Meet the quartet gunning for Startup of the Year

Carbin Minerals, Daanaa, MintList, and VodaSafe advanced to the Technology Impact Awards Gala after BC Tech’s Dragons' Den style pitch competition.

The finalists celebrate at the 2022 TIAs Dragons Den pitch night on Thursday, September 15. From left to right: Bethany Ladd (Carbin Minerals), Mehrsa Raeiszadeh (MintList), Mike Wood (MintList), Carlyn Loncaric (VodaSafe), and Udi Daon (Daanaa).

The idea that reality TV and entrepreneurship were a natural pairing was first hatched in Japan at the turn of the century. 2001’s The Tigers of Money paved the way not only for Shark Tank but its Canadian sibling, Dragons’ Den. Now, almost 30 countries have some sort of reality TV pitch competition.

The BC Tech Association wanted to join the fun. For the first time, the Technology Impact Award’s Tech Company of the Year - Startup category saw Dragons’ Den-style pitches to cull the nominees. Four B.C.-based companies were named finalists.

Meet the finalists

What it does: Develops technology to accelerate the natural process of atmospheric carbon mineralization, removing carbon dioxide from the air and storing it permanently.

Why it’s in it to win it: The UBC spinoff and entrepreneurship@UBC alum already has investment capital in the bank via Elon Musk's XPRIZE Carbon Removal Competition and Sustainable Technology Development Canada.

What it does: Crafts chip-based technology that allows manufacturers to reimagine fundamental engineering problems through advanced, integrated power transfer.

Why it’s in it to win it: This isn’t the first rodeo for CEO Udi Daon. Daon exited healthtech firm Navigate Surgical Technologies; mentored at SFU, UBC, and Innovation Boulevard; and now leads Daanaa.

What it does: Originally known as TrafficDriven Technologies, the company is an AI-powered car selling platform.

Why it’s in it to win it: MintList was recently crowned Tech Startup of the Year - Software in the International Business Awards. What’s one more trophy for the cabinet?

What it does: Develops a first-of-its-kind water rescue and victim recovery device: an advanced underwater scanner that uses the latest ultrasound and artificial intelligence technologies to identify human bodies underwater.

Why it’s in it to win it: a World Health Organization report has labelled drowning a “silent epidemic.” VodaSafe is shouting from the rooftops, though.

Meet the judges Dragons

A who’s who of the B.C. tech community members that played the role of Kevin O’Leary or Arlene Dickinson:

  • Rich Osborn of Recap Ventures

  • Laurie Schultz, who serves as a director and strategic advisor for a number of companies

  • Noah Shipman from Vistara Partners

  • Christy Wyatt of Absolute Software

Meet the nominees

The revamped Company of the Year - Startup category, presented by Microsoft, saw 10 startups pitch at the Granville Street office of the computing juggernaut. In addition to the four finalists, those companies were:

After the Den

The final winner of the Company of the Year - Startup award will be announced on Oct 6th at the Technology Impact Awards Gala.

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