Technology Impact Awards go live again to crown 2021 winners

The 28th edition of the Technology Impact Awards honoured local tech companies in 11 categories, from best startup to most impressive growth story.

Credit: BC Tech Association

Co-host Jill Tipping addresses the crowd at Science World

Held at Science World, the 28th edition of the TIAs honoured local tech companies in 11 categories, from best startup to most impressive growth story

Well, apparently nerds and geeks have one thing in common: they like to party.

That was the scene last night at Science World, when the 28th Technology Impact Awards (TIAs) celebrated the achievements of the province’s tech sector with a good, old-fashioned, in-person event. The sold-out gathering was also broadcast online.

Hosted by the BC Tech Association, the awards took place on two levels, with bar service, food by social enterprise Potluck Catering and a live band. BC Tech president and CEO Jill Tipping held down the first floor, while TV host–turned–human connection expert Riaz Meghji worked the upper level.

READ MORE: The B.C. economy has fundamentally changed. Are we ready for tomorrow?

“It’s wonderful to come together as a community and experience the excitement and energy that erupts when hundreds of passionate people share their stories and successes,” Tipping said. “This year, like last year, we were overwhelmed by the unbelievable support that this community brings to this program,” she noted of the TIA’s partners.

As the evening wore on, the well-lubricated crowd made it tough to hear some of the acceptance speeches for the awards, which honoured 44 finalists in 11 categories. George Heyman, provincial minister of environment and climate change strategy, stopped by virtually to announce a new award for 2022: Gamechanger – Climate Solutions. BC Tech will present that prize in partnership with Vancouver City Savings Credit Union.

READ MORE: 5 Questions: Christine Bergeron, Vancity president and CEO

“Despite the unprecedented challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, B.C.’s tech community has continued to find solutions and turn obstacles into opportunities,” said Meghji, who also interviewed finalists on the red carpet. “The past year has shown that when faced with an obstacle, B.C.’s tech sector rises to the challenge and comes out stronger.”

READ MORE: Q&A: Riaz Meghji says the pandemic has turned bosses into broadcasters

Losing to former Galvanize CEO Laurie Schultz in the coveted Person of the Year category, Carl Hansen triumphed at the end of the night when his AbCellera Biologics took the Company of the Year – Anchor prize.

READ MORE: Doubting Galvanize is risky business—as its billion-dollar deal shows

AbCellera swiftly brought its drug discovery platform to bear on COVID-19, noted founder, director and CEO Hansen, a recent EY Entrepreneur Of The Year winner for the Pacific region. “Working together, we were able to bring a solution to the clinic in world-record time,” he said of the resulting antibody treatment, which the U.S. authorized for emergency use last fall.

READ MORE: Entrepreneur Of The Year 2021 winner: Carl Hansen engineered AbCellera’s rise to biotech powerhouse

By the middle of next year, AbCellera estimates, that therapy will have reached almost two million patients, prevented more than 100,000 hospitalizations and saved roughly 40,000 lives.

To hear Hansen tell it, that’s just the start. “I’m most excited today about the opportunities before us,” he said of his publicly traded company, which now has about 370 employees and a market capitalization of some US$4.4 billion. “Just like seeing your kids grow up and go off to school, I’m looking forward to seeing what that kid will do out in the world.”

Excellence in Technology Innovation
Finalists: Canexia Health, Dapper Labs, Form, TraceSafe
Winner: Dapper Labs

Company of the Year – Startup
Finalists: ehsAI, Ideon, Live It Earth, Matidor
Winner: Matidor

Excellence in Technology Adoption
Finalists: Advanced Intelligent Systems,, HSBC Bank Canada, Limage Media Group
Winner: Advanced Intelligent Systems

Tech Culture of the Year
Finalists: Freightera, Klue, Lumen5, Rival
Winner: Klue

Spirit of B.C. Tech – Resilience
Finalists: Copperleaf, PressReader, Seaspan Shipyards, Thrive Health, Traction on Demand Winner: Traction on Demand

Company of the Year – Growth

Finalists: Acuva, Launchpad Technologies, PrecisionOS, Riipen
Winner: Launchpad Technologies

Company of the Year – Export
Finalists:, GeoComply Solutions, Invinity Energy Systems, LMI Technologies
Winner: LMI Technologies

Company of the Year – Scale
Finalists: Canalyst, East Side Games, Jane Software, Thinkific Labs
Winner: Thinkific Labs

Gamechanger – Diversity and Inclusion
Finalists: BroadbandTV Corp., Clio, East Side Games, Stemcell Technologies
Winner: BroadbandTV Corp.

Person of the Year
Finalists: Carl Hansen, Laurie Schultz, Hamed Shahbazi
Winner: Laurie Schultz

Company of the Year – Anchor
Finalists: AbCellera Biologics, Absolute Software, Cymax Group, Well Health Technologies
Winner: AbCellera Biologics