2016 Wrapped With A Splash, Craft Beer & Shout Outs From “The Hill”

2016 Wrapped With A Splash, Craft Beer & Shout Outs from “The Hill”

“Beez Reel” 3rd Edition
Keeping It Real With the Occasional Glimpse Behind The Scenes

We aren’t bragging about the B.C. weather at the moment – the ‘holiday deep freeze’ lingered well into 2017 – however, we would like to shine the light on a few moments from the final months of 2016 that made us proud.  To start … what a SPLASH by TritonWear as 2016 came to a close.


Athlete wearing TritonWear module

SQW to Tristan Lehari, CEO of TritonWear:  

“Oh, what I could have done if I had this technology when I was consumed by mastery.”

It is one thing when we have enthusiasm for what our portfolio companies are developing – it is altogether a new level of special when there is a national spotlight put on their products.

TritonWear Technology Is Making A Splash

TritonWear was featured at a special event linked to a national innovation strategy and identified by the federal Minister of Small Business and Tourism, and Waterloo MP, the Honorable Bardish Chagger, who had this to say at the event:

TritonWear Team CIX

TritonWear at CIX: John Crosson, Brenda, Tristan Lehari, Alex Murie


“TritonWear is about making Canadian swimmers more competitive so that they can outperform the world. Our government has a similar plan for the whole nation. By supporting and promoting innovative companies such as this, we are fostering the growth our economy needs.”

In addition to government recognition and accolades for TritonWear, the company received recognition from the Canadian technology industry.

In October, TritonWear was inducted into the annual Canadian Innovation Exchange’s coveted Top 20 list.

Oh, and our wearable tech company wasn’t the only Relentless portfolio shout-out from a member of federal parliament in 2016.

Squamish Powered by ePACT.

Squamish Powered by ePACT

Check out this VIDEO where ePACT Network received some love in the House of Commons following a special event in October – Member’s Statement: Innovation in Squamish

That’s right – the community of Squamish and Squamish Nation are now “Powered by ePACT”!  The “emergency preparedness” pilot has catalyzed organizations and communities to take action across Canada.

What’s all the BUZZ about trusted influencer marketing?

The industry is all a buzz about the growth of the personal, trusted network’s role in selling new products. In November, the Food Navigator placed the spotlight on the impact Social Nature is having on getting healthy, natural products in the hands of consumers.

Social Nature has grown their social influencer community to over 200,000 throughout North America – sampling, evaluating and sharing recommendations about the latest in natural, organic products. Healthy eating! Healthy living!    #TryNatural

From Print to Television

On January 8th Global television tapped into Annalea Kreb’s leadership skills in the natural products industry by inviting her to share thoughts on 2017 trends. A couple trends that Social Nature’s CEO highlighted:

“Purple is the new Black”

Food’s popular colour for 2017 is purple (purple beet, corn, yams, etc). Annalea encourages consumers to seek out purple veggies and products as they tend to be higher in anti-oxidants and may be more nutrient dense than many alternatives.

“Kale is out, Seaweed is IN”

Wondering what the new ‘it’ vegetable is for the year ahead? Annalea points to seaweed. This marine algae is growing in popularity because it is loaded with minerals, is rich in calcium, magnesium, as well as vitamins A and C (it is high in sodium – so monitor intake accordingly).

View the entire segment here: Social Nature on GlobalBC.

And if you are interested in learning more about the Power of Consumer Influence directly from Annalea, check out this event on January 24th in Yaletown:  How Influence Can Drive Results.Annalea Vertical Garden

With Growth Comes New Digs

Social Nature found a sweet new space in one of Vancouver’s growing tech postal codes: Gastown.

The Social Nature team is growing and HIRING!

Keeping growth and green living at the forefront, I love how Annalea has enriched her new workspace with a vertical garden.

No garden yet at the new Wiivv basecamp, but they have a wicked view!

The Wiivv team also outgrew their office and landed in Gastown.

Wiivv OpenHouse

Wiivv fans: an accountant, an Investor & a CEO

Wiivv invited the community to celebrate a great year, a year that included a record breaking Kickstarter campaign, the closing of a major seed financing and escalating product adoption.

Personally, I was also celebrating Wiivv’s new data. Clinical results are in. What I have experienced anecdotally has now been confirmed through a cross section of early adopters in a controlled trial – use of the custom, 3D-printed Wiivv insole results in less foot fatigue and a material reduction in chronic foot pain.

Bring on those track workouts again!

And just in time for the launch of the 2017 season, Wiivv announced the expansion of their body perfect, 3D-printed product line with the introduction of a full-length custom fit insole. The sportier, full-length option replaces factory insoles of everything from running shoes to soccer cleats. The new product announcement was covered by Triathlon Business – industry props causing both our professional and amateur triathlete hearts to burst with pride.   #KeepGoing

Bike Tours & Community Connections

Both Simon and I had an active end to 2016 connecting with the community across Canada.

BDO Annual General Meeting Keynote

In September, Simon delivered the keynote for BDO Canada‘s AGM. He tapped into his wealth of athletic experience as both an individual and team member.

Simon shared bold examples of innovation within the sport of triathlon, his journey as a leader in the sport, how he challenged assumptions and emphasized how much he had to tap into courage to shift the paradigm.


NACO Special Event

Honoring our commitment to participate and promote active, healthy living, Simon and I hosted a couple of unique events around the National Angel Capital Organization Summit in Vancouver.

In exquisite west coast style, we partnered with City Cycle and lead an enthusiastic batch of angel investors on a Vancouver Craft Brewery tour by bike! Thanks to Cycle City’s resident beer guide, Nick. And yes, it POUNDED rain. It was fantastic!

At this point we are thinking of making the craft beer tour a semi-annual event – rain or shine. Interested in joining the next ride?

bike tour gastown rain

Exploring Gastown in the rain

Brenda, Simon & Nick (Cycle City’s resident beer guide)

NCFA Fireside Chat

Another Q4 highlight was when Simon and I hit the “speakers’ stage” together for the first time at the National Crowdfunding Association of Canada conference. The moment was amplified by having one of our portfolio founders (Louis-Victor Jadavji, co-founder of Wiivv) join us as well for a key part of the conversation.

Simon, Brenda, LV and Craig Asano (NCFA Executive Director)

Simon, Brenda, LV and Craig Asano (NCFA Executive Director).        Photo courtesy of NCFA

We shared the investors’ perspective on rewards-based crowdfunding as either a financing or product launch strategy. LV shared his lessons learned and rationale for using a crowdfunding platform to fuel a commercial product launch. Here are a few of our key messages:

#1 Lesson Learned – Private or Public?

A public crowdfunding campaign eliminates a private start-up’s ability to iterate, learn, grow, recover, and restart privately, and on a timeline that works for a company versus a consumer’s desire. Be mindful of this reality.

#2 Opportunity Realized – The Impact of the Network!

Leveraging existing networks facilitates a successful crowdfunding launch. PERIOD. By tapping into the mailing lists of your investors, accelerator, strategic and industry partners can create powerful early momentum in a campaign. Don’t be shy about “the ask.” Don’t overlook this incredible resource.

#3 Insider Investor Tip Under promise and OVER DELIVER

When defining a crowdfunding campaign sales goal, select a number that demonstrates persuasive customer adoption while having a high probability of execution. Delays in uptake or low percentage goal achievement could delay timing on your next fundraising, or negatively affect your business valuation due to perceived absence of campaign success.

The NCFA recently published a thorough industry report (including a Relentless cameo of course). Click here to access and download:

2016 Alternative Finance Crowdfunding in Canada

Transferable Lessons – Sport to Business

This edition of Beez Reel closes with some “Whitfield Wisdom” that offers a transferable lesson for entrepreneurs developing their competitive positioning:

Q: Simon, what was your super power as a professional athlete?

A: SQW – I had the ability to sit still. I saw the moment. I was prepared – I was always prepared. 

I could stay calm when everyone else was rushing to get started.

Simon Swim Splash

Comeback?         Photo credit: C. Stenberg