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Vancouver Group Promotes Support for Metaverse Technology Sector

Frontier Collective is a new group aimed at raising awareness of BC’s new “frontier” technology sector (AR / VR, Web3, games and other Metaverse technologies).

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A group of entrepreneurs, investors and other tech insiders dissatisfied with the lack of government support for the emerging Metaverse sector have formed a group to fill the void.

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Their plans are backed by Canada’s Industrial Development Bank, Vancouver-based incubator Launch Academy, law firm McMillan LLP, and others, with approximately 10,000 square meters in Vancouver to help start-ups in early areas. Includes establishing an innovation hub.

“In the frontier technology ecosystem, we have the opportunity to become a global leader, but we can lose everything,” said Dan Berger, co-founder and CEO of the new Frontier Collective. Many of the “fastest growing industries in the region” are related to the Metaverse, and some believe that the new Internet experience will become the new Internet standard.

Frontier Collective is a new group aimed at raising awareness of BC’s new “frontier” technology sector (AR / VR, Web3, games and other Metaverse technologies).

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Burgar points to BC’s promise to point to NFT and Web3 leaders Dapper Labs, among the state’s vast virtual and augmented reality and gaming sectors, and other new companies.

“We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to grow these industries. Otherwise, many of these companies will go to a more comfortable environment.”

British Columbia’s tech industry has long complained about the lack of government funding to help local start-ups grow into anchor companies and find employees with the right skills in the face of talent shortages. It was brought. For those working on emerging technologies, these issues can be exacerbated.

Over the years, Burger, who heads the Vancouver branch of the VR / AR Association, has heard about these obstacles from others working in space and began working on the collective last spring.

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They are first looking to the private sector for assistance.

“We will first try to move this without government,” he said, and once they have a plan, all three levels of government “tend to invest” in the collective vision. I hope that.

The group has already held several events and visited Portugal and Silicon Valley on a trade mission near the end of last year. Members are chatting with candidates and key figures within British Columbia in Vancouver’s next local elections.

But they are now officially up and ready to tackle three priorities. It’s expanding the talent pool, gaining access to investment, and increasing local profile.

The issue of talent is the one most commonly quoted by local entrepreneurs. Natalie Cartwright, co-founder and COO of chatbot company FinnAI and a member of the group, says companies in the state are having a hard time finding experienced senior talent.

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Burger anticipates another hurdle. Higher education institutions aren’t moving as fast as these emerging industries, and the shortage may be imminent, he said. Through a partnership with BC Institute of Technology, Collective hopes to increase the talent of what is called the “Frontier Technology Ecosystem” by 250% within the next few years. These industries connect new graduates with work.

Access to capital can also be difficult, especially for relatively new companies.

“I believe Canada as a country is severely undercapitalized in the early stages,” said Chris Neumann, one of the collective’s strategic advisors and partner of Panache Ventures who is not involved in the frontier collective. I am.

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Canadian start-ups have to rely more on angel investors, making it harder to get enough money, he said. Existing investment funds tend to be concentrated in Toronto and Montreal, said Thomas Park, a strategic advisor to Collective and a leader in deep-tech venture funds at Business Development Ankh.

Frontier Collective hopes to add $ 3 billion to the state’s early stage funding by 2025, primarily by mediating connections. Neumann and Park said group work could lead to investments from their company, and in particular the profile that banks bring to their efforts could elicit sales for financing.

“Anything I can do to enhance the success of the (venture capital) ecosystem, especially the Vancouver ecosystem, is an opportunity for me.”

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To bring new investment and talent, people in the tech community outside British Columbia need to know about the tech scene in the region. Ray Walia, CEO of Launch Incubator and co-founder of another Frontier Collective, said people were “stupid” when speaking at a conference about Vancouver’s frontier tech companies and community potential.

The group wants to do all this from a proposed 10,000-square-meter innovation hub, similar to Toronto’s 150,000-square-meter MaRS Discovery District and New York’s 12,000-square-meter New Lab.

Berger envisions it “as the center of Vancouver’s generations of innovation.”

So far, it’s mainly a vision. Collective relies on funding (or time donations) from its founding partners to operate. Berger didn’t say how much money he had raised so far, but said “that’s not enough.”

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To create a hub, you need to raise more money or form more partnerships. Berger said he would like to partner with an institution that can provide space and has relationships with some partners who are “interested in this vision.” There is also interest from the government and other stakeholders to help make the hub a reality, he said.

Two founding partners, Macmillan and Development Bank, confirmed that they had initially funded the group, but did not state the amount.

Determining when a hub can open is difficult for Burger because “many things really need to reach their goals.”

This part of collective planning can be difficult to carry out. Vancouver has several failed innovation hubs. In April 2019, the BC Tech Association announced that it would close 600 square meters of space in its AR, VR and mixed reality communities. It’s been less than two years since many fanfares were opened. It quoted the government’s lack of funding.

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More recently, Launch has migrated its LaunchPad program to a virtual model, shutting down 1,200 square meters of space.

CEO Wallia said the incubator was shrinking space to “submit the bill on its own” and the launch received an estimated $ 1 million or more in government subsidies and funding over a decade. But he wants the group to be able to learn from the Launch experience.

“Everything I wanted for the launch should be happening for this,” Wallia said. “Hopefully … times have changed and people realize that the opportunity is so great for us that we can’t miss it.”


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Vancouver Group Promotes Support for Metaverse Technology Sector

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