Vancouver’s inaugural InnovateWest won’t feel like a first-time event

Industry veterans David Tyldesley and Mark Stephenson are showcasing some serious tech and business talent this week at InnovateWest

InnovateWest is kind of like NHL star (and North Vancouverite) Connor Bedard. As a rookie this season, Bedard put up 60 points in 66 games for a bad Chicago Blackhawks team and generally looked every bit like the superstar he was advertised to be.

And while InnovateWest—a tech and business conference hitting the Vancouver Convention Centre East on Tuesday, April 16 and Wednesday, April 17—is ostensibly a rookie, you’d be mistaken for looking at the speaker list and assuming it was a long-time staple of the Vancouver conference scene.

Put on by North Vancouver-based Cube Business Media (and its co-founders David Tyldesley and Mark Stephenson, who have been running conferences across the country for over 20 years), InnovateWest will feature more than 130 speakers across several industries. The list of attendees is about as stacked as you’ll see—and it has to be in order to compete with TED Vancouver, which is taking place the same day across the street.

Author and early Apple exec Guy Kawasaki headlines the event as the keynote speaker, but it’s absolutely packed to the brim with founders and major tech and business leaders, from Tentree founder Derrick Emsley to Wealthsimple’s Michael Katchen and Sam Sebastian, VP and country manager for Google Cloud Canada, to name a few.

“I’m going to wager that there’s never been so many senior tech and business leaders in one place—certainly not in the last five years—that are leading companies and driving the future economy here,” says Tyldesley. “We built this to be agnostic to the industry. Vancouver has this reputation for better or worse on having these different industries—gaming, cleantech, VFX, natural resources—all in their own silos. But all those companies have designs and plans on innovation. So we’re trying to bring a lot of these tech-enabled businesses together.”

The BC Tech Summit is still on hiatus since COVID, and its absence was a major reason that Cube Business Media came in to fill the gap. “We were the guys to say, ‘We’re going to do it a little differently,’” says Tyldesley. “We’re going to replace that big gap in the market.”

But just because he’s got a wealth of experience in the area doesn’t mean that Tyldesley, who also helps run Ottawa’s SAAS North conference and Tech Talent North in both Vancouver and Toronto, isn’t a tad nervous about what InnovateWest will be. “With a new event, all you have is your crystal ball,” he says. There’s nothing like the event business to keep you on your toes and create a little anxiety in your stomach. There are a million things that need to happen for it to be successful. We have a shot at 3,000 attendees. It’s going to be amazing for this market.”

InnovateWest takes place at the Vancouver Convention Centre East on April 16 and 17. You can purchase tickets here.