized for their continued growth and success!

RevenueWire ranks #27 on The Canadian Startup Index

RevenueWire ranks #37 on the Profit 500 (Canada’s Fastest Growing Companies)

These are huge accomplishments for a local startup company and we are super proud to have the RevenueWire team based out of the Vancouver Island Technology Park!

 

VITP Welcomes iDUS Controls as newest tenant!

VITP welcomed its newest tenant iDUS Controls Ltd. to the Collabor8 Suites Level 1 offices this week!

iDUS Controls Ltd. is a leading-edge intellectual property-based technology company. They specialize in the development of algorithmic controls and mesh-to-web communications. They support global partners by providing turn-key technology solutions that increase efficiency for agriculture, businesses and homes.

Keep your eyes open for some very big things from this company who is based in Nanaimo but expanding their offices into the technology hub that is Victoria! For more information on iDUS Controls, check out their website. 

Tech News: Innovating to Drive Growth: Advice from Canada’s Fastest-growing Technology Company

Posted by John Muffolini
On Techvibes.com
View the original article here

Avigilon, winner of Deloitte’s 2012 Technology Fast 50 award, has emerged to be one of the top competitors in the surveillance market. The Vancouver-based company designs and manufactures state-of-the-art patented HD cameras and software technologies. Since its inception in 2004, Avigilon has grown at pace: this year, the company posted a five-year revenue growth rate of 49,908%.

Alexander Fernandes, Avigilon’s founder and CEO, shares some of the strategy behind their success.

Has your company taken more of an international focus in the last 3 years? What has driven this change in your go-to-market strategy?

Avigilon was created in 2004 with the intention of being a global company from the beginning. Over the past few years, we have grown our company significantly and the global video surveillance market has provided a great opportunity for this growth. We now sell our products in more than 80 countries around the world with more than 90 percent of our sales coming from foreign markets.

During our IPO in late 2011, we set out the goal of being a $500 million company by 2016. Through the combination of our innovative product portfolio and leading the transition from analog to HD in a large multi-billion dollar market has positioned us well for international expansion.

How did you identify opportunities to expand your business internationally?

Our team identifies opportunities in the industry through in-depth market analysis and research. We expand existing markets and enter new markets based on upcoming revenue growth and demand for security products throughout the world.

What are the key factors that drive innovation in your company?

Avigilon was founded on innovation and it is something that is ingrained in our culture. We encourage our employees to strive to innovate in every department company-wide.

How did you benefit from participating in Technology Fast 50 program?

The Deloitte Technology Fast 50 helps to raise the profile of Avigilon which in turn helps us recruit the very best top talent. Deloitte is an international organization and its global Technology Fast 50 program provides prestigious recognition worldwide. Being named the fastest growing technology company in Canada in 2012 was an honour that validated our innovative products and recognized us as a leader in our industry.

 

 

Tech News: Why Startups Should Bootstrap for as Long as Possible

Attention Startups: Check out this article posted on TechVibes.com for some industry advice.

Posted by Rob Lewis
TechVibes.com
View the original article here.

Why Startups SHould Bootstrap for as Long as Possible

Masterful investor Warren Buffet famously stated that his favourite holding period was “forever.”

There is a parallel in the startup world, where many entrepreneurs argue that the right time to take venture capital is “never.”

Of course, the reality is that virtually all successful startups are ones who have taken venture capital, and the overwhelming majority of startups who strictly bootstrap either fail or have their growth severely stunted and never make it big. That being said, startups can succeed using the bootstrap method. And when they do, their success is that much more pronounced.

“What most people don’t realize is that there are plenty of tools out there to start your own company with just a few thousand dollars,” says Jon Oringer, who founded Shutterstock Images in 2003, on LinkedIn. “If you can figure out how to avoid an angel or venture round, you will have much more control in the long run.”

Shutterstock didn’t raise any outside funding until five years in—and it was a private equity round, not venture capital—at which point Oringer says “we had much more control than we would have in the venture phase.”

Here are his top reasons why boostrapping is an ideal method for startups:

1. You will fail faster. “It took me 10 tries to get to Shutterstock. Most of my startups never made it off the ground. Being an entrepreneur means being able to pivot quickly, shut down a business that isn’t performing and move on. If you use somebody else’s cash, you may be forced to continue even though you know it’s time to move on.”

2. Every dollar counts. “I was hyper-focused on ROI from the start when I was buying Google AdWords keywords. Since I could feel the money moving out of my own bank account, I was very sensitive to my return on investment. There was no room for error. This efficiency later translated into a complex lifetime value calculation that drove our acquisition model to this day.”

3. You will concentrate on profitability from the start. “All businesses need to create value at some point to survive. While some companies have had successful exits without profits, they are few and far between. By building profitability into your model from the start, you will be able to start scaling. Self-funding will force profitability thinking at every stage.”

4. You will own more of the company later. “The earlier you are subjected to dilution, the less of the company you will own in the future. Venture capital rounds often involve loss of control, and a majority of the company to be sold.”

And here’s how Oringer recommends minimizing capital expenditure:

1. Use as much open source software as you can. “Use MySQL instead of MS-SQL/Oracle. Use Linux (and specifically free versions like CentOS) instead of Redhat. CPAN alone has over 120,000 Perl modules that are already written—so why re-create the wheel?”

2. Learn how to code. “There are great affordable online learning platforms that can help you learn how to code, create html pages, link up databases, etc. Learn as much as you can because the more you can do yourself, the less you will have to hire.”

3. Be every job. “It may seem overwhelming, but it’s possible. When I started Shutterstock I was the customer service rep, the website developer, and the first photographer. By making sure I gave each role a shot, I knew exactly what I needed so I didn’t overhire. I wasn’t necessarily good at each job, nor was my expertise even close to each job, but I learned a ton and got to delay some hiring. This culture of lean innovation is still very much alive at Shutterstock and has contributed to much of our growth.”

4. Use your product as if you were the customer. “Not only will you get to know your own product better, but you’ll be doing quality assurance work and testing throughout the process.”

It isn’t always possible or practical to boostrap, Oringer admits. But the longer you wait to raise money, “the better off you and your business will be,” he affirms.

 

VITP welcomes Victoria Free-Net to the Innov8 Hub!

The Vancouver Island Technology Park is happy to announce our newest tenant Victoria Free-Net is in the midst of moving into their new office in the Innov8 Hub!

Victoria Free-Net is a not-for profit Internet service provider (ISP), providing Internet access, website and server hosting capacity at low cost to consumers.  Services include: domain name registration, website & email hosting, server hosting, moodle TLC and ecommerce.

Visit their website for more details on all of the services they offer.  VITP is excited to welcome a new tenant into our much buzzed about Innov8 Hub!

 

MTC Tenants Industrial Plankton in the Times Colonist today! “Siblings boost shellfish sector with algae-producing reactor”

 

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Ashley Roulston and Robert Roulston of Industrial Plankton have produced a device that creates algae for shellfish hatcheries out of fish waste. The first models were shipped over the weekend to a grower in Bamfield. Photograph by: DARREN STONE, VICTORIA TIMES COLONIST

Siblings boost shellfish sector with algae-producing reactor

ANDREW A. DUFFY
Times Colonist
May 22, 2013

They have a new name and a new focus and, as of this week, Industrial Plankton has a new lease on life as the three-year-old Victoria company has made its first major sale in a bid to make a name for itself in the aquaculture industry.

The firm, run by brother and sister Ashley and Robert Roulston, was previously known as Reef Safe Fish and in 2011 won the B.C. Innovation Council’s regional New Ventures competition for its closed-loop, waste recycling technology that recycles fish waste to produce food for penned fish.

That was then.

Now, with a name that more accurately reflects what it does, Industrial Plankton has adapted its technology to manufacture plankton to be used to feed shellfish. “Everything has been an evolution of the technology we started with,” said Robert.

The original concept was to establish technology to breed aquarium fish before the company switched to the recycling system and eventually evolved into the algae production business.

Robert said algae production was part of the fish breeding concept.

“We realized that was a real challenge and that there was probably a market in it,” he said. So they changed the design of their equipment and came up with a free-standing bioreactor that grows algae designed for the shellfish aquaculture industry.

The sealed chamber, when seeded with about 20 litres of algae, is capable of growing up to 1,000 litres of pure culture over the course of a week.

“It can also clean and sterilize itself and it has a sensor that monitors [algae growth] and can tell how many cells are in the water,” Robert said.

The machine also self-harvests and replaces the culture with new water and nutrients. And while it does all this, it also saves farmers in the shellfish farming industry time and money, said Ashley. “Forty per cent of their operating costs are growing algae and it has been problematic,” she said.

The partners expect that when the first bioreactor goes into use this year it could fuel strong demand for their product.

The first two models produced by Industrial Plankton will go to Nova Harvest in Bamfield and are expected to be in service within the next two weeks.

Nova Harvest president J.P. Hastery said the bioreactors will have a huge impact on his young company, a shellfish hatchery that produces geoduck clam seed for geoduck farmers. “It’s a high-efficiency machine for growing large quantities of clean algae and it will reduce my operating costs through automation [because] growing algae is one of the most expensive components of my business,” he said.

“This adds extra capacity at minimal cost.”

If the bioreactor does what it’s expected to do, Industrial Plankton may be forced to ramp up production and look for more space than they currently have at the Marine Technology Centre in North Saanich.

“Shipping the first ones is the biggest milestone,” said Ashley. “Shellfish farmers tend not to believe studies until other farmers go through the process and have good results — everyone will be waiting to see how this does.”

The company is raising money to fund manufacturing space and technology to streamline manufacturing. The prototype bioreactor took a year to build while the first two production models took about two months.

“We want to get that down to about a week to 10 days [per machine],” said Robert, who would like to see a manufacturing facility established over the next few months.

aduffy@timescolonist.com

View the article online here.

 

Cisco Systems at the Distinguished Entrepreneur of the Year Awards!
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VITP’s Marketing Coordinator, Melanie DeCorte with Terry Pettigrew from Cisco Systems at the 2013 Distinguished Entrepreneur of the Year Awards

Last night was BC’s premier business event; a black-tie gala held at the Victoria Conference Centre to celebrate the entrepreneurial achievements of Brandt Louie.

Cisco Systems was a table sponsor at this event for the 6th year in a row and were kind enough to invite VITP’s Marketing Coordinator, Melanie DeCorte to this gala as a table guest.

This is an exceptional event that sells out every year and had over 600 guests in attendance last night.  More information on this event can be found here.

A big thank you to Terry Pettigrew at Cisco Systems for the invite, we were proud to help support your company through attending this event and look forward to seeing you at the 2014 gala!