BDC Moves into Launch Academy’s Vancouver Office Space

Launch Academy, the Vancouver-based “pre accelerator” program cofounded by Ray Walia and Mike Edwards, is welcoming the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) as its newest neighbour.

The space recently expanded its Gastown location and is making a push towards providing more resources for its companies.

Executive director Ray Walia said, “This marks a significant milestone for Vancouver’s startup ecosystem. Our aim is to ignite Vancouver’s startup ecosystem by providing resources for entrepreneurs. Having BDC Venture Capital join us in our space marks a milestone in what we have been working towards.”


Launch Academy expanded from 12 desks in a shared office to its own 12,000 square feet headquarters housing over 150 entrepreneurs. It’s home to some of B.C’s more well known startup players too, including one we’ve reported on today in the GrowLab accelerator program. It’s also home to LX Ventures, Garibaldi Capital, Microsoft, Perch, Strutta, Recap Health Ventures and Lighthouse Labs. Social tech powerhouse facebook also hosts regular office hours in the space.

Other startups who call the space home include Picatic, Tapstream, ContentDJ, Shnarped Hockey, Instaradio and myBestHelper.

The Launch Academy space is an interesting concept: its not quite an accelerator, but companies still actually have to apply to get a desk (and pay for it too, mind you). But Launch Academy sells entrepreneurs on the fact that they’re paying to work around tons of influential peers in the startup world, as well as other companies who passed a vetting process along the way. And given that GrowLab is housed in the same building, its not hard to think that once companies have a desk in the place, they can probably up their chances of admission if they so desire to be a part of the accelerator.

With BDC coming in and joining the party, it only ups the space’s overall appeal to startups looking to get connected. Indeed, a release stated that startups working from Launch Academy will have access to “key individuals behind BDC Venture Capital’s investments, including Andrew Lugsdin, Partner with the BDC Venture Capital IT Fund, and Geoff Catherwood, Partner with the BDC Venture Capital Energy/Cleantech Fund – both established venture capitalists here in British Columbia.” Dion Madsen of the BDC Venture Capital Healthcare Fund will also work from the space.

“Great ideas don’t just turn into great companies,” said Catherwood. “Entrepreneurs need feedback and a robust ecosystem of supporters. Above all, they need smart money – investors who understand the marketplace, who share the entrepreneur’s passion for innovation, who can identify the potential of a great idea and then help unlock commercial success.”

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