In an effort to help companies understand British Columbia’s tech sector, the BC Tech Association has launched the BCTechBase, a database with an interactive dashboard that displays information about over 3,000 of the province’s technology companies. The tool displays recent financing and acquisition activity, and enables users to parse information about companies by growth stage, tech subsector, and workforce size.
“The BCTechBase is really intended to be a resource that can track companies as they progress over time, and provide the kind of dataset that we need to measure our progress as an ecosystem,” said Bill Tam, president and CEO of the BC Tech Association.
Early-stage VC financing saw an increase from just over 100 deals in 2013 to 230 in 2015.
In his role with the BC Tech Association, Tam regularly provides insights about British Columbia’s tech sector to visiting VCs, multinational company representatives, and international guests exploring investment or relocation opportunities. The BCTechBase provides a resource for these parties to explore recent information about the province’s sector.
“This is a tool for them to self-navigate. It doesn’t matter if it’s a person looking to work in the tech sector, a multinational that’s thinking about locating their operations here and wants to know the other players that are in the sector, or whether you’re a policymaker in the government that’s looking to determine what levers and what realities actually exist in British Columbia. All of those use cases are tied in,” Tam says.
Premium features of the directory, yet to be unveiled, will enable users to create comprehensive reports and perform more granular filtering of the fields.
Explaining the decision to include premium features, Tam says, “Our intent is to provide quarterly updates on all of these companies, which is an expensive undertaking. Our hope is that by having a premium version, we can make sufficient revenue to offset the costs of that pursuit.”
The BC Tech Association has been very active in the province’s mission to increase the number of companies that originate, grow, and become large anchor organizations in the province. The BCTechBase is meant to complement the 2016 #BCTech Strategy, which sought to bolster the province’s tech sector through initiatives delivering improvements in talent, capital, and markets.
The 2016 #BCTech Strategy was devised in part to address two large impediments to the development of anchor companies: shortages in talent and Series A funding. Earlier this year, the BC Tech Association, in association with the Information and Communications Technology Council and Vancouver Economic Commission, released the 2016 TechTalentBC Report which forecasts a tech sector talent shortfall of over 30,000 workers by 2021 if current trends do not change.
With regard to early-stage venture capital financing, the sector saw an increase from just over 100 deals in 2013 to 230 in 2015, according to the BC Technology Report Card released by the association with KPMG. In spite of the rise, the report says “concerns remain about the ease of companies in securing early-stage funding.”
The BCTechBase, Tam explains, can aid in addressing both of these issues.
“We want to be a top ten global hub, and in order to do that, we have to make it so transparent that people can understand the realities of the companies that are here, and we can attract more than our fair share of the best people, best talent, and capital,” Tam says.