Business getaway marketplace RetreatsAndVenues takes first prize in New Ventures BC 2023 startup competition

Vancouver-based startups Browse AI and Blanka came in second and third place.

New Ventures BC has given out $250,000 in prize money to the winners of its 23rd annual startup competition, presented by Innovate BC.

The competition brings together the province’s top startups who receive access to education, mentorship, and prize money. This year, B2B marketplace RetreatsAndVenues took home the top prize of $110,000 and the title of BC’s top startup.

As its name suggests, RetreatsAndVenues offers an online marketplace of over 4200 corporate retreat and gathering venues spanning 120 countries. The startup says it curates options for businesses facilitating retreats through its platform and provides a tool which directly compares, among other things, the pricing, availability, and food options of venues.

“Winning the 2023 New Ventures BC Competition is a huge achievement for our team. We’re truly humbled by this honour and thankful for the guidance and support we’ve received along the way,” said Cory Sivell, Co-Founder and CEO of RetreatsAndVenues. “This victory will serve as a catalyst for our continued growth, allowing us to further our mission of helping deliver over 1 billion 5-star retreat experiences.”

BrowseAI, a platform that enables users to automate the monitoring or scraping of data in any website, took home the $60,000 second place prize. Founded in January 2020, Browse AI says it raised over $2.8 million USD and hit 250,000 users in August.

Blanka, which raised $2.7 million CAD in seed funding in August, won the $35,000 third place prize. The startup acts as a comprehensive wholesale hub and fulfilment partner for branded beauty products, touting itself as a “one-stop-shop” for independent brands of any size to source and customize beauty products.

In addition to the top three prizes, the following four companies received $10,000 prizes for achievements across a range of categories.

Viridis Research, a watertech startup developing technologies that eliminate organic pollutants from water, took home the sustainability prize while the leap to the cloud prize went to Leasey.AI, a platform for property managers to automate the residential leasing process.

The regional startup prize went to Joni, a period care brand that’s increasing access to sustainable menstrual products. Meanwhile, the woman-led venture award went to Ginger Desk, a healthtech startup providing on-demand virtual admin support for health practitioners.

The alumni impact award, which does not come with a cash prize, went to healthtech company Jane Software, which placed second in the 2016 New Ventures BC competition. The award recognizes competition alumni companies that have made a significant contribution to the BC tech community.

The New Ventures BC competition says that, to date, it has supported over 3,500 companies that have created 9,000 jobs, and raised over $1.5 billion in financing in BC.

Feature image courtesy New Ventures BC.

Alex Riehl

Alex Riehl

Alex Riehl is a staff writer and newsletter curator at BetaKit with a Bachelor of Journalism from Carleton University. He's interested in tech, gaming, and sports. You can find out more about him at or @RiehlAlex99 on Twitter.

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