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

Pacific Rim National Park Reserve issues cougar warning at Kennedy Lake

Cougar encounter reported between Tofino and Ucluelet.

Deadline looming for North Island College scholarship applications

Students have until April 24 to apply for a record number of… Continue reading

BC Ferries to pilot selling beer and wine on select routes

Drinks from select B.C. breweries and VQA wineries to be sold on Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen route

Hupacasath First Nation re-elects entire council for new term

Steven Tatoosh takes helm for fifth term as chief, talks economic prosperity for future

Young Professionals of the Alberni Valley seek members, new partnerships

Next Alberni Connect event is Thursday, April 18

VIDEO: Alberta man creates world’s biggest caricature

Dean Foster is trying to break the world record for a radio show contest

B.C. senior sentenced for sexually abusing special-needs granddaughter

73-year-old Cortes Island man will go to jail for three years

Howe Sound Queen sailing toward retirement

Vessel now up for auction ends regular runs between Crofton and Vesuvius at the beginning of June

Should B.C. lower speed limits on side roads to 30 km/h?

Vancouver city councillor wants to decrease speed limits along neighbourhood side roads

Lawsuit eyed over union-only raise for B.C. community care workers

‘Low-wage redress’ leaves 17,000 employees out, employers say

Landlord of alleged Okanagan shooter recounts deadly day

Tony Friesen was working in one of the units of his Penticton building when he heard shots

Foreign national arrested in connection to thefts at YVR

A woman, 60, is being held in police custody as Richmond RCMP investigate

Police pursue pesky porker on Vancouver Island

‘This was allegedly not the pig’s first escape’

Westjet tries again to dismiss proposed class-action lawsuit alleging discrimination

Former flight attendant claims airline broke contractual promise to create harassment-free workplace

Most Read