Vancouver Sunset

Vancouver Tech Showcase takes a different approach to highlighting local ventures

Six founders and over 50 Canadian & US investors gathered with a panoramic view of the city at the Vancouver Economic Commission (VEC) this Tuesday for a unique and intimate deal flow event. This was the fifth iteration of the Vancouver Tech Showcase co-hosted by Highline BETA.

Deviating from the traditional Demo Day format, investors were put on the spot first, introducing themselves and their funds in an effort to create meaningful connections between potential co-investors. This was beneficial to not only the startups, but to investors as well who learned about their colleagues and their investment theses, identifying areas for co-investment and shared deal flow. Hugues Lalancette of iNovia Capital described the purpose of the format perfectly during his introduction.

This theme held true throughout the remainder of the evening as entrepreneurs took the opportunity to lead discussions, asking for advice and guidance from the investors in small groups rather than a one-way presentation to the crowd.

The presenting startups, rotated between groups of investors, explaining their businesses and leveraging the collective wisdom of the room in an informal environment that generated more in depth discussions than a typical showcase format would. The companies were selected by a panel of key early-stage investors including ScaleUP VenturesVanedge CapitaliNovia CapitalYaletown Venture PartnersBC Tech FundVancouver Founders Fund and Highline BETA.

Highline BETA hosted The Vancouver Tech Showcase in partnership with the VEC as the event works toward a cause that we deeply believe in — supporting local startup ecosystems. VEC partnered with Startup Genome last summer, a respected and credible ranking of startup ecosystems, to evaluate the quality and depth of the Vancouver Startup Ecosystem in comparison to the rest of the globe. The valuable research done by Startup Genome identified key areas for improvement which we can boost with strategic support.

Although the report ranks Vancouver as the top startup ecosystem in Canada and 15th in the world, Vancouver falls short in the category of seed and Series A investments at 24th in the world. This event works to shift the needle on seed to Series A investments made in the Canadian West Coast.

View from the Vancouver Economic Commission.

It was a pleasure to co-host this tech showcase to support Pan-Canadian connectivity for entrepreneurs and investors of some of Canada’s high-growth ventures in response to this need. We were thrilled by the positive feedback we received from attendees and by the lingering crowd of investors and startups who wished to keep the conversation going late into the night. We are proud to facilitate these connections and constructive discussions to bridge the gap in Series A investments within the Vancouver ecosystem.