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Fueling BC’s tech engine: what industry leaders are saying

Technology in BC is more than an industry – it’s become a vital engine for growth, fuelling other industries and providing a key source of innovation, GDP, job growth and economic diversity. However, this strong performance may have created a false sense that improvements aren’t necessary for the industry’s continued growth.

The BC Tech Association just released its latest policy recommendations for addressing the industry’s top challenges and realizing its potential.

“BC has an estimated $25 billion opportunity, if we can address the struggles companies are having when it comes to recruiting talent and bringing their businesses to scale,” said Jill Tipping, President and CEO of BC Tech Association. “In other words, the future of technology in BC is limitless, but only if we stop limiting it.”

Join us at the BC Middle Market Growth Conference on Tuesday, April 9 as we talk about the future of tech in BC and how to fuel the growth engine. Hear from our panel of industry leaders on how we can shape BC’s tech future with new tools, tactics and ideas, in a discussion moderated by BC Tech Association President & CEO, Jill Tipping. Register now by visiting our website.

Our BC tech panel:

Moderator: Jill Tipping, BC Tech President & CEO
Jill is President and CEO of BC Tech, a non-profit dedicated to making BC the best place to grow and scale a tech company. Previously, Jill was VP Operations and CFO with Schneider Electric Solar and started her career as a director in Deloitte’s telecoms, technology and media group in the UK. Jill holds an MA in Economic History from St. Andrews University and an MSc in Management from Stanford. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Vancouver Economic Commission, the Digital Technology Supercluster, the Emerging Economy Task Force and the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.

Matt Switzer, Partner, Northwest Capital Partners
Matt has 16 years’ experience buying and building companies. He helped grow software company, Hootsuite, from 30 people to more than 1,000 and was an early employee at Workbrain, which grew to 700 people and IPO’d in 2003. During his career, Matt has led successful acquisitions of 10 companies and participated in over $5Bn worth of M&A as an investment banker at Merrill Lynch. He holds a BSc. from Western University and an MBA from University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management and was named one of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40 in 2017. He currently runs Northwest Capital Partners, which he’s focused on acquiring and growing BC-based businesses.

Francis Steiner, Director, Hatch, UBC
Francis manages HATCH, UBC’s Accelerator program, which provides early-stage companies with business advice to accelerate their growth. Francis has worked for Deloitte’s Strategy arm in London and PWC, where he led various due diligence projects. Since 2002, Francis has been Principal at Godfrey, Graseby and Reeves, launching four different start-ups. In 2007, he arrived in Vancouver, where he took on a consulting role at KPMG and became Director of Strategy, Analytics and Implementation at 1-800-GOT-JUNK?

Kristine Steuart, Co-Founder, Allocadia
Kristine and her twin sister Katherine Berry co-founded Allocadia in 2010, after experiencing first-hand the difficulty in gaining insight into marketing investments and measuring performance. Kristine has led Allocadia from a bootstrapped start-up with a handful of customers, to a global organization with hundreds of enterprise customers worldwide and partnerships with marketing cloud leaders like Oracle, IBM and Marketo. Kristine was named among the Top Forty Under 40 in Business in Vancouver, The Top 10 Women in Tech to Watch in 2015 by inc. magazine, and one of BC’s top 35 Most influential Women in Business.

Tech by the numbers:
BC has more than 10,600 tech companies employing more than 106,000 peopleThe province also employs another 50,000 tech workers in non-tech companiesAn estimated 40 percent of downtown Vancouver’s commercial real estate is occupied by high-tech business and workersData provided by BC Tech Association

What does BC’s future look like?

What does BC’s future look like?

Find out at the 2019 BC Middle Market Growth Conference!

Save the date for the 2019 BC Middle Market Growth Conference

Monday, April 8: President’s Reception (Sponsored by Blakes) – 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. (location to be announced)

Tuesday, April 9: BC Middle Market Growth Conference  – 7 a.m. to 5 p.m at the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel.

Tickets on sale now! Click here to register – Earlybird rates apply until March 15

Get the scoop on what’s happening at this year’s event from BC Middle Market Growth Conference Co-Chairs Aleem Jinnah and Arik Broadbent.

What’s new at the 2019 BC Middle Market Growth Conference?

Arik: This year we’re focusing on the future of BC’s economy. Our province’s economic drivers are shifting, with traditional resource-based industries making way for increasingly diverse segments like technology, cannabis, cleantech and new models of real estate. Understanding the future drivers of growth in an increasingly diverse marketplace is essential for middle market entrepreneurs and professionals.

Aleem: Agreed. A lot of people think we’re at the top of a cycle. So, we thought it was important to centre our discussions around what’s on the horizon, in terms of both risks and opportunities. That’s how we chose our themeThe Future of Business in BC.

What’s on this year’s agenda?

Arik: We’re finalizing our full lineup of expert speakers and panels moderated by some well-known industry leaders. We’ll be announcing those details soon, so stay tuned – and make sure to register before March 15 to secure the earlybird rate.

Aleem: Our survey from last year’s event told us that diverse speakers, panel variety and networking are the most valuable aspects of this event. So, this year, attendees will be getting more of what they want, with a focus on helping them stay a step ahead. 

What makes this event stand out?

Arik: The fact that our participants return every year and tell us its the best event for making valuable connections with the broader deal-making community.

Aleem: And we’ve got a really unique format, where attendees aren’t just sitting through sessions. The day is broken up with networking and our trade show that’s become very popular over the years.

Aleem Jinnah, Co-Chair – BCMMGC2019

Aleem Jinnah is an Investment Banker with Fort Capital Partners focusing on mergers & acquisitions, divestitures and capital raising for both public and private companies in Canada. Aleem is also a Director of the Association for Corporate Growth BC.

Arik Broadbent, Co-Chair – BCMMGC2019

Arik Broadbent is a corporate lawyer at Farris Vaughan & Murphy LLP, who advises business owners and executives of companies of all sizes and stages (private and public). His primary areas of practice are: corporate finance (debt and equity), securities compliance, corporate governance and mergers and acquisitions (domestic and cross border).

Showcase your brand at our biggest event of the year

ACG BC is excited to welcome back Nicola Wealth Management as our Official Event Sponsor. For details on sponsorship levels and opportunities, contact Sherryl Parsons.

About BC Middle Market Growth Conference

Now in its 18th year, the BC Middle Market Growth Conference has become the leading M&A Conference in Western Canada, with close to 350 attendees, a popular exhibitor trade show and valuable networking opportunities.

What’s the key to investing in an age of disruption?

Investing in an age of disruption

Client demands are changing fast. In the quest for better returns, today’s mainstream institutional and high-net-worth clients are interested in exploring the alternative marketplace through hedge funds and private equity. On the other side of the business, asset managers are being forced to reassess virtually every aspect of their business, from fees and operating models to diversifying the products in their portfolios. Expanded offerings include a wider asset class – ETFs, long/short strategies and private equity.

Investing in an age of disruption requires unprecedented flexibility; being nimble enough to capitalize on opportunity as the landscape shifts. To achieve this, firms are relying on emerging technology to allow them to pivot and adapt quickly. They’re finding effective ways to apply big data analytics and artificial intelligence to stay ahead of the curve and generate returns.

On April 10 at the BC Middle Market Growth Conference, we’ll be talking strategies for investing in the age of disruption during our highly-anticipated panel moderated by David Sung, President of Nicola Wealth Management.  Meet our esteemed panelists below:



Dave Barr, President, CEO and Portfolio Manager, PenderFund Capital Management

Dave began his investing career in 2000. He initially worked in private equity, which gave him a unique background for investing capital. At the end of 2007, he became a partner at PenderFund Capital Management Ltd., and was appointed Chief Investment Officer with the objective of launching Pender’s mutual fund business. In April 2016, Dave was appointed President and CEO of Pender. The Pender Small Cap Opportunities Fund, managed by Dave, has won a Lipper Fund Award for Best Canadian Small/Mid Cap Fund over both three and five year performance periods for the last three consecutive years. The Pender Small Cap Opportunities Fund has also received Fundata’s FundGrade® A+ Award for the last six consecutive years. Dave holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of British Columbia and an MBA from the Schulich School of Business. He earned his Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation in 2003 and is an active member of the Vancouver chapter. He is a past President of CFA Vancouver, having also served on its Board of Directors for four years.

Chad Danard, Managing Director, TriWest Capital Partners

Prior to joining TriWest in 2005, Chad worked at Morgan Stanley in the Global Energy and Utility Group in New York and in the Canada Group in Toronto. While at Morgan Stanley, he was involved in a variety of M&A-related strategic advisory assignments, equity offerings and both private and public debt financings. Chad also spent time in India, where he co-managed the day-to-day operations for the investment banking division of Morgan Stanley Advantage Services. Chad currently serves as a board member for the Calgary Chapter of the Association for Corporate Growth. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree (finance concentration) from the Queen’s School of Business, where he graduated at the top of his class.

Francis D’Andrade, Vice President, Private Client Services & Associate Portfolio Manager, Forstrong

Francis D’Andrade joined Forstrong Global in 2013 as Vice President, Private Client Services and brings almost 30 years financial services experience to his role. Prior to joining Forstrong Francis owned Financial Outcomes, an investment services consultancy that specialized in the delivery and distribution of financial products and services. Previously, he owned and operated a financial planning boutique in Markham Ontario that integrated investment and insurance solutions for business owners, executives and professionals. Francis was responsible for many industry innovations during his 15 years at Altamira Investment Services, where he was a Vice President and Managing Director, Sales, Marketing and Distribution.

Only a few days left until BC Middle Market Growth Conference!

This event will be sold out. Some tickets are still available by clicking here.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Disruptive trends are sweeping B.C.’s advisory space

Disruption hasn’t spared the advisory space. In fact, today’s advisors are tasked with guiding a new type of client armed with tools and technology that are putting them much more in tune with the business. On April 10, at our BC Middle Market Growth Conference, we’re re-examining the rapidly-changing advisory landscape and the major trends we see unfolding:

  • Georgraphy no longer matters. Buyers and sellers are finding one another in new ways – including online data rooms – to share valuable trade information, making them a much savvier and more connected group.
  • A boom for boutiques. B.C. is seeing a growth of specialized firms focusing on niche industry sectors, giving larger, full-service firms a run for their money.
  • The business lifecycle, disrupted. New products are changing the way deals get done. Representation and Warranty insurance is one example of a game-changing tool that advisors are focusing on to stay competitive.
  • Disruptive technology is changing the way advisors approach solutions for clients. Artificial intelligence is going as far as replacing some advisory functions.
  • A personalized approach wins. Despite technology advancements, when the stakes are high and a transaction is completed, clients still feel more at ease dealing with a human face. This means a personalized approach and high level of customer service are still required to win opportunities.
    Meet our esteemed panel of advisors that will be talking about what’s changing for good, and what values remain the same.


Angus Reid, Commercial Risk Advisor with Reliance Insurance

Angus and his team help companies take control and manage their overall cost of risk. Protecting long-term value of a company’s brand, assets, profits and people is Reliance’s primary objective. They accomplish this by delivering custom insurance solution, results-based risk management planning, claims advocacy and M&A due diligence services.

David Merner, Executive Director, Innovation at The Ministry of Attorney General

David has led disruptive changes to BC’s justice system over the past decade, including BC’s Civil Resolution Tribunal, Family Justice Solution Explorer, and Tribunal Transformation Initiative. Prior to his call to the British Columbia bar in 1990 and the Ontario Bar in 1991, David completed degrees at Harvard, the University of Alberta, Oxford, and the University of Toronto.


Brian Gilbreath, Vice President of Sales, Merrill Corporation
Brian is a Vice President of Sales for DataSite’s Western region and has held a number of senior roles at Merrill Corporation since 2012. His previous experience includes positions with PostX, Intel and the National Security Agency. He holds a Masters of Science in Business from Johns Hopkins University.



The discussion will be moderated by Leo Wilson, Senior Vice President, KPMG Corporate Finance Inc. Leo provides acquisition, divestiture, capital raising and strategic advisory services to mid-market private companies.




Less than two weeks remain until BC Middle Market Growth Conference, ACG’s biggest event of the year. Get your tickets this week while they’re still available by clicking here.

What’s the difference between innovation and disruption?

This week’s Business in Vancouver features the Association for Corporate Growth and our upcoming BC Middle Market Growth Conference.

Conference Chair Aleem Jinnah tells BIV, “We wanted to tackle the theme of disruption at this year’s event because there is so much happening here in B.C. – technologies and ideas being developed locally that are affecting change globally.”

The article also features Matt Switzer of Hootsuite and Northwest Capital Partners, and Penny Green of Glance Technologies – both of whom will be panelists in our afternoon plenary discussion on disruptive B.C. businesses and their global impact.

Read Business in Vancouver article here.

See below for more information on the BC Middle Market Growth Conference on April 10 and our local disruptors panel.

Matt Switzer, Chief Operating Officer, Hootsuite

Matt has spent his career starting and growing companies as an investor, advisor and executive. Matt is currently Interim COO at Hootsuite, where he leads strategy, partnerships, financings, M&A and innovation. Matt has helped build Hootsuite from 30 to more than 1,000 employees, raised more than $200M, acquired 10 companies and built the market-leading social relationship platform.

Matt formerly worked in Venture Capital, advising & investing in early-stage starups with a focus on technology and telecommunications. Recently, he co-founded Northwest Capital Partners – a fund looking to acquire operating businesses in B.C. – and was named one of Canada’s Top 40 under 40.

Penny Green, Co-Founder and Director, Glance Technologies

Penny Green is a serial entrepreneur with more than two decades of experience building successful companies. Penny has been instrumental in building Glance to a valuation in excess of $240 million and Glance is recognized as the #5 top valued company on the CSE25Index.
Penny has been named on PROFIT Magazine’s W100 list of top Canadian female entrepreneurs and was one of five national finalists for the 2012 Royal Bank of Canada Award for Excellence in Entrepreneurship. Under her leadership as CEO, her firm Bacchus Law Corporation was included in the PROFIT 500 Fastest Growing companies two years in a row.

Tony Guglielmin, Chief Financial Officer, Ballard Power Systems

Tony Guglielmin joined Ballard as Vice President and Chief Operating Officer in June 2010. He previously served as SVP Finance and Chief Operating Officer of Canada Line Rapid Transit Inc. (CLCO), a $2 billion rapid transit project connecting the Vancouver International Airport, City of Richmond and downtown Vancouver. Tony has also held senior management roles at Finning International Inc., British Columbia Hydro, and The Bank of Nova Scotia in Toronto.

Tony holds a BA in Economics in Political Science and an MBA from McGill University, as well as a Chartered Financial Analyst designation. He serves on the Board of Information Services Corporation (where he also serves as Chair of the Audit Committee), as well as a number of private companies.



The panel will be moderated by Kristi Miller, Co-founder and National Managing Director at First West Capital.




About BC Middle Market Growth Conference

Now in its 17th year, BC Middle Market Growth Conference is the leading M&A Conference in Western Canada, with close to 350 attendees, a popular exhibitor trade show and valuable networking opportunities. For more information on this year’s event, visit www.acgbcevents.com

Limited sponsorship opportunities remain. Contact Sherryl Parsons sparsons@rareaffairs.com for more information on partnering with ACG British Columbia to showcase and build your brand at ACG’s biggest event of the year.

@ACG_BC Twitter

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