UVic celebrates four local tech founders

Plus, interface design firm Metalab unveils a new look.

Welcome to this week’s Midweek Memo. In this issue, read about a new president for Certn, a new film studio on Malahat Nation, and a new look for Metalab.

Now, onto today’s briefing. It’s 681 words, a three-minute read.

UVic celebrates four local tech founders

The University of Victoria has been a pillar of the research and innovation community for the past 60 years – and with good reason. The post-secondary recently ranked third in the world and first in Canada for climate action, celebrating six decades of collaboration, innovation, and inclusion.

But it’s not just UVic doing big things – its alumni are making waves around the world and right here at home.

Four local entrepreneurs have been recognized in the University of Victoria 2024 Distinguished Alumni Awards. The awards celebrate the achievements of alumni in three categories: the Presidents’ Alumni Awards, Emerging Alumni Awards, and Indigenous Community Alumni Awards.

This year’s award recipients include:

  • Jayesh Vekariya, co-founder, joni: Vekariya’s entrepreneurial drive struck hard and fast at age 12 and carried him all the way to joni, the menstrual care company he co-founded in Victoria.

  • Susan Rae Blanchet, founder and CEO, Origen Air: Founded in 2019, Blanchet’s Origen Air was partially inspired by the health challenges of her father, whose work as a civil engineer may have exposed him to toxins. Origen Air develops air purification systems that combine filtration, sensors, and a nature-inspired design with bioengineered plant technology.

  • Scott Beatty, founder and CEO, MarineLabs: In 2017, two years after completing his PhD in Mechanical Engineering, Beatty founded MarineLabs. The Victoria-based company provides subscription access to high-resolution, real-time conditions data and AI-driven marine traffic insights from fleets of cloud connected, rugged instruments.

  • Rob Bennett, COO and program director, VIATEC: Rob was one of the first students to graduate from the University of Victoria’s computer science program in 1983. Since then, he’s been a proud member of the Victoria tech community as a software developer, founder, investor, mentor and coach. Rob has been with the Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology & Entrepreneurship Council (VIATEC) for over 20 years.

The Distinguished Alumni Awards was established in 2014 to recognize and celebrate the impressive work of University of Victoria graduates.


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Do you love Victoria’s food scene? Voting is now open for the Tasting Victoria Best Restaurant Awards. Click here to vote for your favourite restaurants in each of the 18 categories!

📰 More Victoria innovation news

✨ So fresh, so clean: Interface design firm Metalab unveiled its new brand and hinted that there may be further changes coming soon.

🤝 Let’s get it started: Sarah Miller Wright joined Certn as its new president. Headquartered in Victoria, Certn offers fully automated background checks and screenings for businesses.

🎥 Those Hollywood nights: The Malahat Nation is getting ready to welcome a $242M film studio complex as dreamed up by Beverley Dondale, founder and CEO of Victoria’s Alpha Select Production Services.

🕴️ Tech jobs of the week

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🙋 I need a…

We at Victoria Tech Journal know you, our community, pretty well. Are you searching for someone in your field to have coffee with, a hiring hookup, a lead on local investors, or a suggestion for a great Victoria tech tool? Whatever you’re hunting for, let us know. We’ll post it in this section and make it happen.

This week, someone is:

  • Seeking Victoria-based builders of flat-packed, modularized housing with a very small footprint (100 sf). The units would be standalone, durable, and low-maintenance for long-term use. Ideally, the builders would be able to collaborate on designing the space to make the most of the very small footprint and incorporate furniture and appliances from the design stage.

Email your requests to [email protected].

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