Emerging B.C. Startups Win $300,000 in Venture Competition

Nine British Columbia-based startups were awarded $300,000 total yesterday as New Ventures BC (NVBC) announced the early-stage company winners of its annual joint-competition with the BC Innovation Council.

To compete, technology startups must be less than five years old and reside in B.C. with less than $1 million in capital. To advance to the final pitch round, startups must make it through three elimination rounds that assess their business idea and venture plan.

This year’s winning technology startups were picked for their work that’s geared towards solving problems in the province, from harnessing artificial intelligence to improving city planning, and come from a wide-range of industries spanning agritech to cloud software.

The biggest cash prize of $110,000 went to North Vancouver’s Ecoation. Using plant signals, their AI-powered platform predicts “crop stress” including the type, location and level, and communicates this information to crop growers. Their tool reduces both crop loss and the need for pesticide use—both agricultural and environmental issues for the province. Ecoation also snagged an additional $22,000 as winners of the BC Resource Industry Prize.

“The NVBC competition was a great experience for us. The mentorship and critical feedback that we received were instrumental for our success and we will take these lessons beyond the competition. We are going to change the way we produce and protect our food, and tonight is [the beginning of] something big,” said Ecoation CEO Saber Miresmailli in a release.

Vancouver’s Microbiome Insights scooped up two awards totaling $70,000, and Slickspaces–software to grant remote entry into rental spaces—who also won two prizes equal to $70,000.

“It’s incredibly exciting for us to fuel the next wave of BC innovation that will drive our local economy and change the world,” said Carl Anderson, CEO of the BC Innovation Council. “This year’s winners are a great example of the incredible talent, ingenuity, and innovation this province has to offer.”

Other winners this year include InputHealth, Victoria-based Certn, UrbanLogiq, CryoLogistics Refrigeration Technologies, Aeriosense Technologies, and AxSense Technologies.