November/December 2020

In this issue

Feb 16, 2021
The Innovators: Visier helps organizations get to know their true selves
Nick Rockel

Ryan Wong wants organizations to see the truth about themselves so they can create a better future. That means making data-driven decisions–the kind enabled by Visier, the cloud-based people analytics and workforce planning platform he founded with John Schwarz in 2010. “Everything an organization needs to know about their people, we touch it,” Wong says. “Whether it’s recruiting, whether it’s...

Feb 11, 2021
The Innovators: Carbon Engineering is building a plant to help restore the atmosphere
Michael McCullough

Moon shots don’t get bigger than what Carbon Engineering has set out to do: remediate our increasingly heat-trapping atmosphere by pulling out the carbon dioxide. (Oh, and while we’re at it, let’s use the CO2 to create a renewable synthetic fuel.) The process is working on a small scale at a test plant in Squamish, part of the reason the...

Feb 9, 2021
The Innovators: Thinkific is teaching the world how to educate remotely
Nick Rockel

As education of every kind goes virtual in the wake of COVID-19, Thinkific has been putting on a master class. The Vancouver company, co-founded by CEO Greg Smith in 2012, lets entrepreneurs and businesses create and sell online courses. Unlike other such learning outfits, which profit by handling course development and distribution, it gives users control of their work, like...

Feb 5, 2021
The Innovators: Mark Anthony Group bottles lightning—for the second time
Nathan Caddell

Most times, when a company hits it big with a product, it becomes a household name. Do that twice, and full-blown ubiquity is almost guaranteed. So it’s surprising more BCers don’t know that the creator of arguably the two biggest flavoured alcoholic beverages in history is based in Vancouver. Our story begins in 1981, when a 31-year-old wine rep named...

Feb 4, 2021
The Innovators: Creatus Biosciences engineers tiny creatures to do our bidding
Nathan Caddell

Talk about hitting the sweet spot. Creatus Biosciences has genetically engineered a new species of micro-organism to produce compounds from xylose sugars, with applications ranging from biofuels to food additives. Former BCBusiness 30 Under 30 winner Dara Djafarian, president of the Vancouver-based company, oversaw a US$1.5-million funding round early this year. In June, global publication Biofuels Digest highlighted seven-employee Creatus as...

Feb 2, 2021
The Innovators: AbCellera Biologics found its moment to shine amid the pandemic
Nick Rockel

When COVID-19 struck, AbCellera Biologics was better prepared than most. Since 2018, through a contract with the Pandemic Prevention Platform (P3) program run by the U.S. government’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the Vancouver-based biotech outfit had been using its expertise in antibody discovery and immune profiling to lead the development of a rapid pandemic response. This work took...

Jan 29, 2021
The Innovators: Themis Solutions wants to make legal services cheap and universal
Michael McCullough

Developing Clio, the leading software platform for law firms to track billable hours, manage cases and invoice clients, helped Themis Solutions raise US$250 million–the most ever for a B.C. startup–from two American growth equity firms in 2019 for a minority stake in the company. But the Burnaby-based software-as-a-service provider with 500-plus staff has a loftier goal in mind. You can...

Jan 28, 2021
The Innovators: FrontFundr opens up private equity investing to the public
Nathan Caddell

Peter-Paul Van Hoeken remembers what it was like when he founded FrontFundr in 2013. The Vancouver-based crowdfunding outfit sought to open up investing in private companies to the public, something more or less unheard of in Canada. Businesses were happy to see FrontFundr hit the market—it meant more opportunities for them. Likewise, small- and medium-sized investors appreciated the added options. Professional...

Jan 26, 2021
The Innovators: Addy Technology aims to drop the barriers to investing in real estate
Nathan Caddell

Who says you need big bucks to play the housing market? Formerly Imby, Vancouver-based Addy Technology Corp. aims to bring real estate investment to the masses, making it possible to get in on residential properties for as little as $1. Investors then reap profits through the sale of the home or from rental income. “What’s wrong with real estate is...

Jan 22, 2021
It’s a Good Thing: A growing legion of “upcyclers” is turning trash into treasure
Matt O'Grady

Recycling, as an exercise in sustainability, has always been fraught. It’s been almost 40 years since the introduction of Canada’s first municipal recycling program, and yet much of what is produced as packaging, consumer or industrial goods still doesn’t get recycled. According to a 2019 study by Deloitte for Environment and Climate Change Canada, 87 percent of plastics end up...

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