Our favourite tech stories of 2023

Even in the face of a recession, innovation in B.C. is powering on

This year, we at BCBusiness had the honour and privilege of chatting with some of the most creative minds in the province. And amidst plenty of conversations around challenges businesses are facing in this economy, we were able to capture stories of innovation that showcase the transformative power of technology in tough times.

B.C. companies big and small, old and new, spanning sectors like agriculture, robotics, health and education, are leveraging technology to drive meaningful change in the province. Like last year, we decided to highlight five of our favourite pieces (in no specific order) to send off 2023. 

1. Sanctuary AI deploys “the world’s first human-like robot” at a Mark’s store in Langley

Any time a B.C. company does “the world’s first” anything, we can’t help but get excited. In this case, Sanctuary AI delivered: the Vancouver-based company partnered with Canadian Tire to deploy a human-like robot at a Mark’s store in Langley—and it was able to complete over 100 tasks. It’s spooky, it’s impressive and it’s no small feat, considering that Sanctuary has been working on this project for at least five years.

UBC Creative Destruction Lab
Credit: Kai Jacobson. UBC Creative Destruction Lab

2. UBC-based Creative Destruction Lab promises to change the world several times over

Putting on Creative Destruction Lab – West is an absolute ordeal for Darrell Kopke and his team at UBC Sauder. And it’s absolutely worth it. The two-day lab pairs aspiring entrepreneurs and founders with seasoned mentors and judges who decide if they should continue in the program toward subsequent funding. Think Dragons’ Den, but the Dragons actually care about the ventures.

Credit: James O'Mara. Kapoose Creek Bio
Credit: James O’Mara. Kapoose Creek Bio

3. Kapoose Creek Bio is looking for innovative medical solutions in fungi

The stuff coming out of Vancouver-based Kapoose Creek Bio is mind-boggling in more ways than one: the startup is all about exploring the world of fungi, and it’s using AI-driven technology to unlock therapeutic secrets for infectious diseases, cancer and neurological disorders.

SkyAcre's Ishaan Kohli

4. Youth Entrepreneur of the Year 2023: Agtech entrepreneur Ishaan Kohli grows SkyAcres to new heights

Crowned a Youth Entrepreneur of the Year by national charity The League of Innovators, Ishaan Kohli is planting seeds of change within the agriculture industry. His Surrey-based firm made a vertical farming device that creates the best-case-scenario for growing produce: “We grew fresh fruits and vegetables inside of a grocery store,” said Kohli, “and we were able to reduce the cost of fresh produce by up to 76 percent.”

Stemcell Technologies founder and CEO Allen Eaves
Credit: Stemcell Technologies. Dr. Allen Eaves

5. 5 Questions: Stemcell Technologies founder and CEO Allen Eaves looks back on 30 years in biotech

One of the best perks of this job is getting to pick the brains of some of the smartest, most accomplished people in the province. Allen Eaves is unquestionably one of those so we couldn’t help but use his company’s 30th anniversary as an opportunity to put him on the spot.