Each month, the team at Switchboard Public Relations connects the dots between the trends, headlines and narratives informing the B.C. tech sector.
For January’s Connecting The Dots, the team looks back on the month’s raises, CubicFarm Systems’ innovative supply chain solutions, and the industry as a whole as it takes the time to #ShowUsYourLeave.
Tech funding stays hot
The Short: B.C. proved to be a top contender in Canada’s tech ecosystem in 2021 by raising nearly $4 billion, producing double-digit unicorns, and increasing startup investments by 300 percent. Based on the flurry of funding announcements in January, 2022 appears to be on the same course.
The Long: Almost two years after its Series B raise, Vancouver’s Canalyst announced a $70-million Series C. Canalyst transforms the workflows of investors and finance professionals globally through better data and time savings, and with this funding the company expects to double its global headcount this year to further invest in product development and delivery, global expansion, and customer support.
Another Vancouver company, Ionomr Innovations, announced the closing of a $15-million US Series A funding round with lead investors Shell Ventures and Finindus, joined by Chevron Technology Ventures (CTV), NGIF Cleantech Ventures and Pallasite Ventures. The funding will allow Ionomr to further scale its development and manufacturing of ion-exchange membranes and polymers, which are fundamental to the acceleration of the hydrogen economy.
Completing the Vancouver funding trifecta, MintList announced a $2.76 million seed round that will be used to support the launch of its online auto sales platform. After selling $2 million in inventory in 2021, the recent New Ventures BC Competition winner is looking to expand across Canada in 2022.
Of course, it remains to be seen how Bank of Canada’s inflation-fighting interest rate hikes, which are expected to come as soon as March 2, will affect funding and capital markets.
CubicFarms takes the SXSW stage
The Short: Recently announced as a SXSW Innovation Awards finalist, Langley-based CubicFarm Systems develops commercial-scale indoor farming solutions that overcome long food supply chain disruptions and severe weather conditions that affect consumers’ ability to access fresh, healthy foods year round.
The Long: With inflation rates at decade-high levels and multiple extreme weather events joining the COVID-19 pandemic in disrupting supply chain, grocery prices are increasing and access to fresh food is decreasing. This new reality means we must start rethinking how we grow our food, get it to the table, and make it affordable today and in the future.
No wonder CubicFarms’ livestock feed division was recently selected as one of five finalists in the New Economy category at the 24th annual SXSW Innovation Awards.
Its HydroGreen Grow System enables farmers to grow nutritious fresh livestock feed on-farm, sustainably, in any climate, year-round. HydroGreen’s indoor growing tech was developed by farmers significantly impacted by water scarcity, and uses 90 percent less water, less land, and zero pesticides or fertilizer in turning seed into superfeed in just six days.
#ShowUsYourLeave gathers momentum
The Short: Momentum from the #ShowUsYourLeave movement is making waves across Canada, with B.C. tech companies including Hootsuite and Thinkific taking to social media to showcase what they provide beyond traditional benefits.
The Long: The pandemic has brought meetings, classrooms and daycares into our homes, and employees are taking the time to think about what matters most. What started as an opportunity to discuss paid family leave has morphed into the #ShowUsYourLeave social media movement.
In an industry known for flexible work schedules and fostering creativity, it was no surprise that members of the tech ecosystem joined the trend to share what they have available.
Some notable highlights include:
- Hootsuite has Paid Wellness Week, where the entire organization has the week off
- Klue provides unlimited paid time off for its employees and encourage volunteering and participating in learning opportunities that are not limited to job-related skills
- MacroHealth offers paid time off for employees who experience a pregnancy loss to recover and grieve
- Thinkific ensures team members prioritize their mental health with a specific budget
With the Great Resignation inching its way into Canada, employees are deciding to quit their unfulfilling jobs and pursue their passions in supportive work environments. With hundreds of open positions across the industry, organizations are needing more than salaries and traditional benefits to differentiate themselves in the market.