On May 14 to 16, 2018 in Vancouver, the Province of British Columbia and the BC Innovation Council hosted the third annual #BCTECH Summit. It is the largest technology conference in Western Canada, showcasing B.C.’s vibrant tech and innovation sectors. I was there, representing Pique Ventures and the investor community and portfolio of Pique Fund.

(L to R: Bonnie Foley-Wong – Pique Ventures, Mary-Kate Mahoney – HP, Angela Robert – Conquer Experience, Martina Welkhoff – WXR Fund at the #BCTECH Summit opening party)

I had the opportunity to connect with the broader community around Pique including investors, partners, and entrepreneurs. The highlights were:

  • Day 1 plenary talk by Anthony Salcito, VP of Education, Microsoft, talking not only about the role of and advances in technology supporting education, but also a focus on purpose and impact. I agree – education is the cornerstone of innovation and is also a key essential resource for creating greater equality in our societies and economies.

  • Day 2 plenary talk by Brent Bushnell, computer engineer, professional clown, and CEO Two Bit Circus. His dynamic talk demonstrated the power of creativity and a poignant reminder of how technology can (and in my opinion, should) be people-focused.

  • Innovation isn’t just about technology, gadgets, and robots – although these might be the most visible and tangible things that people see. Innovation is about people, talent, and socio-economic factors. In conversations about growing and scaling technology-focused businesses and ecosystems, the topic of affordable housing came up several times.

(L to R: Cascadia Innovation Corridor: The Next Global Tech Cluster panel featuring Peter Payne – BC Innovation Council, Christine Gregoire – CEO and Former Governor of the State of Washington | Challenge Seattle, Alan Winter – Innovation Commissioner | Government of British Columbia)

For Pique, the #BCTECH Summit was a great place to build upon existing relationships to grow the impact and outcomes of our investing activities and make connections for other people that I bumped into. I met new people and heard some startup venture pitches – let’s see if those entrepreneurs follow-through!

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