30 Under 30: Alex Lee is developing hi-tech with Blue Gentian Capital

Lee is also working on his own venture, which is in stealth mode right now

Alex Lee | Age: 28

Co-founder and director, Blue Gentian Capital

Life Story: Alex Lee’s great-grandfather came to B.C. at the age of 16 and was told that he could get a job logging in the remote Vancouver Island community of Alert Bay. He ended up running the general store there and putting his children through university.

Years later, that man’s great-grandson also yearns for entrepreneurship. While getting a degree in business technology management at UBC, the younger Lee built a number of apps, including a soundboard app called Wowi (which created a “wow” in the voice of actor Owen Wilson on command) and Moody, a facial recognition app that analyzes your emotions and builds you a Spotify playlist based on how you’re feeling.

But his first true tangle with building a company was Apex Aerials, a drone videography and photography service providing real estate agents with aerial footage of their properties. “I had a bunch of realtors that were interested, but the technology was cumbersome and hard to use,”  admits Lee. “It crashed when I crashed the drone.”

After years of working with Vancouver-based quantum computing firm 1QBit, Lee branched off to co-found venture fund Blue Gentian Capital, where he leads the company’s advanced tech efforts. “I’m interested in the things that are going to have a big impact on tomorrow,” he says. “Things that are a bit out there.” He cites U.S.-based company IonQ, which is building a trapped-ion quantum computer, as an example. “It’s crazy complex and really interesting. [The hi-tech sector] is where I spend most of my time.”

Of course, Lee also has his eyes on starting his own venture, which is in stealth mode right now. All he’ll say is that “it’s in the sound design space, specifically in generative AI.”

Bottom Line: While Lee is hesitant to share exact numbers, companies in BCG’s portfolio have seen success of late. The aforementioned IonQ went public a few years ago and has been stable in a rocky market, while U.S. financial insights platform Aumni was acquired by J.P. Morgan last year. –N.C.