2018 year in review: Technology

Amazon

Vancouver didn’t make the short list of HQ2 contenders for Amazon.com, Inc. (Nasdaq:AMZN) in January, but by April the tech giant had offered the conciliatory prize of plans to expand its existing presence in the city. The new Vancouver site, to be housed at the old Canada Post building on Georgia Street, will add 3,000 workers across 416,000 square feet.

Avigilon

In February, Motorola Solutions (NYSE:MSI) announced plans to acquire one of Vancouver’s few homegrown anchor companies, Avigilon Corp., in a US$1 billion cash deal. Founder and CEO Alexander Fernandes eventually departed the company known for its software and hardware for video surveillance after the deal closed in March.

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Supercluster

B.C.-based Digital Technology Supercluster was shortlisted in February to share $950 million in federal funding with four other superclusters across the country. By November, Ottawa had committed $153 million to the B.C. bid.

BuildDirect

The Vancouver-based tech firm known as the Amazon of home-building supplies revealed in March that it had raised US$28 million in new funding, and that it had exited creditor protection in the wake of financial restructuring.

Hyperwallet

Financial technology giant PayPal Holdings Inc. (Nasdaq:PYPL) made its second big play in the Vancouver market in a year, agreeing in June to acquire fellow fintech Hyperwallet Systems Inc. for US$400 million. This followed PayPal’s $304 million acquisition of TIO Networks in 2017.

Ride-hailing

The province released its long-awaited taxi industry report to the public in July, promising to put 500 new cabs on the road to address demand for more transportation options. In November, B.C. Transportation Minister Claire Trevena announced the province wants ICBC to have insurance products ready for ride-hailing services by late 2019 but offered no commitments as to when the services would be permitted to operate.

eSports

The International Dota 2 Championships made a cross-border leap from Seattle to Vancouver for the annual eSports tournament. Following the weeklong August event at Rogers Arena, the Aquilini Group announced plans to get into eSports by acquiring the rights for a new franchise debuting in the Overwatch League in 2019.

torton@biv.com

@reporton

 

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