Vancouver Startup Week kicked off with a bang, with New Ventures BC and the BC Innovation Council (BCIC) announcing their top winners with a gala event at the Venue club on Monday night.
Taking home the top honor and $110,000 was Microdermics, a startup offering a painless alternative for anyone who has ever gotten a needle from their doctor. Jane Software took second place (and $60,000) for its integrated medical clinic management tool. Iris Automation was awarded third place for their AI-powered collision avoidance system technology for industrial drones.
“My goal is to see more BC tech companies developing, employing more British Columbians and driving our economy.”
– MLA Amrik Virk
“The BCIC New Ventures Competition is a testament to the entrepreneurial spirit alive and well in British Columbia,” said Grant Company, CEO of Microdermics. “Microdermics is proud to share the stage with some of the best companies in North America.” Microdermics’ technology offers a new way to deliver vaccinations and therapeutics and monitor drugs in the bloodstream.
In BC’s tech scene, medical device companies have traditionally taken a backseat to tech companies building apps and software, noted Microdermics co-founder and COO Sahan Ranamukharachchi, who said he was very surprised they won. “This is a testament to how hard we had to work and how many barriers we had to overcome.”
Microdermics intends to use the funds to obtain the equipment and materials they need to continue research; launch of a product on the market might not happen until 2019. In the meantime, winning at the competition will help the company to gain greater attention in the market and potentially attract a new round of investment.
— Patricia Beckerman (@patriciatatiana) September 27, 2016
The BCIC-New Ventures Competition is the biggest of its kind in Canada. It highlights up-and-coming provincial technology startups. New Ventures reports that alumni companies from the competition have generated 3,300 jobs and raised more than $300 million in financing.
Building up the regional tech hub with the help of competitions like this has been a major policy plank for BC’s Liberal government. “My goal is to see more BC tech companies developing, employing more British Columbians and driving our economy,” said Amrik Virk, Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services, from the event.
Over the past 16 years of the New Ventures competition, the organization has seen the caliber of our early-stage competitors increase in tune with higher support of an ever-expanding ecosystem, said Angie Schick, Program Manager for New Ventures BC. “The level of sophistication and innovation is reflective of the rate BC’s tech landscape is evolving to be bigger, better and more talented.”
Meatme.co, an online marketplace for consumers and farmers to crowdfund meat purchasing and offer home delivery, won the Vancity Social Venture prize package. Sensible Building Science took home the City Innovation Prize for their Internet of Things solution connecting buildings and the people who live and work in them. LlamaZoo too the BCIC Top Regional Startup prize for their 3D eLearning platform.
New Ventures BC lets early-stage tech ventures compete over a months-long process involving a series of pitches and business improvements. Along the way, the companies get mentorship during live presentations and behind the scenes. As well, the BC Innovation Council participates as an organization that aims to accelerate the growth and success of BC companies through extending resources and market opportunities.