Andrew WilkinsonBC Innovation Council (BCIC) and New Ventures BC announced the 2014 winners of the biggest technology start-up competition for B.C.’s emerging innovators tonight in Vancouver.

The BCIC-New Ventures competition top prizes were awarded to an impressive array of start-up innovations such as imaging technologies for oil and gas wells, 3D bioprinting technology that prints living human tissue and an enterprise content migration software.

On hand to present the $100,000 BCIC First Prize to Vancouver’s DarkVision Technologies was Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services Andrew Wilkinson (pictured).

“The BCIC-New Ventures Competition finalists this year are an impressive group of new companies,” said Minister Wilkinson. “These B.C. companies are doing remarkable work with technology. Our government is proud to support and celebrate this event showcasing local talent and opening doors for jobs and development in our tech sector.”

BCIC-New Ventures Competition sends a strong signal to investors in B.C. and abroad that our province is the place for technology innovation to grow and thrive. To date, BCIC-New Ventures Competition alumni have generated over 3,300 jobs for British Columbians and raised over $200 million dollars in investment financing in an intensely competitive landscape for funding.

The 2014 BCIC-New Ventures Competition Winners are:

  • $100,000 BCIC First Prize and $20,000 BC Resource Industry Prize: DarkVision Technologies

DarkVision is developing downhole imaging technologies that deliver high resolution images inside oil and gas wells. They arm oil and gas operators with the information to make quick decisions that increase production, reduce cost and minimize the environmental impact in Alberta’s oil sands and hydraulically fracked oil and gas plays.

  • $55,000 BCIC Second Prize: Aspect Biosystems

Aspect Biosystems is developing a proprietary 3D bioprinting and human cell culture technology platform capable of creating living human tissue models. After seeing about 90 percent of investigational drugs fail in clinical trials, the company’s initial products and services aim to improve the predictive accuracy of the pre-clinical drug discovery process by providing pharmaceutical companies and researchers with physiologically-relevant 3D human tissue models that they can employ in the development of novel therapeutics.

  • $37,000 BCIC Third Prize and Plug and Play Prize Package: AppBridge Software

AppBridge provides fast and flexible enterprise content migration software. Business organizations quickly realize the complexity and high costs of transferring important content onto new platforms with current cloud-based collaboration systems. AppBridge has created a software platform that consolidates and migrates business-critical data into these systems at the maximum possible speed, all without downtime.

  • $20,000 BC Bioenergy Network Prize: MetaMixis

MetaMixis combines the powers of two scientific fields, environmental genomics and synthetic biology, to act as a search tool in an environmental DNA database. They identify useful DNA components by scanning the environment and harnessing the ability of microbes. For example, MetaMixis is helping to tackle our reliance on petroleum. Here, they sift through the DNA of naturally occurring microbes and look for components that can turn biomass into valuable chemicals and fuels.

  • $15,000 Vancity Social Venture Prize and $10,000 City Innovation Prize: Nanozen Environmental

Nanozen Environmental is dedicated to ensuring safe air quality for British Columbia workers by developing a wearable sensor that relays real-time and accurate readings of airborne particles. DustCount tracks unhealthy chemicals prevalent in diverse spaces such as food processing facilities and mines to measure the risks in the air for the workers.

  • Wavefront Wireless in-kind Prize: Curiate

Curiate is a content management platform that lets viewers “shop-the-show.” Curiate provides TV networks with a new advertising property and increased viewer engagement. The platform identifies people, places and things that appear on television programs so that viewers can share and purchase them. Curiate also enables networks and advertisers to analyze viewing behavior and quantify purchase results.

“We are proud to have mentored some of the province’s most cutting-edge innovators in 2014 and we are excited to see what will come next as they blaze their own trail of success,” said New Ventures BC Program Manager Angie Schick.

The 14th annual BCIC-New Ventures competition boasted 128 entries from all over the province. Over 1,400 aspiring entrepreneurs have entered the competition in the past 13 years. Competitors vie for nearly $300,000 in prizes and also benefited from mentorship, guidance and support from top angel investors and noted local entrepreneurs throughout the contest process. Winners are selected based on their potential to become lucrative ventures worthy of investment.