New launches and inspo

This week's scoop is sure to spark ideas

👋 Good morning, and welcome to (or welcome back to) VTJ’s Sunday Briefing: your weekly digest of the city’s innovation news, deals, insights, and more.

From skincare to plastic waste and AI tools, I’m excited to share the scoop on a few new launches that happened this week — as well as some must-reads by local founders and investors.

Btw, I’ll be back in the city in time for Vancouver Startup Week and can’t wait to share what we have planned. Keep an eye out for the news 👀

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Now onto today’s briefing. It’s 1,158 words: a four-minute read.


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  • Save da Sea, the foodtech startup, closed a $650K seed funding round to hire staff, quickly expand to the U.S., and increase its commitment to a more sustainable and equitable food system.

  • Loba, the smart pill organizer and app, announced it received funding as part of being one out of 10 companies selected for the next cohort of DMZ, a startup incubator.

  • The Canadian Food Innovation Network invests over $99K in ThisFish, a software and traceability provider using smart cameras and computer vision to automatically inspect seafood in processing plants.

  • Douglas Lui, VC partner at Vine Ventures, is launching a new LGBTQ+ fund to support worthy missions within the community and promote diversity and inclusion in start-up funding.


  • Blume, the skincare line, launched its first sun care innovation — which blends in sheer, fades dark spots, and protects the skin — at Sephora and is nearly sold out after just two weeks.

  • Amer Abu-Khajil, launched Deciphe, an AI survey analysis tool that allows users to upload qualitative data and automatically receive a report on key insights, themes, personas, problems, opportunities, and more.

  • Frank Pho, VC and founder of ADNA, which guides entrepreneurs in doing business in Asia, launched Samsara Materials to address the plastic waste crisis by transforming plastic into eco-friendly building materials.

  • Women Love Herbs, a platform to help women improve well-being by increasing knowledge about herbal remedies, was chosen as one out of four top pitches at the Entrepreneurship Boot Camp in Ho Chi Minh City.


  • BetaKit summarized and shared clips of attendee and panelist takeaways from its recent town hall to discuss the state of innovation in Canada, and what can or should be done to support it.

  • Roya Aghighi, co-founder of Lite-1, the biotech startup transforming the dye industry with 100% sustainable colours, wrote about how

    artificial colours pollute waterways and harm textile factory workers and why microorganisms can be the natural dye producers of the future.

  • Ilya Brotzky, founder of VanHack, Canada's largest international tech recruitment company, wrote about how integrating foreign tech workers into the Canadian economy can enrich the cultural and intellectual landscape of tech communities nationwide.

  • Marlon Thompson, chief experience officer at Spring, an incubator, accelerator, and advisory firm for entrepreneurs and investors, highlighted an article that makes the case for redefining the way we think about diversity.

  • Chris Neumann, general partner at Vanache Partners, shared his experience as a founder prior to becoming an investor and tips on how new VCs can avoid becoming a “jerk.”


May 14 | Vancouver Tech Morning Coffee (new location: FUNK coffee bar): Ease into the week with new connections and fresh ideas and inspiration by meeting the VTJ team and tech community through our weekly meetup series.
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May 15 | Launch Builders Meetup: Discover some of the newest products coming out of Vancouver and mix and mingle with fellow product-loving folks and enthusiasts over pizza and drinks. Plus, you can use our discount code VTJ20 for 20% off.
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May 17, 18, 25 | Techstars Startup Weekend: Do you have a problem to solve or an idea you’d like to bring to life but don't know where to start? Or who to start with? Or do you just want to learn how to build a startup and an entrepreneurial mindset? Startup Weekend is here to help through an action-packed three-day event where you’ll meet the best mentors, investors, co-founders, and sponsors.
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May 19 | Tech Sunday: Let’s tech a walk: ​Tech Sunday is an informal monthly meet-up that brings together tech enthusiasts in Vancouver. Grab a coffee and enjoy a leisurely walk around Stanley Park, discussing all things tech. The walk will last about an hour or two, and if there's interest, may even end with lunch.
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May 31 - June 7 | Vancouver Startup Week (VSW): VSW is a week-long celebration that builds momentum and fosters connections among entrepreneurs, investors, and leaders within the Greater Vancouver startup community. Learn from local companies that have grown to become globally recognized through the many panels, fireside chats, and hands-on workshops around town.
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