Feeling nostalgic

Here’s a special edition summer wrap-up for you.


Welcome to this week’s Midweek Memo, brought to you by the Centre for Ocean Applied Sustainable Technologies (COAST).

In this issue, we’re taking a slight departure from our regularly scheduled programming because this whole fall thing is a little bittersweet. I did enjoy my first Starbucks PSL over the weekend and the sports calendar is unrivaled this time of year. Still, though, I can’t shake the vibe that I’ll miss how easy summer feels. Please allow me to revel in summer memories one last time with this octet of stories that Victoria’s tech community served up as if it were a frosty glass of lemonade.

These stories, which all dropped between May Long and Labour Day, include tips from downturns past, a major influx of government cash, an even bigger Series A, a three-company merger, and plenty more.

Now, onto today’s briefing. It’s 846 words, a three-minute read.

P.S. Have you registered for Victoria Tech Morning Coffee or grabbed your tickets to Jason Fried live in Vancouver yet?

P.P.S. If you're not already subscribed, you can fix that here.

Left, Corina Ludwig, general manager, FunctionFox; top right, Art Aylesworth, former CEO of Carmanah Technologies; bottom right, Hannes Blum, former president and CEO of AbeBooks.

It’s not the first economic downturn, and it won’t be the last. Victoria’s business veterans — Corina Ludwig, general manager, FunctionFox; Art Aylesworth, former CEO of Carmanah Technologies; Hannes Blum, former president and CEO of AbeBooks — offer tips on how to navigate the choppy terrain.

Joni co-founders Jayesh Vekariya, left, and Linda Biggs, right. Photo: LinkedIn

We took a deep dive into period-care startup Joni, which has since linked up with Whole Foods, after it advanced the farthest of any Vancouver Island-based company in the New Ventures BC 2023 competition.


Propelling Innovation in the Sustainable Blue Economy

British Columbia is at the leading edge of research and commercial development of ocean technology, an opportunity that’s not only exciting, it’s also imperative.

“There’s an urgent need for companies to mitigate their impact and become less extractive and more sustainable,” says COAST Executive Director Jason Goldsworthy. “Ocean and marine industries have a vital role to play in forging a sustainable blue economy, and there are an increasing number of innovators and entrepreneurs working to better our use and interactions with the ocean.”

Find out who they are and learn how COAST is helping establish Pacific Canada as a world leader in ocean and marine innovation at canadacoast.ca.

Photo credit: @supmegbaseball on Twitter

From baseball to battlegrounds and Flash to frontier technologies, the local gaming space is making a major name for itself. We explored it through conversations with Eric Jordan, chair of the Video Game Industry Round Table with VIATEC and CEO of Codename Entertainment; Tim Teh, co-founder, Kano; and Mike Wozniewski, president and CTO, Hololabs.

From left to right: Emilie de Rosenroll, group CEO, South Island Prosperity Partnership; Christina Clarke, executive director, Indigenous Prosperity Centre; Harjit S. Sajjan, minister of international development and minister responsible for PacifiCan; Jason Goldsworthy, executive director, COAST; and Kevin Murdoch, mayor, District of Oak Bay. Photo: Kevin Light.

Photo credit: VIATEC.

We caught up with a quartet of current board members — Maria Davidson, CEO, Udutu; Corina Ludwig, general manager, FunctionFox; Armon Arani, co-founder, Cognito Health; Rasool Rayani, investor and entrepreneur; — who shared their insights on why they joined, how it has impacted them, and what they’d tell prospective members.

Photo credit: Niricson on Twitter.

Niricson, a UVic spinoff that digitizes infrastructure assets like dams or spillways, completed a Series A worth over $10 million. The round was led by led by MUUS Climate partners, joined by Bentley Systems, Sustainable Development Technology Canada, Export Development Canada, Invest Victoria, Australia, Forward Venture Capital, Techstars, and other investors. The company previously raised $2 million.

Photo credit: @checkfront on Twitter.

Checkfront, the Victoria-based software company crafting booking sites for tourism, merged with a fellow tourism software outfit: the Australian company Rezdy. The deal was signed at travel extravaganza Arival’s Bangkok stop in June. But, the link-up had been in the works for five years.

Photo credit: Regiondo.

While the terms of the above merger were undisclosed, Pender Ventures principal Kenndal McArdle noted involvement in a LinkedIn post and teased that more announcements were forthcoming. The first dropped shortly after when it was revealed that the merger features a third company: European tour and activity booking software business, Regiondo.

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Have something or someone we should know about? Reply or email [email protected] so we can work together to spotlight the lesser-known stories of Victoria's tech ecosystem.