New Ventures BC 2023: Meet the winners of $250K in cash and prizes

RetreatsAndVenues has taken the first-place prize in the annual business competition.

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RetreatsAndVenues, a streamlined online marketplace that curates the world’s top retreat venues and data, won the top prize in the 2023 New Ventures BC Competition, presented by Innovate BC. The North Vancouver-based startup outlasted 203 others en route to earning $110,000 and the title of the province’s top startup.

"Winning the 2023 New Ventures BC Competition is a huge achievement for our team,” said Cory Sivell, the startup’s co-founder and CEO. “We're truly humbled by this honour and thankful for the guidance and support we've received along the way. This victory will serve as a catalyst for our continued growth, allowing us to further our mission of helping deliver over 1 billion 5-star retreat experiences."

The competition, which just completed its 23rd year, brings together the province’s top startups who receive access to education, mentorship, cash, and prizes. To date, it has supported over 3,500 companies that have created more than 9,000 jobs and raised over $1.5 billion in financing.

The rest of the podium

BrowseAI, which enables non-technical users to transform any website into a spreadsheet or data pipeline without the need for coding, took home the $60,000 Innovate BC Second Place Prize Package.

Blanka, a comprehensive wholesale hub and fulfilment partner for branded beauty products, won the Innovate BC $35,000 Third Place Prize.

The winners’ circle

In addition to the top three prizes, six additional companies were recognized for their achievements across a range of categories:

  • The $10,000 Innovate BC Sustainability Prize went to Viridis Research

  • The $10,000 Innovate BC Regional Startup Prize went to Victoria-based femtech outfit, Joni

  • The $10,000 Innovate BC Woman-Led Venture Award went to Ginger Desk

  • The $10,000 National Bank of Canada Leap to the Cloud Prize went to Leasey.AI

  • The $5,500 Luminaries Diamond-in-the-Rough Award went to Seleste

  • The Alumni Impact Award went to Jane Software

The kudos

"This year’s top 10 provides a great representation of B.C.'s vibrant startup ecosystem — they’re pioneers, collaborators, and relentless problem solvers,” said Angie Schick, executive director at New Ventures BC. “Whether it's companies like Ginger Desk that are increasing the efficiency of our health care system, cleantech ventures like Viridis Research that are eliminating pollutants from our water, or wearables startups like Seleste who are increasing accessibility, these high-growth companies exemplify the enormous potential of B.C.'s tech sector."

“Each year, the New Ventures BC Competition highlights and supports incredible companies that are advancing industries through new technologies and innovating in how we engage with everything from pressing global challenges to aspects of our daily lives,” said Tomica Divic, interim president and CEO at Innovate BC. “[We are] proud to support the competition again this year, and we look forward to following the journeys of each of its participants and winners as they make their mark here in B.C. and beyond.”

“The finalists of the 2023 New Ventures B.C. competition are amazing examples of the innovative and creative people and businesses thriving in British Columbia,” said Brenda Bailey, Minister of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation. These businesses are crucial to maintaining B.C.'s strong economy, and our government is committed to continuing to support the growth of the tech sector as we build a stronger B.C. that benefits everyone.”

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