The truth behind bootstrapping a 'unicorn'

Heads down in building or raising capital? Don’t miss out on this week’s insights

👋 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.

How do you figure out the next right move in your startup journey? The kind that moves you from being heads down in building your product to ringing the opening bell at NASDAQ?

Paul Teshima, a Canadian ‘unicorn’ founder listed as one of Canada’s top executives, shares his own journey and lessons for other founders. Read on for the full story.

That aside, it was a packed room at TTT Studios for our first AI demo night. Thank you to the founders who came out to demo and for the community for showing up to support — and, of course, Chris Hobbs for the beautiful space and hospitality.

Now onto today’s briefing. It’s 1,208 words: a four-minute read.


P.S. We’re trying a new look and would love to know what you think! Take our poll at the bottom so we can make your experience even better.


See more stories at 

Did someone send this to you? Subscribe for free and stay connected to Vancouver’s innovation community.


Vancouver's Tech Office Experts

Connect with The High Technology Facilities Group at CBRE – leaders in sourcing office space for BC’s startup and unicorn companies. The HTFG excels at helping clients find unique workspaces that drive productivity, reflect values, attract top talent, and fuel workplace culture.

Check out how The HTFG can help, or reach out to Alain, Blair, Kevin or Andre from The HTFG.


  • Blossom, the social investing app, raised over $500K within 24 hours through equity crowdfunding platform FrontFundr — marking the biggest launch day on the platform to date.

  • Netskrt Systems, the content delivery network platform, raised $10 million in series A funding to expand customer support, engineering, and operations.

  • Maia Farms, a mycelium production platform and last month’s grand prize winner of the Deep Space Food Challenge, raised $2.3 million in pre-seed funding to scale operations.

  • Moment Energy, the EV battery repurposing company, was awarded a $6 million tax credit from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service to establish the first large-scale UL 1974-certified manufacturing facility in North America.

  • Metaspectral, a remote sensing software company, secured a six-month $150K contract from Environment Climate Change Canada to recycle plastic film using AI.


Cost-effective remote teams

DevEngine connects North American innovation companies with Latin American tech talent, crafting superb and cost-effective software, data and cloud engineering teams. They also provide individual contributors to existing tech squads. Operating throughout Latin America, their main base is in Vancouver, BC. Download DevEngine's Salary Guide for more details.


  • Sanctuary AI announced a collaboration with Microsoft to accelerate the development of AI models for general purpose humanoid robots, including Sanctuary’s Phoenix.

  • Tradable Bits, the customer data platform, launched a new online marketplace that connects women’s sports properties and their fans to brand sponsors.

  • Autograph Analytics, the tech and data solutions company for the auto industry, was nominated as one of eight finalists for the ‘Startup Company of the Year’ at the BC Tech Innovation Awards.

  • David To, managing partner and capital at Lnkd Capital, a private financial fund to acquire, operate, and expand businesses in Canada and the U.S., announced the closing of its first fund.

  • Seven local AI apps were showcased at VTJ’s first AI demo night: OpenRep, LittleLit AI - Creative Kids Studio, CodeMaker AI, UrbanLogiq,, Latent-Sense Technologies, and IDX Studio.


  • Jérôme Nycz, executive VP at BDC Capital, shared a Venture Capital Journal piece highlighting the firm’s “decade-long, collective efforts to foster growth in Canadian VC.”

  • Mandy Potter, founder and investor of Misfit Angels, which focuses on investing in LGBTQ+, BIPOC, and women founders, listed strategies for underrepresented entrepreneurs — drawing on her own experience from raising millions in funding.

  • Gabriela Arno, content manager at the Cofounder’s Hub, offered insights and advice on why it’s important and ways to get to know your co-founder better outside the office.

  • Common, a DIY event management app offering networking tools and event data that will be launching soon, put together a list of top venues in Vancouver for your next event.

  • Are you struggling with a lack of meeting space in your office? It’s time to check out soundproof booths and meeting rooms from Inbox Booths. A dedicated room to connect with your team or somewhere you won’t be interrupted.*

*Sponsored listing


Finding the right recruitment partner is hard.

Starboard Recruitment focuses on delivering quality talent to tech startups in Vancouver while providing top of market candidate/client experience. Connect with Founder, David FitzGerald and read Testimonials here: Starboard Recruitment.


May 7 | Vancouver Tech Morning Coffee x Co-Work With Us: 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.
➡️ Register

May 7 | Co-Working with Vancouver Tech Journal: ​Do you work from home but miss the camaraderie of the watercooler? Join us and and others from the tech community for a free co-working day at WeWork. Make sure to request in advance as spots are limited.
➡️ Request

May 8 | Learn the ins and outs of how your tech company can prepare to be ‘M&A ready’ through connecting with seasoned experts and hearing the biggest acquisition success stories.
➡️ Register

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.
➡️ Register

VTJ Members get early access and discounts to all our events. Don’t miss out.


🗣 Online

Join 1,000+ people in our VTJ Slack and connect with others in the community.

Reply back if you need an invite!

🤝 At the office

Job hunting? See 25+ roles open right now on 

🗓️ In real life

See our local community calendar at

That’s it!

Thanks for stopping in today. If you found something useful, please forward this newsletter to someone in the community who should subscribe.

And before you go, let us know:

What did you think of today's newsletter?

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.

Subscribe to keep reading

This content is free, but you must be subscribed to Vancouver Tech Journal to continue reading.

Already a subscriber?Sign In.Not now

Join the conversation

or to participate.