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

B.C. freestyle skier wins gold

Cassie Sharpe of Comox shines in the halfpipe

Thrilling finish to 59th All Native Tournament

Kitamaat, Hydaburg, Port Simpson and Kitkatla win championships in 2018 All Native Tournament

Day 6 from the All Native Basketball Tournament

Scores from Feb. 16 and finals matchups at the All Native Tournament in Prince Rupert, B.C.

Day 5 of the All Native Basketball Tournament

Scores from Feb. 15 at the All Native Tournament in Prince Rupert

Queen Charlotte voters test sewage plan ahead of Feb. 24 referendum

Comparing Martynuik Road site and Skidegate tie-in a key issue at council Q & A

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

B.C. cold snap prompts energy use spike

BC Hydro is reporting a 10 per cent increase in the energy demand in the last two days

COLUMN: Benning stands firm on Gudbranson, will keep him with Canucks until 2021

Canucks opt to not trade the 26-year-old defenseman, but sign him to multi-year deal

Students head to Florida capital to press for gun law change

Young protestors are joining a grassroots movement against gun violence in the wake of last week’s school shooting in Parkland, Florida

Liberals look at use-it-or-lose-it parental leave for dads

Liberals looking at creating a use-it-or-lose-it leave for fathers, Trudeau says

Fred Rogers, America’s favourite neighbour, celebrated in 2018

The golden anniversary of America’s favorite neighbor is being celebrated with a PBS special next month

Toddler breaks leg after boot sucked into escalator at Vancouver airport

A Calgary woman is reminding parents of the dangers of escalators after her toddler’s foot was stuck in one and he broke his leg

Moose creates uber Canadian Olympic moment

A Calgary man shares a truly Canadian moment on Twitter of a Moose enjoying the Olympics

Most Read