VIATeC and the Victoria advanced technology community had an incredible year in 2014. We want to celebrate the continued success of the tech community as we continue on our mission to foster and grow one of the most creative, innovative and entrepreneurial cities in Canada.
So here are the Victoria tech community’s top 10 accomplishments of 2014. It’s been a great year, and 2015 looks like it will be even better.
1. Victoria Tech Sector Continues to Grow and Grow
Two studies commissioned by VIATeC in 2014 show that Victoria’s advanced technology sector continues to grow in terms of revenues and employees.
In 2014 the combined revenues of the VIATeC 25 (the Victoria tech sector’s 25 biggest firms, according to revenues, that are founded or headquartered in Victoria) reached $1.16 billion.
That’s 20 per cent growth in combined reported revenues since the previous year!
As well, earlier in 2014 VIATeC commissioned an economic impact study to get some new numbers about the size and scope of Greater Victoria’s advanced technology sector. We spent time surveying local companies and then commissioned an independent professional researcher to collect and analyze the data using a rigorous methodology.
The result was the 2014 Greater Victoria Technology Sector Economic Impact Study (download the study here). Some notable results include:
$3.15 billion: Estimated annual revenues of Greater Victoria’s tech sector
884: Number of tech companies in Greater Victoria’s tech sector
15,000: Number of people directly employed by technology companies
$1.16 billion: Combined revenues of the top 25 companies based in Victoria (VIATeC 25)
$4.03 billion: Total economic impact of Greater Victoria’s tech sector
The results of the study, combined with the the VIATeC 25 demonstrates the success of the Victoria technology community.
2. 2014 Compensation Study Helps Employers Recruit and Retain Employees
In 2014 VIATeC once again researched and published a compensation and HR practices study of jobs common to Victoria technology companies. Successfully conducting and publishing a compensation study is a massive undertaking, and marks another achievement for VIATeC and the tech community in 2014.
VIATeC and local technology employers invested a considerable amount of time and effort to survey the 94 local technology companies that contributed compensation data for 64 common positions in Greater Victoria’s advanced technology sector.
The reason? A comprehensive study of compensation and HR practices helps our members to be informed about local labour market conditions in order to develop better attraction and retention strategies.
All participants that fully participated in the survey should have received a hardcopy of the study by December 31, 2014.
For other technology companies that are interested in purchasing a copy please have your CEO email email@example.com, keeping in mind that we only share a printed watermarked copy with the CEO or head of HR for VIATeC Technology Company Members.
3. VIATeC Bought a Building: Fort Tectoria
In 2014 VIATeC launched Fort Tectoria, the tech community’s new home at 777 Fort Street. We took possession of the building on March 31st, 2014 and finished moving in by September 11. The whole whirlwind process took just 5 months and 9 days.
Why did we buy a building? For one thing, steady, year-over-year success and growth of the Accelerator Program meant we needed more space.
VIATeC members had also told us they wanted a street-level downtown presence for the tech industry to make a statement that technology is driving Victoria’s economy. And in our previous location we were getting almost too good of a deal on our lease – we knew our rent would likely double if we stayed put.
So, by buying our own building we realized we would actually save VIATeC members money: the yearly operating cost of our new building at 777 Fort Street is half the cost of leasing similar space at current market rates.
Another interesting factoid: the entire down payment to purchase the building was paid for by revenues from the VIATeC Job Board.
But what we really want you to know is that Fort Tectoria is your space downtown. Fort Tectoria is perfect for holding meetings, staging events, or, most importantly, just for hanging out over a cold beer.
We hope you drop by your new home away from home anytime.
4. After Moving In We Immediately Kicked Things Off With Experience Tectoria
In September 2014 we kicked off life in our new building by hosting a giant party that put Fort Tectoria on the map: Experience Tectoria.
Every year we organize Experience Tectoria to bring the tech sector together to share and learn new ideas. Experience Tectoria is also a key way we help showcase local tech companies to potential investors whom we invite from all over the world to learn about Victoria’s vibrant technology scene.
Besides showcasing the DIY DNA of Greater Victoria’s advanced technology sector, in 2014 Experience Tectoria included performances and talks by slam poet Shane Koyczan and CBC Spark’s Nora Young.
Canadaland’s Jesse Brown, one of Canada’s most innovative and influential journalists, was also was a speaker at Experience Tectoria in 2014.
Now that we have moved our new home downtown we know Fort Tectoria will become a hub for creativity and culture.
5. The B-Side Expanded to Showcase the Creative Entrepreneurs that Power Tectoria
Back in 2013 VIATeC started the B-Side of the Ticket as a ticket sponsorship – an innovative way to connect with local concertgoers who might become future tech workers by associating the cool Tectoria brand with live music.
By 2014 the B-Side had transformed and grown into a lively, frequently updated blog with stories about the creative entrepreneurs who are transforming Victoria into one of Canada’s most liveable cities. A link to these blog posts is sent out each week to thousands of email newsletter subscribers with the message that Victoria is a vibrant, exciting and creative community where entrepreneurialism and innovation are key parts of our DNA.
After that, the B-Side expanded to include a weekly guest radio spot on a high-profile morning drive-in show, another great way to highlight the innovation and entrepreneurship of Victoria’s creative economy.
It’s all about identifying, promoting and celebrating the vibrancy of Canada’s coolest, hippest, and smartest city: Victoria.
We want every knowledge worker everywhere to know this is a fantastic place to live, work and play.
6. The Tech Community’s Support of Science Fairs Continued to Pay Off
The Victoria technology community’s support of local science fairs is continuing to pay off.
For example: in September 2013, local high school student and science fair participant Ann Makosinski won first-prize in her age group in the Google Science Fair for her heat-powered flashlight.
In 2014 Ann Makosinski continued to put Victoria, BC on the global map as an innovation hotspot – she went on to be profiled in Mashable and on MTV Canada. Ann even represented Tectoria on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.
It’s exciting to think about what Ann will do next, and how local science fairs are helping foster the next generation of tech talent in Victoria.
7. The VIATeC Accelerator Program Continued Its Upward Trajectory
In 2014 the VIATeC Accelerator Program continued to successfully guide and coach ambitious early-stage technology entrepreneurs with the goal of growing more successful tech companies in Victoria.
In fact, since its start in 2012 the Accelerator Program has become so successful we needed to find a new home to house a growing stable of technology startups. The end result of our search was Fort Tectoria, launched in September, 2014.
How successful has the Accelerator Program been? Here are some quick stats:
Accelerator Program applicants to date: 197
Participants accepted into Accelerator Program: 75
Total investment raised by participants and alumni: Over $10 million
Total jobs created and maintained by participants and alumni: 166
Companies currently enrolled in the program: 18
The end of 2014 also marked a special milestone for Accelerator program participant Crowd Content which increased its headcount from 2 to at least 12 employees in 2014 with plans to add more.
After making the move with us to Fort Tectoria this past fall, Crowd Content had added so many employees they needed new space and moved out in December.
We’re not too sad – Crowd Content CEO Clayton Lainsbury and his expanding team have found a new location just across the street from Fort Tectoria.
8. We Hosted Our Biggest VIATeC Awards Ever
See the full video of the 2014 VIATeC Awards here: http://vimeo.com/99369070
VIATeC hosted our biggest Technology Awards ever in 2014.
The event was sold-out with a record-breaking 756 attendees and 100 nominations – another historic high-water mark.
2014 marked the 13th anniversary of the awards, and interest remains very high – not only in nominating the innovative individuals and companies who make our sector strong, but in attending the awards to connect with the movers, shakers, doers and makers in Victoria’s imagination economy.
On top of that, the VIATeC Awards have developed a reputation across BC as a fun and innovative event that people willing to travel to attend.
This is great news, because the Awards highlight a broad cross-section of technology companies in Victoria to peers and policy makers across BC and Canada.
9. Canadian Startup Communities Turn to Victoria for Inspiration
In November Dan traveled to Ottawa to explain how technology has become Victoria’s #1 private industry in front of a packed room of technology movers and shakers from across Canada.
It was part of Startup Canada Day on the Hill, an event that attracted 1,000 attendees including some of Canada’s top entrepreneurs, investors, industry leaders, media personalities and government decision makers.
The growth and success of Victoria’s technology sector is getting noticed: people want to learn from us how our technology community is working together to foster entrepreneurial success, create jobs, and transform Victoria’s economy.
Dan’s talk in Ottawa came after he was was recognized as BC’s Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Builder of the Year at the BC Startup Canada Awards. Dan, along with Iain Klugman, CEO of Waterloo’s Communitech was invited to become an Advisor to Startup Canada’s Startup Communities program.
10. VIATeC Continues to Represent Victoria in Front of a Global Audience at SXSW
South by Southwest (SXSW) is massive series of film, technology, media and music festivals and conferences that take place every March in Austin, Texas – SXSW is one of the top cultural events of the year in the United States.
And every year VIATeC organizes and hosts a trip so that Victoria technology companies can participate SXSW.
Attending SXSW is a powerful way to raise awareness of the tech jobs and investment opportunities in Victoria in front of a critical mass of the world’s brightest minds and key influencers. What better way to showcase Tectoria and local companies looking for new partners, investors and customers?
In 2015 VIATeC is planning to bring our strongest contingent yet to SXSW to continue to get Tectoria on the map.
Besides networking and inviting investors and entrepreneurs to attend Experience Tectoria in 2015, we plan to showcase Victoria’s tech community at the SXSW trade show to educate the huge crowd all that we have going in our creative, innovative, and entrepreneurial city.
Also, for the first time ever, VIATeC will exhibit at the SXSW job fair to promote our online job board and our city as an opportunity for tech workers.
Companies that would like to join us in 2015 should email Robbie (firstname.lastname@example.org) to get more details.
So, Happy New Year!
2014 was an incredible year for VIATeC with a ton of accomplishments. And every one of our successes represent a true community effort.
So on behalf of VIATeC’s staff, I would like to thank you all for your support. We know that 2015 has great things in store for the creative, innovative inspiring entrepreneurs of Victoria’s advanced technology community.
Happy New Year!