Each month, I share my favourite local stories that showcase the incredible work being done by members of our B.C. tech and innovation community. The objective of these posts is to shine a brighter light on the innovation that’s taking place across this province.
Here are the stories from August that caught my eye.
What Happened: A B.C. tech company is showing that there’s more than one solution to reducing food waste.
Why We Should Care: We’re currently losing and wasting 1.3 billion tonnes of food each year, while over 800 million people are food deprived. The economic, environmental, and societal impact of food waste is impacting people across the globe and there’s a growing urgency to find and deploy solutions to curb this trend.
Trendi, the 80-person, Burnaby-headquartered foodtech company, is using robotics and a fresh approach to mitigate and repurpose food waste. The company rescues excess food waste and converts it into nutrient-dense products, while providing growers with a brand-new revenue source. Earlier this month, Trendi received $85,000 from the Canadian Food Innovation Network to further develop its Smoothie Machine, which automates the production of fresh fruit smoothies and hot soup options utilizing upcycled ingredients.
It’s exciting to see a homegrown foodtech company taking a unique approach to fighting back against global food waste, food security, and climate change.
What Happened: The Victoria-headquartered, female-founded company is replacing toxic light sources and reducing plastic waste across multiple industries with its patented bioluminescence technology.
Why We Should Care: We’ve all seen or held a glowstick, but not many people are aware of the significant impact they’re having on our environment. Billions of toxic glowsticks are discarded each year, and over time the petrochemicals that provide the light source leak into the environment, emitting more than 1.5 million tonnes of toxic waste a year.
Nyoka’s innovative solution – which replaces the chemiluminescence formulas used in today’s glowsticks with bioluminescence natural light -- offers a more sustainable, safer, and cost-effective alternative. The technology has use cases across industries like manufacturing, fishing, and health and is attracting the attention of new customers, partners, and investors. One of the company’s biggest financial backers, SOSV, identified Nyoka’s ‘powerful and unique’ solution as one of the key reasons they were attracted to the Victoria biotech company.
With Founder and CEO Paige Whitehead at the wheel and a passionate, talented, and growing team behind her, Nyoka seems poised to play a key role in our global fight against GHG emissions.
Lastly, shout out to the Victoria Tech Journal for exposing companies like Nyoka to a larger audience. I highly recommend reading the full-length feature, which includes nuggets about camping on Savory Island, an inbound inquiry from NASA, and an epiphany at Shambhala music festival.
What Happened: The most watched Major League Baseball (MLB) regular season game of the year has a Vancouver tech connection.
Why We Should Care: Mantis XR -- the Vancouver-based startup that creates photorealistic, 3D e-commerce experiences for brands -- has burst onto the scene since launching in 2020. Earlier this year, they partnered with the St. Louis Blues to deliver the first metaverse shopping experience in North American sports. Earlier this month, Mantis created an immersive 3D shopping experience for the Chicago Cubs to coincide with their participation in MLB’s Field of Dreams game.
Per sports-business newsletter Huddle Up, the Field of Dreams annual game has become a cash cow for the MLB:
[Last year’s] game averaged 5.87 million viewers on Fox, making it the most-watched MLB regular season game in more than 15+ years. And even crazier, Fox made $5.24 million in ad revenue during the game — that’s 3x more than what the network typically makes for its Saturday night MLB games.
For me, the Mantis XR/MLB partnership is notable for two key reasons.
One, it reveals a shift in the way consumers -- notably Gen Z -- consume content. By creating immersive and memorable experiences, brands can connect and monetize the next generation of consumers in ways that were never possible before.
Two, this collaboration with the biggest baseball league in the world is further proof that Vancouver is emerging as a global leader of frontier technologies. As more brands adopt metaverse experiences, B.C. has the talent, companies, and track record to lead industry’s transition into web 4.0.
Have a great September.
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