2021 Year in Review: A note from our Managing Director
A note from entrepreneurship@UBC's Managing Director, Kari LaMotte.
These past 12 months have been a record year for our community.
Despite overwhelming challenges across the globe from the pandemic to unprecedented natural disasters, UBC entrepreneurs have demonstrated tenacity, grit and resilience, shining as a beacon of light for what the future holds. In the news, online and in conversations, we’ve seen entrepreneurs and innovators heed the call to provide immediate, novel solutions to the many crises we are facing, bringing entrepreneurial discoveries to market to create positive change.
Ventures with transformative solutions rooted in research and innovation are our future. We are constantly inspired and full of optimism, as we continue to meet and support early-stage founders who are on the precipice of solving some of the world's most critical issues.
To date, entrepreneurship@UBC has worked with over 584 ventures who have raised more than $1.42 billion in funding, generated more than $119+ million in revenue and hired more than 1000 employees. These metrics demonstrate one of the many ways that transformative innovations coming out of the University of British Columbia, stimulate the economic and social landscape of B.C. while building anchor companies with global impact.
To our Mentors
This year we were grateful to work with dozens of mentors who generously offered their time, expertise and insights to our community, showing up every week to support and further the journey of UBC entrepreneurs. Their impact can not be understated: the ventures who are now at the stage of commercializing their solutions are by and large a product of our ecosystem's support. Our mentors will have lasting impacts through this new generation of company leaders.
The mentorship we see goes beyond giving ad hoc or generalized advice: our mentors and ventures form meaningful relationships, with many mentors jumping into the ventures as advisors, investors and in some cases, team members. For example, ABOzymes saw the appointment of Dr. Geoffrey Houlton, a former mentor joining the team as President & CEO and John Barclay as their VP of Business Development. Long time mentor, Kyle Cheriton, is another excellent example having become an advisor for multiple entrepreneurship@UBC ventures including GUD, Hubly and Susgrainable, lending his extensive executive expertise to their teams. Our network of mentors contribute to the expertise required to build the company leaders of the future.
Thank you for your continued commitment and all that you do.
To our Partners and Collaborators
entrepreneurship@UBC is truly an example of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts, and we wouldn’t be here without our many partners across the university including: the Institute of Computing, Information and Cognitive Systems (our partners in HATCH), the Faculty of Applied Science, the Sauder School of Business, the Faculty of Arts, the School of Biomedical Engineering (SBME) our portfolio partners within Innovation UBC, our funding partners Innovate BC, Genome BC and of course, many more who share in our mission to inspire and build UBC entrepreneurs.
We’ve been able to expand the work we are doing and activate entrepreneurial thinking across the university through student internships driven in partnership with UBC Sauder and initiatives like ‘Propels’ with the School of Biomedical Engineering, ‘Arts Amplifier’ and ‘Imagine Journalism’ with the faculty of Arts and Arts Coop, as well as the ‘Innovation UBC Startup Competition’ held in tandem with our portfolio partners.
The work undertaken at UBC is world class and game-changing, and it is an honour to work with our partners and the entrepreneurs who are leading this charge.
Our Highlights this Year
This year marked the launch of our Venture Studios, supporting ventures building transformative solutions in climate, human health and social impact. The Studios leverage the talent and expertise that exists across our ecosystem, building anchor communities within these industry verticals and helping high-impact ventures build traction, navigate complex landscapes/paths to market, access capital and expand their networks.
We welcomed our two new Entrepreneurs in Residence (EiR) and Studio Leads, Angela Hamilton (Social Impact) and Jonathan Jafari (Human Health), who along with our EiR and Climate Venture Studio Lead Dr. Shannon Bard, have hit the ground running growing our Studio communities.
Our three marquee events this year included our Spring Investor Showcase, helping ventures access investor networks; entrepreneurship@UBC Immersion Week (EIW) inspiring entrepreneurial thinking with diverse Keynote speakers and UBC faculty spotlights; and the Fall Venture Showcase profiling the depth and breadth of innovation within our program. These events allowed us to engage with our greater ecosystem, who came out in full force to support and further the work we are doing across the university landscape.
Our Community Town Hall series, which started in the midst of the pandemic, continued in 2021, bringing together ventures, our UBC community and wider ecosystem featuring founders - both current and alumni such as Mehrsa Raeiszadeh of TrafficDriven, Brianna Blaney of Pocketed, Kevin Kung of Safi Enterprises (Takachar) and Tamer Mohamed of Aspect Biosystems, mentors including Nana Collett and Barry Inouye, and EiRs such as Tiffany Hamilton and Michele Wallcraft. All or whom generously spent their time sharing their experiences and learnings as entrepreneurs.
Throughout 2021, in the many ways our community participated with us, we have been inspired, reminded of our greater purpose: that of supporting entrepreneurship in its many forms and various pathways. This year has been about celebrating the entrepreneurial journey, and we can't wait to see what’s in store for 2022.
Happy Holidays, and we will see you in the New Year!