2-2

June 2022: Local Tech Stories That Caught My Eye

June 30, 2022

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 June that caught my eye. 

A noteworthy month for Squamish Tech

What Happened: Squamish-born startup Penny AI locked down a Series B round while cleantech scaleup Carbon Engineering announced its largest partnership to date

Why We Should Care: Most readers of this space know all about Carbon Engineering. The Bill Gates backed venture has been capturing carbon for more than a decade and this month’s news of a major partnership with U.S. petroleum company 1PointFive is a clear sign that the company is accelerating through its scaleup journey. 

The partnership -- which will allow Carbon Engineering to build between 70-135 direct air carbon capture plants by 2035 -- comes at a time when companies across all sectors look for effective and scalable solutions to reduce their GHG emissions. 

Penny AI, a virtual assistant platform for direct sales professionals, secured $27M from its Series B raise earlier this month. As sales experiences evolve and become more customer-centric, Penny’s virtual assistant helps direct sellers manage the growth of their business while still offering a seamless and enjoyable purchasing experience for their customers. As noted in the VTJ piece on the raise, the company was born out of the idea that ‘there had to be a better way’ for direct sellers to scale their business and increase productivity. 

That better way has now led the company to more than $31M in total funding since inception. And don’t expect this momentum to slow down any time soon as Penny looks to expand its services through a new learning platform and enhanced data and monitoring tools. 

More on this

  • From 2013: Squamish - A tech scene on the rise
  • From 2018: Carbon Engineering featured in National Geographic

 

Ready for their Moment

What Happened: Moment Energy will take part in the Plug and Play Japan Mobility Program as it aims to redefine the future of the automotive industry.

Why We Should Care: Plug and Play is a global innovation platform that helps innovative startups access new capital, partnerships, and support services to rapidly advance technological advancements across key sectors. 

Moment Energy repurposes EV batteries into safe and efficient energy storage systems, creating a circular economy for retired EV batteries. The company’s proven zero-emission solution and rapid growth over the past year made them a natural fit for Plug and Play Japan’s Mobility Program. Over the next few months, the BC-based cleantech company will gain full access to business-matching meetings, networking events, mentoring sessions, workshops, and more as it looks to scale its operations and expand into new markets. 

This announcement extends what’s been a busy news period for Moment Energy. Just last year, they closed a $3.5M Seed Round and placed third in the 2021 New Ventures BC Competition, presented by Innovate BC.  

More on this:

  • From 2021: Moment wins Spring Activator’s Impact Investor Challenge
  • From 2022: Vancouver aims to tackle its aggressive climate goals

 

Kamloops tech company lands federal funding for cybersecurity R&D

What Happened: Vivacity secured $100K from NRC-IRAP as global organizations grapple with rampant cybersecurity threats. 

Why We Should Care: Cybersecurity threats are keeping organizations up at night as quantum computers rapidly gain ground on today’s encryption and bad actors target vulnerable organizations. Proprietary data and information are already under attack as cybersecurity attacks surged significantly in 2021. 

From Fortune.com:

Governments worldwide saw a 1,885% increase in ransomware attacks, and the health care industry faced a 755% increase in those attacks in 2021, according to the 2022 Cyber Threat Report released Thursday by SonicWall, an internet cybersecurity company. Ransomware also rose 104% in North America, just under the 105% average increase worldwide, according to the report. 

IRAP’s investment into Vivacity will support R&D efforts in the public key infrastructure space to develop authentication solutions for securing end devices against cybersecurity threats. The funding will also allow the Kamloops-headquartered company to expand its team and establish itself as leading innovators in this growing space. 

Congratulations to George Emery and the entire Vivacity team on this significant accomplishment!

More on this:

  • From 2017: Kamloops named Startup Canada’s community of the year
  • From 2021 Roadmapping BC’s quantum computing ecosystem

 

Have a great July. 


Want to subscribe to this column? Sign up here.

Stay in the know