Mobify CEO Igor Faletsky gives B.C. technology minister Amrik Virk a tour of his mobile marketing company's Vancouver office.

$100 million tech fund for B.C. ‘Dragon’s Den’

Outside venture capital experts will be hired to administer seed money fund for high-tech startups establishing in B.C.

The B.C. government is putting up $100 million for a real-life version of the TV show Dragon’s Den, providing seed money to entrepreneurs who convince experts their new technology ideas will grow.

Premier Christy Clark announced the new fund Tuesday at the Vancouver offices of Mobify, a marketing company for retailers to advertise on mobile devices. The next step in a the government’s technology strategy is to invite proposals for a venture capital company to administer the fund.

“We don’t want to be influencing that, except that we want them to be in British Columbia, and we want the fund manager to have a managing partner based in B.C.,” she said.

Clark said high technology is performing better than other parts of the economy, and now directly employs 86,000 people who make higher wages than the industrial average. The taxpayer investment is to give startups the recognition they need to attract private venture capital.

Clark said banks look to invest in “guaranteed bets,” but technology companies are higher risk with higher rewards for those that succeed.

NDP technology critic George Heyman said the industry has been lobbying the province for this kind of assistance, and he supports it if the money is delivered in a transparent way and results are tracked.

A previous effort aimed at immigrant investors, the B.C. Renaissance Capital Fund, was criticized for a lack of both. In one case it provided money to a San Francisco company that opened an office in Calgary but not B.C.

“The taxpayer subsidizes all sorts of things that relate to job creation,” Heyman said. “In the case of the tech sector, these are the jobs of the 21st Century. B.C. has a sector that’s performing well but could perform a lot better, and it needs investment to do that.”

B.C. also offers $33 million in tax credits to “angel investors” who put up money to develop a business that has attracted seed money.


Just Posted

Two men charged in separate drug busts in Abbotsford

Items seized in one case include fentanyl, heroin and $6,000

Second suspect wanted in attack on autistic man was alleged target in 2015 shooting

Parmvir Chahil lived next door in Abbotsford to victim Ping Shun Ao, killed by stray bullet

Mission firefighters battle garage blaze

Building, on Rolley Lake Street, will have to be destroyed

Suspect barricades himself in Mission home

RCMP use concussion grenade, chainsaw to enter residence and make an arrest

Auditors couldn’t tell if Fraser Health executives bought booze on taxpayers’ dime

Review from 2014 says one administrator bought Bose headphones on company credit card

Ottawa proposes restricted pot labels, packages

Packaging will include red stop sign with marijuana leaf and ‘THC’

Lower Mainland rabbits confirmed killed by highly-infectious virus

Feral colony on Annacis Island in Delta died from hemorrhagic disease. Pet rabbits could be at risk

B.C. Scientists witness first-ever documented killer whale infanticide

“It’s horrifying and fascinating at the same time.”

Okanagan Falls winery showing international photo project

Liquidity Wines will be sole Canadian show of National Geographic’s Photo Ark

Lawyer for one suspect in beating of man with autism says he’s not guilty

Ronjot Singh Dhami will turn himself in, lawyer said

Liberals awarded $100,000 contract to man at centre of Facebook data controversy

Christopher Wylie says his voter-profiling company collected private information from 50 million Facebook users

Facebook’s Zuckerberg admits mistakes in privacy scandal

Zuckerberg admits to privacy scandal involving a Trump-connected data-mining firm, but no apology

Online threat to U.S. high school traced to Canadian teen

A 14-year-old girl has been charged in connection with an online threat against a high school

Vaping device overheats, burns down home on Vancouver Island

Nanaimo Fire Rescue says units could cause fires in other homes and even aircraft

Most Read