Digital Media People to Watch in BC in 2011

One of the benefits of covering technology in BC is the opportunity to meet and interact with innovative technology leaders and evangelists every day. Over the past year, we had the pleasure of covering some great people, startups, and events and are excited about what 2011 promises.

For the fourth year in a row (2008 list, 2009 list, and 2010 list), we’ve shortlisted a selection of British Columbians in the Digital Media space that we think are worth watching in the upcoming year.

Daryl Hatton – FundRazr – FundRazr is a Facebook application that makes it easy to collect donations for all sorts of causes: personal, club, team, school, church, non-profit, political and just about anything else. So what sets FundRazr apart from other social media fundraising tools?

Vancouver’s ConnectionPoint created FundRazr in conjunction with PayPal and is part of their PayPal X Developer Network which gives them that extra dose of credibility that people need when pulling out their wallets online.

Ryan Holmes – HootSuite – Holmes made us look good in 2010. We put him on our People to Watch list and suggested that HootSuite would be raising money. They did that in January and spent the rest of the year building a wicked product and collecting accolades. HootSuite won the Digital Media Technology of the Year Award at the 2010 CNMAs and last week picked up the Best Social Media Management Tool award in the 2010 Mashable Awards.

In September HootSuite added a paid-model to the mix with freemium, premium, and entreprise HootSuite accounts just in time to welcome their one millionth user. Looking ahead to 2011, users can expect to see new integrations in HootSuite’s new App Directory.

J. Joly – OverInteractive Media OverInteractive Media are the creators of – a branded social game platform built specifically to support the Unity game engine and serve as a single centralized platform designed to simplify the deployment to social networks and manage monetization.

Founder and CEO Joly added Disney Interactive’s Howard Donaldson to their board in July and OverInteractive was a finalist in the Digital Media Technology of the Year category at the 2010 Canadian New Media Awards. Look for dimeRocker to add a mobile compenent to the mix in 2011 and continue accelerating development for big brands and independent game developers.

Darrell Kopke & Ray Torresan – institute B – institute B is Vancouver’s newest entrant in the incubator/accelerator space. While not focused only on digital media startups, Kopke and Torresan are bound to stumble upon some Web business plans that rock their socks off.

As a member of the group of founders of Lululemon, Kopke knows a thing or two about operations and expansion and Torresan rose through the ranks of advertising and public relations and is now following his passion: connecting people, technology and money. Look for institute B to fill the void left by Bootup Labs closure.

Amielle Lake – Tagga Media Tagga’s Agency Platform allows digital strategists, creatives and media planners to create, deploy, manage, and analyze mobile marketing campaigns for their clients.

CEO and Founder Lake was called on as a mobile marketing thought-leader to speak at every major digital conference in North Media in 2010.  The entrepreneurial Lake has taken a company with little financing into revenue, growing the business to service 40 agencies and 60 brands in mobile in the past year. And I hear mobile is going to be big in 2011.

Adarsh Pallian – GeotokoIn May 2010, Pallian launched Geotoko at TechCrunch Disrupt’s Startup Battlefield – an honor as only 20 of the 500 startups that applied were chosen to participate. Geotoko allows brands, businesses and agencies to create their own branded location-based promotions (e.g. sweepstakes, contests, give-aways) and to simultaneously publish them on location-based services like Foursquare, Gowalla, Facebook, and Twitter.

Pallian has had some success building on Twitter in the past – in 2009 Howard Lindzon’s StockTwits purchased Pallian’s for an undisclosed amount. We’ll be checking in with Pallian in 2011.

Ben Pickering – Strutta – Pickering, a former Yahoo! Ad guy from Silicon Valley, joined Vancouver-based Strutta in September 2009 and spearheaded a 180 degree pivot to relaunch as a Contest Platform that enables anyone to create contests around user generated content and social media.

Pickering took Strutta from zero revenue to break-even in one year and has break-out plans for the contest platform in 2011.

Danny Robinson – BCIC (BC Innovation Council) – Robinson is on our radar for the third time in four years thanks to his recent appointment as the CEO of the British Columbia Innovation Council. Robinson was singled out in 2008 as a founder of Strutta and again in 2009 as the Managing Director of Vancouver’s first seed accelerator – Bootup Labs.

Everyone in Vancouver knows Robinson is dedicated to making BC the best place to start and grow a technology company in the world. Now it’s BCIC’s mission as well.

Christian Strat & Mircea Pasoi – Summify – This Bootup Labs’ incubated company pivoted big time in August and emerged as a Social News Reader and with a round of angel financing from W Media Ventures.

Summify lets you consume a flood of real-time news in minutes rather than the hours many are used to using tools like Google Reader. Summify aggregates and de-duplicates all the links from your social feeds and curates them into your top news stories using an algorithm that takes into account your social (and interest) graph. Essentially letting the most interesting and relevant news bubble to the top. Look for Summify to make some of their own news in 2011.

Stephen Ufford – Trulioo – Trulioo is a verification system that allows websites to verify the identity of their users over the web.  Identity information that can be verified includes the name, gender, marital status, age and location of anyone anywhere in the world that belongs to one of the major social networks like Facebook.

Vancouver’s Trulioo started in as a side project for the design of a tool for the online dating world and may evolve into the Internet’s first global identity verification service. Look out for Trulioo in 2011.