The best and brightest at #BCTECH Summit 2018

BCBusiness + BC Innovation Council The third annual #BCTECH Summit — the largest tech conference in Western Canada May 14 to 16 at the Vancouver Convention Centre — will have something for everyone.


BCBusiness + BC Innovation Council

Ian Crosby is co-founder and CEO of Bench, the largest bookkeeping company in the U.S. and which recently launched in Canada.

Largest tech conference in Western Canada showcases innovation in B.C.

There may be only one word to chart the growth of the B.C. tech sector in the last few years: Impressive.

“It’s been building since about 2000,” says Shirley Vickers, CEO of the BC Innovation Council (BCIC), the Crown corporation that — along with the provincial government —delivers the largest tech conference in Western Canada from May 14 to 16 at the Vancouver Convention Centre.

It is the event of the tech world. The third annual #BCTECHSummit will host about 6,000 participants, including investors, roughly 150 guest speakers, a few thousand high-school students scoping out the career market on Youth Innovation Day, as well as industry experts — plus everyone and anyone who’s touched by tech.

“There’s something for everyone,” says Vickers (pictured below at right). “It’s not only digital tech it’s energy, agriculture, genome, Triumph and D Wave — the breadth of this is incredible.”

It’s a changed market, says Ian Crosby, co-founder and CEO of Bench, the largest bookkeeping service in the U.S. and which recently launched in Canada — a trend that has some of the largest corporations locating in Vancouver.

“With the success of companies like Hootsuite, Clio, and Avigilon, we’re now firmly on the map — and raising VC (venture capital) and recruiting candidates is significantly easier,” says Crosby, who graduated UBC’s Sauder School of Business before launching his company in the U.S.

“We’ve also accumulated a critical mass of serial entrepreneurs and executives with expertise to accelerate companies in their early stages,” he says.

This route has been paved with the help of such local tech talent, plus the obvious cost advantages compared to a city such as New York, from where Crosby’s company moved in 2013, he says.

“Today, the cost advantage has eroded but I think the talent advantage has grown — and we’ve caught up in terms of raising capital,” he says.

 It’s also, let’s face it, the glorious rep that B.C. possesses.

“It’s the allure. Not only does B.C. offer a great lifestyle, but we’re attracting more investors, strengthening our talent pool, and leveraging our position in the Pacific Northwest to collaborate with our Cascadia partners,” says Vickers.

The speakers on deck for the event include Jared Cohen, founder of Google Ideas and CEO of Jigsaw; Nicole Eagen, CEO Darktrace; and Hootsuite’s Ryan Holmes, among the dozens of industry and tech leaders, and experts.

And aside from sharing information and insight, the event is a chance to personally connect and network with investors, partners and potential clients.

“I think when we started out, we thought the most important factor to our success was the quality of our idea,” says Crosby. “I now think by far the most important factor is the quality of our people. Over the past six years I’ve had the opportunity to work with some really incredible people here. It was hard to imagine how important that would be before I had experienced it.”

BCIC’s #BCTECH Summit is May 14 to 16. Use code BCBUSINESS and save $400 off the full conference price. Registration and tickets at #BCTECHSummit.

Created by BCBusiness in partnership with BC Innovation Council