British Columbia is experiencing a boom in its tech industry. California’s Silicon Valley typically comes to mind when thinking high tech, but a growing digital media industry in BC, a budding talent pool, and the vibrant cities of Vancouver and Victoria are attracting big companies, new startups, and joint ventures.
Vancouver alone has more than 800 companies in digital film, animation and visual effects, video games, mobile content and applications, and e-learning. These companies are generating $3 billion in revenue annually.
There are a number of reasons why Vancouver and Victoria are attractive places for tech companies to grow. Vancouver was rated the most livable city in North America in 2013 and Victoria is also noted as an appealing place to live and work. Tech companies know they can draw the best and brightest minds in the industry to these active communities.
British Columbia also has outstanding research and educational programs in science, technology and design, making the province a great place to grow a North American presence in the digital media industry. And it is in close proximity to Washington State and California, where many tech head offices are located, and British Columbia has close relationships with entertainment and software centres based in Seattle and Redmond.
Among the many companies expanding or starting up in the area are Vancouver’s Black Tusk Studios, part of Microsoft’s entertainment and gaming business, and East Side Games. Zynga, GameHouse and Kixeye, the San Francisco-based company known for Backyard Monsters, Battle Pirates and War Commander games, have all opened offices in Victoria.
Digital and tech leaders are impressed with the talent available in British Columbia. Local Victoria tech leader, Clayton Stark of Zynga and Flock, says, “The talent is available here more than it is in Silicon Valley, and it’s been slow for people to recognize this. That’s part of the reason we have come back.” It’s also a reason why companies like Amazon and Facebook estbalish outposts in Vancouver.