In 2009, Vineyard Networks CEO Jason Richards was operating his five-employee company out of his basement in Kelowna. His product, a next-generation deep packet inspection engine for analyzing and identifying traffic flowing across the Internet, was still in development.
He joined the BCIC-New Ventures competition for the networking, exposure and prize money. Today the Top 10 finalist announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by Procera Networks for $28 Million. Read more
New medical test-instrument shows promise -February 2012 Update
LightIntegra, the 2009 BCIC-NVB first-prize winner, has raised more than $3 million from angel financiers to advance its medical test-instrument prototype.
LightIntegra’s product, ThromboLUX, is a quick and simple diagnostic test for determining blood-platelet quality and function, making it easy to screen blood platelets prior to giving blood transfusions to patients. Traditional testing methods are unreliable, time-consuming, expensive and not routinely used. Poor-quality platelets result in ineffective blood transfusions, which affect outcomes for cancer, heart surgery and other patients.
LightIntegra is aiming to save lives by making its platelet-quality testing a regular practice in blood banks and hospitals around the world.
Since winning the BCIC-NVB competition, LightIntegra has hired its first five full-time employees. Read more
Vineyard Networks Canada, a 2009 BCIC-New Ventures competition Top 10 finalist, is now reaping international kudos for its network intelligence and deep-packet inspection technologies.
In December 2011, Vineyard Networks was the only Canadian company to receive a Red Herring Global 100 award, which recognizes the year’s most promising private ventures from North America, Europe and Asia. Previous winners have included Google, Skype and YouTube.
The Global 100 list has become a mark of distinction for identifying promising companies and entrepreneurs. Companies were evaluated on criteria including financial performance, technological innovation, management quality, strategy, and market penetration. Read more
Solegear gearing up for growth – December 2011 Update
When Solegear Bioplastics Inc. entered the BCIC-New Ventures Competition in 2010, the company had just started to commercialize its newly invented high-performance bioplastics: Polysole and Traverse.
Poplysole, which is made from plants and is non-toxic and compostable, can be used for making products ranging from personal care products to durable packaging to toys. Traverse, made of recycled virgin plastic combined with natural fibers such as wood, rice husks, hemp or bamboo, can be used to manufacture injection-molded products such as deck chairs, automotive parts and electronics. Read more
Supercharging the economics of electric vehicles – December 2011 Update
Since completing the 2009 NVBC competition as one of 10 finalists, REV Technologies Inc. has moved from an unheated shack with a leaking roof to a heated and custom-renovated 8,000-square-foot office in Vancouver.
REV entered the competition with four unpaid employees and a new product — REV Pack — an electric drive system for transforming gas-guzzling fleet vehicles into electric zero-emission vehicles.
Since then, the company has grown to 16 employees and moved on to develop a server-based network and software system that it hopes will ultimately manage the stored energy of millions of electric vehicles (EV). Read more
Quadrogen Power Systems won the 2010 BCIC New Ventures third prize and the BC Bioenergy Network Prize and went on to sell its first Integrated Biogas Clean-up System (IBCS) to a high-profile project at Orange County Sanitation District’s (OCSD) wastewater treatment plant in California.
Quadrogen’s system removes the contaminants found in biogas created from the anaerobic decomposition of organic matter such as sewage, manure and green waste. The result is an ultra-clean gas that can then be used for power and heat generation.
Quadrogen’s president, Alakh Prasad, says his company competed against six large, established U.S. companies to install a system at OCSD for cleaning the biogas from a wastewater digester so that it could be used in fuel cells to generate power, heat, and hydrogen. Read more
Four years after winning first prize in the 2007 New Ventures BC competition, Augurex Life Sciences Corp. is on the brink of huge opportunities.
The Vancouver company has just completed clinical studies proving that its patented biomarker test for Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) identifies patients who have early onset of the disease. Researchers involved in the clinical tests say it captures an additional two out of every 10 patients with early-onset RA who are missed by other tests. They say this is hugely beneficial because the disease can cause irreversible joint damage within two years of symptom onset.
Augurex is now in the midst of negotiations with diagnostic companies around the world to commercialize and distribute the test. It measures a newly discovered protein that is elevated in the blood of patients with RA but is relatively absent in healthy people and those with other types of arthritis and autoimmune conditions.
Norma Biln, CEO of Augurex, says the test could become a disruptive technology in terms of advancing patient management and possibly changing the course of the disease.
“Our next challenge is to ensure there’s a successful uptake of the product,” says Biln. “You can launch it, but you need to ensure it’s properly promoted, since the test uses a novel protein that most people have never heard of.”
Augurex still has five employees and contracts out its research to Canadian research organizations. To date, the company has received about $4.5 million in funding from shareholders and government.
Now, Biln hopes to use the funds from impending commercialization agreements to pursue four more applications based on the same novel protein, for which several patents have been filed.
Two of the new patents focus on measuring the patient’s own immune response to the novel protein. The other two patents focus on therapeutically targeting the protein to eliminate it from the patient’s body, potentially treating RA.
“When we started, we had no idea where this would take us,” says Biln. “It took a lot of hard work and creativity to make these other discoveries and learn about where we could move things forward.
“It has turned into a much bigger opportunity than we expected.”
2010 2nd Prize winner Solegear Bioplastics announced partnerships this week with the University of British Columbia and Ecole Polytechnique to support the research and development of additional innovations in bioplastics. The partnerships will enable Solegear to work with the chemical and biological engineering departments at these institutions to innovative the bioplastics space.
“Solegear’s Polysole and Traverse bioplastic materials are already demonstrating that they can replace and, in some cases, outperform traditional petroleum-based plastics. While we are pleased with this initial success, we remain committed to innovation and to expanding our commercial opportunities,” said Solegear CEO, Toby Reid. “By partnering with these leading institutions, we are ensuring that we can access the kind of thinking that will help us to not only stay on the leading edge of our industry, but to continue to move towards tangible, climate-focused solutions that have significant returns for the Canadian economy.”