Local Businesses Talk TED

TED 2014 in Vancouver | BCBusiness
TED will be held in Vancouver and 2015, and conference organizers have indicated that they would like to keep it in Vancouver for the next few years.

Suppliers and contractors gauge the impact of TED 2014 on their bottom line

For a few of the dozens of businesses that make a living off of supplying Vancouver’s conference industry, TED 2014 stood out. The global media spotlight and exposure to hundreds of high profile dignitaries made Technology, Entertainment, Design 2014, an opportunity that some small businesses could not pass up.

Last Fall TED’s logistics team approached Clint Landrock, a VP for products at Nanotech Security Corp., a Burnaby-based manufacturer of enhanced security tags. TED had a problem: with hundreds of high profile attendees in an area as busy downtown Vancouver, how do you keep the venue secure?

Nanotech worked with TED to develop badges for the conference that were both attractive and non-replicable. Nanotech’s products use nano-optics instead of holograms, to verify the authenticity of valuable objects, like currency or luxury goods. Over the course of two months, Nanotech worked with TED to develop unique, event access IDs for the conference’s 1,200 participants.

For a public company on the verge of bringing its technology to market, the exposure was invaluable, says Landrock. He adds that the collaboration is great news for Nanotech’s shareholders.

For Brian and Corin Mullins, the makers of Holy Crap Cereal, the news that the conference organizers needed thousands of units of their Gibsons, B.C.-made cereal, came on short notice. Two days before the event kicked off, TED organizer Colette Lynch contacted the couple and asked if they could have three thousand units of product delivered to TED venues in Vancouver and Whistler.

“It got to the point that if anything went wrong, we couldn’t replace it,” says Brian Mullins, who barely had enough product to cover the order. “So we rented a truck ourselves and drove it up to Whistler and to the conference centre in Vancouver to make sure because we couldn’t have replace them.”

“We are choosy about who we partner with—showcasing only the best of the best,” said Lynch in a statement. “I came across the product at my local grocer and took a chance on contacting Holy Crap to see if they could ship 3,000 single cereal cups within two days.”

For both companies, it will take at least a few months to gauge the impact that exposure that TED had on their business; though the Mullinses have already received calls from distributors in China which they attribute to their TED exposure.

What’s most important for us is we now have a very solid reference to show that we can commercialize our technology and use it in a very real way,” says Landrock.