Smart business card startup Ovou wins $110,000 at 22nd New Ventures BC competition

New Ventures BC gave out a cumulative $250,000 in prize money across eight winners.

New Ventures BC (NVBC) has unveiled the winners of its 22nd annual competition, doling out over $250,000 in prize money in partnership with Innovate BC.

Among the top three prizes, Vancouver-based smart business card provider Ovou won first place, securing $110,000. By tapping an Ovou card on a smartphone, users can instantly share a curated professional profile and contact information.

According to Ovou, the startup bootstrapped its way to profitability, and was able to acquire clients like the US Army Recruiting Operation, Insight Global, and RE/MAX, among others.

Beam Commerce, which offers an e-commerce sales optimization platform, took home the second place Innovate BC $60,000 prize. Established last year in West Vancouver, Beam’s product suite includes applications that are designed to help with upselling, order tracking, shop quizzes, and more.

Securing the third prize, VoxCell Bioinnovation received $35,000 for its innovative 3D bioprinting technology. The company said its offering is designed to accelerate meaningful insights from clinical trials to help develop oncology drugs.

Last year’s top three winners were MintList (incorporated as TrafficDriven Technologies), Train Fitness, and Moment Energy. Other past competitors include Aspect Biosystems, Lumen5, Jane Software, and publicly-traded biotech giant AbCellera, which was a 2013 finalist and the recipient of the first NVBC Alumni Impact Award.

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NVBC was created over two decades ago by venture capitalist Wal van Lierop to accelerate entrepreneurship and innovation in British Columbia’s tech sector by providing education, mentorship, networking, cash prizes, grant funding, and recognition.

The organization claims that since its inception, three thousand companies have entered the competition. NVBC also claims that its top companies are responsible for over $1 billion in funding raised and more than 9,000 jobs created. The competition is operated by New Ventures BC, and supported by Innovate BC, other private and public sponsors, and volunteer mentors, speakers, and judges.

New Ventures BC also awarded five additional companies for their achievements across a range of categories, including cleantech startup Acel Power for the Sustainability Prize; biodegradable glow sticks manufacturer Nyoka for the Regional Startup Prize; Yield Exchange CEO Yvette Wu for the Woman-Led Venture Award; and biotech firm Immfinity for the Luminaries Diamond-in-the-Rough Award.

Semios, which provides a precision-farming agtech platform, also received the Alumni Impact Award at this year’s ceremony. Semios participated in the competition in 2011, and has since gone on to make several acquisitions and raise over $225 million in capital according to NVBC.

Feature image courtesy Innovate BC.

Charlize Alcaraz

Charlize Alcaraz

Charlize Alcaraz is a staff writer for BetaKit.

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