From progressive immigration policies to relatively low wages compared with Silicon Valley, Vancouver has become a serious draw for international firms looking to capitalize on the technology boom. But as tech companies pour into the city to set up offices and scoop up talent, will Vancouver find itself under additional strain to manage vacancy rates and churn out students into the tech sector? Join our panel of experts to discuss these challenges and opportunities ahead as the ongoing tech migration morphs our economy.
Co-Founder & CEO, Launch Academy
Ray Walia is a serial entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience in both the entertainment and technology sectors. Ray founded Launch Ventures which owns and operates a network of private incubators, innovation labs, and investment funds. The most prominent incubator is Launch Academy, Vancouver’s leading entrepreneurship facility, which has incubated more than 700 startups that have raised over $250 Million in funding. Launch Academy is a designated provider for the Canadian Startup Visa Program. Ray was named Entrepreneur Mentor of the Year for 2014 and 2015, BIV Top Forty Under 40, G20 Young Entrepreneur, and BC Tech Person of The Year Finalist 2018.
President + CEO, Innovate BC
A serial entrepreneur who has extensive experience starting, growing and selling numerous businesses, Gopal joined Innovate BC from Accelerate Okanagan, where he was Chief Executive Officer. At AO, Gopal was instrumental in the creation and management of successful programs for technology companies at all stages of growth, and he has been a driving force in the development of the Okanagan’s tech sector into a $1.6 billion economic contributor. A graduate of New Zealand’s Central Institute of Technology in information technology, Raghwa has also received degrees in computer science from Australia’s Collier MacMillan School and the University of the South Pacific. In addition to his corporate experience, Gopal has lectured in the Faculty of Management (Business) at UBC Okanagan and the School of Arts and Sciences (Computer Science); has been an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Okanagan College School of Business; and serves on the boards of multiple organizations including the University of British Columbia, India Canada Innovation Council, Women’s Enterprise Centre, Central Okanagan Economic Development, and the Province of B.C.’s Emerging Economy Task Force.
CEO and Co-Founder, VanHack
Featured in Forbes, Fast Company and Business in Vancouver, Ilya Brotzky is the CEO and Co-Founder of VanHack, one of Canada’s leading HR Tech startups. Ilya leads a team of over 45 employees from 12 countries with the mission of creating a borderless world for tech talent through jobs. He holds a Bachelors of Applied Economics from Cornell University and has helped raise over $100,000 for a variety of charities in Africa and South America.
Reporter, Business in Vancouver
Hayley Woodin is a multimedia reporter with Business in Vancouver and editor of BIV Magazine. She co-hosts and co-produces the podcast BIV Today, appears weekly on Global News Morning, contributes regularly to BIV’s print and digital publications and covers a wide range of industries, from real estate to resources, technology to trade. Hayley is a regular emcee and moderator at industry, community and charitable functions.