What it means to be a B Corp

Why Left became a B Corp

At Left we believe that you need to know the score to be able to improve and succeed, that is why ‘Keeping Score’ is one of our core values. Whether it is knowing the daily sales stats or tracking community hours, it is important to know your metrics as we believe, that which is measured, gets improved. 

In 2015 we realized that there was a lack of data on parts of our business that were the most important to us, such as measuring our employee engagement and our global impact. The metrics we wanted to track were over time, not day-to-day or month-to-month, but year-to-year. 

To address this, we started by selecting a local company, Perked!, to keep score of our employee engagement and satisfaction. While this tool was leading us in the right direction, it didn’t track how we were making our mark globally or provide benchmarks with other organizations. 

It was while reviewing our fellow nominee for the 2015 ‘Technology Impact Award in Community Engagement’, Traction on Demand, that our Director of Talent and Culture, Tracy McDonald, saw the B-Corp logo for the first time. 

Reading through their website she thought ‘we could do this’ - it was exactly what we were looking for. Being a B-Corp would provide us with a way to ensure that we were doing things right. It would allow us to benchmark ourselves with other organizations, and over time, it would allow us to pick elements from within the scoring mechanism that we could work to improve. Becoming a part of the B Corp movement was a way to be a part of the change, and in our small way, help to champion that change.

In 2017, we were proud to have become a ​Certified B Corporation.

What is a B-Corp?

Certified B Corporations are organizations committed to doing business as a ‘force for good.' Certified companies hold a high standard of “verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose.”

As a collective, the B Corp community works to create a global cultural shift to redefine success in business with the goal of building a more inclusive and sustainable economy.

Becoming a B Corp

Becoming a Certified B Corporation is a tough milestone to achieve, and we're proud to have earned it!
Unlike other organizational certifications, the B Impact Assessment doesn’t only evaluate a product or service, it assesses “the overall positive impact of the company that stands behind it.” This happens through an evaluation and scoring of a business's impact in five key impact areas: Governance, Workers, Community, Environment, and Customers. To become B-Corp certified, companies must score a total of 80 across all impact areas. Left is proud to have scored 101.


The Left impact area score.

Although we're happy with our score, we recognize that being a B Corp is a commitment to abide by a high standard and seek constant improvement in everything we do. We’re always working to improve our impact areas and make a larger positive mark in our Community. We recertify in early 2020, and we look forward to seeing the progress we have made.

Why Left believes in B Corps

It is our goal to model growth without compromise. Where other companies are limited to maximizing shareholder value, we welcome the B-Corp requirement of maximizing “the value of all stakeholders, including shareholders, employees, our partners, the community, and the environment.” This codification ensures that whatever twists and turns the company may take, all involved are assured that we'll live up to our brand promise: We are Left; we do things right.

About Left

Left is a B-Corp certified, Canadian multinational media and technology company committed to using technology for positive social impact. One of Canada’s Top 100 Employers, Left has grown into a global team of over 160. Left Travel, a brand of Left, has been using big data, A.I., and predictive analysis to convert high search intent traffic into quality bookings for hotels and short-term stays since 2010. With its mobile mesh networking project powered by blockchain and tokenization, RightMesh, Left is addressing the global challenge of connectivity — particularly in regions where the digital divide is greatest. Headquartered in the Vancouver-based suburb of Maple Ridge, BC, Left has offices, subsidiaries, and employees in Bangladesh, Switzerland, and the United States.

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Inside One of Canada’s Top 100 Employers

Earlier this year, Left was honoured to have been named on the elite list of Canada’s Top 100 Employers. The award recognizes companies that invest in their employees’ personal growth by offering unique initiatives, continuous learning, and development opportunities.

Left was the smallest company recognized, with only 36 Canadian employees at the time of entry. “Although a small company in comparison to others on the list, our heart is big,” said CEO and Co-founder, Chris Jensen. “We’ve demonstrated that you don’t need big, expensive programs and benefits to create an exceptional place to work — with innovation and progressive initiatives, any company can become a top employer regardless of size if you set your heart and mind to it.”

With that statement in mind, we want to share some of our ‘Lefty magic’ by giving a behind the scenes look into what makes Left one of Canada’s Top Employers.

Board Room

To start our #InsideCanadasTop100 tour, we bring you to the boardroom which reflects that 1/3 of our people are in Maple Ridge and the other 2/3 of our team are in Bangladesh. We use this room to conduct team calls to bring our global Lefties together.
The other special thing about this room is that it has our B-Corp certificate. We became a certified B-Corp in 2017, which means we're committed to use business as a force for good. It was a tough milestone to achieve, and we are very proud to have earned it.

Scrum Room

As a technology company, we practice agile methodology and use sprints to organize our workflow. We have our goals visually displayed to encourage cross-department transparency within the company.
Dhaka Room

Dhaka is the capital of Bangladesh where over 18M people live and where Left has one of its two Bangladesh-based offices.  Like many evolving cities in emerging markets it is growing rapidly. Each year, almost 1M people are added. When you have that kind of growth, the infrastructure simply can’t cope. Healthcare, roads, connectivity - they’re all being strained.
A large part of what we’re building with the RightMesh project is about finding solutions for those in emerging markets. The Dhaka room reminds us of this, and the people we’re trying to help.

Disney Room

When we set up Left we looked to people we admired, and one of those is Walt Disney because of how he set up his business. In 1957, he had the foresight to imagine what Disney could be today. With Left, we have tried to do the same by building a company with a strong vision of lasting value.


Everyday our team meets at 10:10 am to share news, updates, wins, and most importantly, the numbers. We practice open book accounting, because we believe if everyone has a chance to hear the numbers, they have an opportunity to influence them.

Dream Program

Through our award-winning ‘Dream Program’, we help our Lefties identify their personal dreams, and we support each other collectively to achieve them. Whether an individual’s dream is to buy a home, be a digital nomad, achieve Permanent Residency in Canada, or something as simple as have the time to teach their kids to cook, we pool resources or tickets, conduct training, or find other creative ways to support each other. We believe that whatever the dreams, it is our obligation to help our Lefties achieve them because they are helping us achieve our corporate ones.


Our library acts as a multipurpose room. It serves as not only a quiet place for our Lefties to work or read but is also a spot for our Lefties’ children to spend a few hours when they’re off school.

Standout Wall

We find that if we focus on our Lefties’ strengths, rather than their weaknesses, they’re more passionate about the work they're doing. That is why we use ‘Strength Finder 2.0’, an online resource that identifies 'stand out' traits. We display the results on our wall to show our team the best ways to work with each other based on our strengths.

Games Room

A few years ago, we realized we could spend a few hundred dollars on an okay boardroom table or we could spend the same money on a really, really nice table tennis table... guess what we chose?

Legendary Lefty Wall

One of our favourite unique initiatives, the ‘Legendary Lefty program’ was put in place as a way for Lefties to nominate their peers when they see them demonstrating our core values. Every month at each of our offices, one ‘Legendary Lefty’ is chosen from our wall of peer nominations and recognized in front of the team!

Core Values

The very essence of Left is reflected in our 10 core values which we’ve had since the company’s founding. We keep our values displayed on our kitchen wall to keep them top of mind and be the best we can be.

If you have any questions about our programs or initiatives, or if you would like to come see our office for a culture tour, please reach out to amber@left.io!

Women in Technology: Insights into the Gender Gap

Joanne Lott, Manager, Operations & Business Development for our Left Travel brand, shares her reflections on women in technology.

International Women’s Day provides a timely opportunity to reflect on the progress of female representation in the Technology industry today. According to Statistica, the percentage of women in the US workforce has grown to 46.8% overall. The Technology industry, however, continues to lag behind with female participation at less than 20%, and women’s wages are an average $16,000 less than their male counterparts. In an industry whose survival depends on innovation, this lack of diversity and persistent gender gap remains a problem.

My career in the Technology industry began 20 years ago, and I have witnessed some great strides in making the tech workforce better for women, but have also experienced some of the historical and institutional reasons why Tech remains a man’s world.

Challenges for women

Getting a job in technology remains unfairly weighted towards men. An overall cultural bias persists that women are not as competent at, or passionate about, technology as men. At times in my career, there were assumptions made that my knowledge and passion for innovative technologies came from the males in my life, and not from my own technical competencies. This bias limits the hiring of women and incorrectly posits computers and Tech as exclusively male domains.

Some misconceptions about gender roles also continue, such as the idea that caregiver responsibilities might interfere with women’s ability to do a good job. For example, while interviewing for a role at a mid-level internet company, the recruiter asked me who would be watching my children upon my return to work. Despite being highly qualified, the fact that I was a mother was perceived as a strike against my candidacy for the role.

After gaining entry in the technology workforce, women also face challenges in the content they work on and in the workplace culture. In many companies where the technology and entertainment industries intersect, for example, the content can be strongly gendered and sexist. I have also worked in environments that were more akin to fraternity houses — where posters of scantily-clad women hung on office walls. This environment made it challenging to lead with authority or feel empowered to facilitate or manage innovation within my team.

This ‘bro’ culture also has a negative impact on the important informal networks so critical to women’s career progression. Many raises and promotions occur because someone in the Executive layer advocates for the progression of a particular individual. Studies have shown that women, especially women of colour, have less access to these critical informal social networks, limiting the speed of their career trajectory compared to men.

Some technology companies also have corporate cultures or management processes that require long or unpredictable in-office working hours. Many start-ups, for example, expect a 12-hour daily grind and push employees to the point of burnout. Because many women are also responsible for childcare or care of elderly parents, these types of demanding work conditions limit women’s career choices. Some companies make untenable work hours a requirement, making women choose between time with their children versus continuing on their career path.

The challenges described above can provide some historical context into why gender diversity in Tech still remains a problem. These are just a small number of challenges that can detract women and girls from entering STEM fields of study, in order to enter the tech workforce in the first place. Some of these challenges might also contribute to women leaving the technology industry altogether.

Why does it matter?

Diversity is critically important in driving innovation. Having different perspectives and experiences is a key force in coming up with new ideas. Studies have shown that being with similar others leads us to think that we all hold the same information and share the same perspective, thus coming up with flat and shallow solutions. Research also shows that when we hear dissent from someone who is different from us, it provokes more thought than when it comes from someone who looks like us. Data and studies show that effective collaboration and creativity require a degree of agitation in order to be truly innovative; this is how diversity can contribute to new ideas.

Diversity is good for business. A uniform or homogeneous workforce can also limit the identification of market opportunities. Understanding consumer behaviour and design thinking are driving how products are made. Without diversity, many firms risk ignoring women’s perspectives when designing new software, online experiences, and products. For example, in the gaming industry in particular, a recent study shows that while only 22% of the video game industry is female, the gender split in playing video games is 45% female.

Additionally, according to the Anita Borg Institute, high performing companies have women in senior leadership positions. “Fortune 500 companies with at least three female directors have seen their return on invested capital increase by at least 66%, return on sales increase by 42%, and return on equity increase by at least 53%.”

What can we do?

Women have been trying for decades to give voice and address some of the challenges described above. Many technology companies continue to address these concerns and put into place policies that attempt to eliminate biases in hiring, salary, and workplace harassment.

Here are some things the tech industry could do more of:

Address the knowledge gap early

Companies like Left sponsor STEM coding camps and Girls Tech Hour of Code events to introduce coding and technology to girls early in life. This type of event can help girls by dispelling gender biases about technology and providing a level of comfort around innovative tools such as Virtual Reality headsets, open source code, and 3D printers.

Commitment by those in Leadership

Corporate Leaders can commit to gender equality and representation on all levels of their businesses. By setting Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) as part of their formal objectives and planning, company leaders can set hiring targets to ensure women are equally represented in all areas — the Board of Advisors, Board of Directors, Engineering, Project Management, Product Design, QA, etc. Once onboard, companies can also invest in growing future diverse managers and leads by providing coaching, training programs, and promoting from within.

Executives should ensure their companies remove gender bias from their recruiting and hiring practices and pay scales. They can learn how to hire more women by understanding how other firms have done it. An example is “How Slack Got Ahead in Diversity”.

In order to retain talent, Managers should also ask women directly about what types of support they need in the form of policies or networks. For example, provide opportunities for women to build mentorship relationships with members of the Executive layer, which can help with women’s career advocacy. They can also create policies around remote and flexible work hours in order to empower women with challenging and unpredictable schedules.

The technology industry must embrace the concept that diversity enables innovation, and take concrete steps to hire more women, or they will fall behind in the business of new ideas.

Learn how to participate and support Women in Tech communities here:






About Joanne Lott:

Joanne’s career started in the Technology industry in 1998. Since then, she has worked for small internet start-ups, one large publicly traded corporation, and a couple medium-sized technology companies. In 2012, she put her career on pause to raise her children, and completed her MBA part-time. After a 5 year absence from the workforce, she is now the Manager of Operations and Business Development at Left Travel. She has two daughters.

Left Community Engagement Program 2018

Left’s Community Engagement Program, which includes unlimited paid time off to volunteer, is one that has created an identity for Left and the amazing people who are involved.

Last year, our team of 45 employees in BC volunteered an incredible, 1745.75 hours — that’s an average of 38.79 hours per employee!

Our program consists of three pillars: unlimited individual community days, quarterly commitments, and 101% participation. Read on for a recap of 2018 and the elements of our award winning community engagement program.

Individual Community Days

Not only does Left provide unlimited paid time off for Lefties to volunteer, but our Co-Founders actually thank

employees when they leave the office to do so! These volunteer initiatives look different for every Lefty as we let our staff define their own communities. The only ask is that hours are recorded and a picture is taken to share with the team to inspire them to get out and do the same.


Some of the amazing initiatives that our Lefties volunteered for in 2018 include: the SPCA, TedX, Immigration Services Canada, Womens Collaborative Hub, ACM, the Poco Grand Prix, the YWCA, Crisis Line, Coquitlam Adopt a Street Program, VOKRA, and many more.

Quarterly Commitments:

Four times a year we have company wide volunteer days. The initiatives are selected by our Culture Club.

2018 Initiatives included:

  • Highway and Park Clean Up: In the summer, our team cleaned up our local highway and park. Highways and parks are a big part of our community that often gets neglected, and we wanted to take the time to show them the respect they deserve.

  • Ronald McDonald House:
    In September, a large group of Lefties spent time grocery shopping and preparing a meal for 200 individuals staying at the Ronald McDonald House in Vancouver.
  • Hour of Code: We welcomed 100 children from grades 2–7 to our office for an Hour of Code, a global movement dedicated to expanding access to computer science in schools and increasing participation of women and underrepresented minorities. Students toured the office, participated in hands-on tutorials, learned about diverse careers in tech, and played with an oculus rift, robots, and 3D-printers. To address the gender diversity gap in computer science, a girls-only session was also held.
  • Maple Ridge Christmas Hamper Society:
    Each year, we sponsor a family with a hamper that we personally deliver.

101% Commitment

Our community engagement program is employee led — supported by our families and Left– this is the extra 1%.

As a team of 45 in Maple Ridge, our Lefties have each volunteered a considerable amount of their time in 2018. We are so proud of the impact our Lefties have had in our communities, and we are looking forward to seeing what they will do in 2019 as our Left family continues to grow.

Stay in Touch

To stay up to date with Left, please join our social channels:

Left Makes Coding Fun for Boys and Girls in Maple Ridge by Hosting ‘Hour of Code’

Maple Ridge, BC –November 2, 2018 — Left, one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers, invited local students from Maple Ridge, Langley and Pitt Meadows in grades 2–7 to their office for an ‘Hour of Code’ that included hands-on fun to spark a passion for computer science and demystify coding. Students toured the office, participated in hands-on tutorials, learned about diverse careers in tech, and played with an oculus rift, robots, and 3D-printers. To address the gender diversity gap in computer science, a girls-only session will also be held.

Hour of Code is a global movement introducing tens of millions of students worldwide to computer science, inspiring kids to learn more, breaking stereotypes, and leaving them feeling empowered. This is the 3rd year Left has volunteered to host the event at their office.

Hour of Code events are held in conjunction with Computer Science Education Week (CSEDWeek), an annual program dedicated to encouraging K-12 students to take interest in computer science. Computer science is changing the landscape of work with computing occupations one of the fastest-growing, best paying, and largest sectors of all new wages.

Left decided to host a girls-only session this year as, although CSEDWeek is held in recognition of computing pioneer Admiral Grace Murray Hopper, females are grossly underrepresented in computer science careers. In high schools, fewer than 25% of Computer Science students are girls. The Hour of Code initiative has been so successful in introducing girls to this computer science that just in the first Hour of Code, four years ago, more girls tried computer science than had tried in the last 70 years!

“As a tech company, we know how hard it is to achieve gender diversity in this field,” said Saju Abraham, Chief Product Officer at Left. “We want to help change that by inspiring girls to take an interest in computer science from a young age. It’s shocking that in a room of 25 computer professionals today, only 3 will be women.”

“This is the third year we’ve hosted local students here for Hour of Code,” Abraham added. “All our employees chip in and get really excited about empowering the next generation through sharing their passion. As a company, we’re known for our extensive community volunteer initiatives, but this event is hands-down our favourite event of the year. The feedback and excitement from the kids is priceless.”



We are Left, and we do things right. Officially one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers, we are on a mission to use technology to solve some of the world’s biggest problems. The biggest problem we have identified is connectivity. We believe that if the world could rethink connectivity, we could improve health outcomes, impact education, and lift hundreds of millions out of poverty. To solve this problem, we are developing RightMesh, a mobile mesh networking platform and protocol that uses technologies inherent in mobile devices around the world (Wi-Fi-, Wi-Fi Direct, and Bluetooth) to provide last mile connectivity where existing infrastructure cannot service or meet demand. Individuals are incentivized to share data through financial compensation afforded by blockchain and cryptocurrency technologies (RMESH). We are also experts in A.I., big data, machine learning and predictive analysis for the travel industry. Focusing on the ‘Right’ traffic, our subsidiary, Left Travel, drives $450 million in gross travel bookings annually. Left is listed number 16 on Deloitte’s Fast 50 list for Canada and number 101 in North America on the Fast 500 list.



The Hour of Code started as a one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to demystify “code”, to show that anybody can learn the basics, and to broaden participation in the field of computer science. It has since become a worldwide effort to celebrate computer science, starting with 1-hour coding activities but expanding to all sorts of community efforts. This grassroots campaign is supported by over 400 partners and 200,000 educators worldwide. The Hour of Code takes place each year during Computer Science Education Week.

Press Contact

Dana Harvey
CCO, Left

Legendary Lefties: January 2018

Us Lefties live and breathe our 10 core values that have guided the business and its culture from the very beginning. They are the foundation of our Left and RightMesh teams and we are proud to incorporate them into everything we do. These values are the same in all our offices and unite us as an organization.
The Legendary Lefty program was put in place as a way for Lefties to nominate their peers when they see them demonstrating our core values. Every month at each of our offices, one ‘Legendary Lefty’ is chosen from our wall of peer nominations! They win the following coveted prizes:

  • The Legendary Lefty Parking Spot
  • Spinning the Wheel of Death Destiny
  • Legendary Lefty Trophy
  • Light-Saber for a Month

This month we are proud to recognize Aldrin from our Maple Ridge office and Borhan from our Bangladesh office who have both gone above and beyond!
Image uploaded from iOS

Hour of Code: Inspiring Children by Inspired Lefties

We always speak of the importance of our core values here at Left, and not that I play favourites, but “Make a Difference in Your Community” is one of my personal favourites. The internal satisfaction and gratitude you get when you have an impact on others are undeniable. Particularly with kids. There is something about their excitability that has a lasting impact. Knowing that the little things that we so often take for granted are genuinely shaping the minds of the youth is incredible.
Inspired by this, last Thursday we opened our doors to the community and had 4 classes (100+ kids in grades 4,5,6) come in and learn about what it is like to work in tech and talk about how "work can be fun if you are following your dreams and passions". We spent an hour and a half with each class doing some Scratch coding lessons, innovative demonstrations (play time with geeky toys), and a tour of the office. By the end, I think we were all inspired by the questions and excitement from the kids. Sure, we were exhausted by the end (kudos to all the teachers out there), but also extremely rewarded. When we were asking the kids some of their dreams and getting responses such as, “make a robot”, “create a game using virtual reality” or “own a company like this”, it was a good reminder that this is an amazing opportunity to have a positive influence. Of course, this was after the kids spent time playing with our geeky things that our team has passions for: Oculus, Robots, Raspberry Pi hacks, 3D printing, and Drawing.
It’s important that we share with our youth the endless possibilities that are in front of them. Sharing that Jenna is the amazing artist who not only created our huge chalk mural but also draws the characters in our app was inspiring to the artists in the group. Highlighting that tech isn’t just about coding and developing was a way for us inspire kids who didn’t think they would work in a tech company.
Believing in the incredible is another one of our core values at Left and it was truly incredible to share our passions and knowledge with the brilliant kids of the future. With some of their questions and ideas, I was ready to hand out application forms. Hopefully, they won’t forget about us once they’re all grown up and become smarter than all of us!
Computer Science Education week starts on December 5th and within that is an Hour of Code event that you can read more about here. We kicked it off a little early with our office tour, but we usually try to do things a little differently. You might also see our Lefties out volunteering at other schools for more Hour of Code fun this week. If so, don’t be shy and ask them what their favourite part of the day was!
To see some of the action, check out our video here.
BeFunky Collage

Innovating More Than Just Technology at The Canadian HR Awards

Left at the Canadian HR Awards

Now before we get started, I know what you might be thinking, ‘I thought Left didn’t do the HR thing?"

You’re right... well sort of!  As with most things we do, we challenged the status quo and went with Employee Experience instead of HR. This speaks to who we are as a company, a community member, family and friends. It may only be one role in the company -- our Employee Experience Manager -- but the whole team truly takes part in making our culture what it is today. So with that being said, not only do we do the "HR thing sort of", but we were finalists at the Canadian HR Awards that were just held last week in Toronto on September 15th. Lucky me, I was whisked across the country to get all spiffed up and show off Lefty Pride. You see, we were actually up for two awards this year:

The Venngo Award for Excellence for Financial, Physical and Mental Wellness and The Ultimate Software Award for Best Workplace Culture. Both of these awards emphasize how our best-practices are making a difference in the lives of our employees both at work and in their personal lives.

For the most part, we are stereotypical modest Canadians that don't like to brag; however, when you take the time to reflect it becomes clear that we don't give ourselves enough credit. Our traditions and initiatives are not only unique and innovative, but they also go above and beyond standard HR practice. It is a rewarding task to reflect on the aspects of our day-to-day culture that make us who we are and share those with people on the outside.

Between The Dream Program, our award winning Community Engagement Program, or our use of real-time measurement of Employee Engagement (which currently sits at 9.1/10), we are constantly adapting our practices to keep our Lefties having fun at work. I recall a student asking two of our Lefties, "What is it about Left that you love" and the responses were similar in that they both talked about it being like a playground. Left is a place where people can work on things they are passionate about with the freedom to explore new things. To me, this was a priceless response.

When I entered the field of HR, everyone scrunched their nose up and said, "nobody likes those people". From then on, my dream has been to work for a company where I can be part of changing that fundamental belief. That's exactly what we are doing at Left by ensuring the employee experience is the best it can be. Our people are the core of everything we do, and we work hard to make them feel valued. Win or lose, these awards were an opportunity for us to mingle with other change makers who are setting the standard of putting people first in their business.

In the end, we didn’t triumph this time around. And while we do want to send out big congratulations to the winners, we also wanted to give a shout out to all Canadian companies who were nominated for these prestigious awards. Every nominee, win or lose, is shaping the future of how employment experiences ought to be. 

Melissa Quinn
Employee Experience Manager at LEFT

PS… A few weeks ago, the awards committee sent out a film crew to get some interviews with our founders. And while we may not have won the awards that night, I think we may have won the best video of the night award [if that was a real category]. In typical Leftie fashion, we had a little bit of fun with it. And for your enjoyment, here it is:

Left wins 2016 Tech Impact Award for Community Engagement

So we woke up this morning as the repeat winner in the Community Engagement category for the 2016 BC Tech Association’s TIA awards. And while the wine was flowing in celebration afterwards, less than 8 hours later it was back to ‘business as usual’… though our Wednesday morning ‘usual’ is hardly that as we start each Wednesday with an early morning cardio bootcamp for the team at a local fitness club.
In the office, there were some high fives that spread around the room with those who could not make the gala, and a quick passing of the heavy-as-brick trophy from person to person (with a few carrying it aloft like Lord Stanley’s cup).  But the celebration quickly abated before our Lefties settled into their daily routines.  Everyone had work that needed doing.
As the day progressed, and while the mood remained positive (it almost always is), I started to reflect on the previous night's gala and the next-day energy of the team. Yes, there were a few guffaws about having to get a bigger (and reinforced) shelf to hold this latest embodiment of success. But honestly, I noticed a distinct almost ho-hum nature to the team today.  You see, between the win last night, last year’s win in the same category, our Best Workplace win from a few months ago from Small Business BC, and the Business of the Year award from the Maple Ridge Chamber, we have kind of become used to having this winning feeling.
Now, before it sounds too much like I am bragging by citing these accomplishments (and the team's somewhat laissez faire attitude to this success), I need to qualify this with a very humble… we are so very honoured to be recognized by our Community and our peers with each and every award. And it is hard to brag or be arrogant about this success when we are genuinely shocked each time we hear our name called out (especially given the calibre of the companies we were up against with VictorySquare and Traction on Demand -- both excellent and admirable companies).
However, I don’t think our team actually realizes the magnitude of what they just accomplished. They just showed us something incredible, a word that carries a lot of weight around these parts.

A few Lefties after winning the 2016 TIA for Community Engagement Award.
A few Lefties posing with that winning feeling

A bit more  background for those unfamiliar with the BC Tech Association and the Community Engagement Award that we were just blessed with:

“Founded in 1994 by the BCTIA, the Technology Impact Awards (TIAs) celebrate the successes of our industry and the companies, people and innovation that continue to put British Columbia on the map....[The Community Engagement] award recognizes a company that embraces corporate social responsibility. By engaging their employees, winners of this award are focused on building a corporate culture that has a positive impact on the community in which they live, work, and play.”

This particular accolade was first introduced in 2010, replacing the Leader in Sustainable Technology category, which was awarded at the gala event for the 10 years prior to that. Past winners (of both awards) include a veritable who’s who of successful BC Technology companies, including: TELUS, IBM, Business Objects (SAP), Sierra Wireless, Global Relay, Traction on Demand, AbeBooks, Westport Innovations, and several other notable names.
But last night, our little experiment in doing the right things right, saw little old LEFT become not just the first back-to-back winner, but also the first two-time winner… something that all those other iconic BC companies never achieved. Incredible indeed.
While I won’t go into detail in this post about what we do that makes our Community Engagement program award winning (that is covered quite extensively in this article here), I do need to highlight just one thing that I think makes us special and somewhat unique. You see, our community engagement program is embedded into the very DNA of our team. It is what makes each Lefty do what they do. As a company, we are all aligned to our 10 core values and we are driven to make our mark in the world, a mark that starts by impacting things at home in our province, in our cities, and in our neighbourhoods. This is our Community, and we could not be more proud of it.
Thanks again for the privilege of being the 2016 TIA recipient of the BC Tech Association’s Community Impact award.
We are truly honoured.

The Spirit of BC Tech – What is it and why you should vote.

On Thursday night we learned that Left had been named a 2016 TIA Finalist in the category of Community Engagement. This is the same award that we were so humbled to win last year, the criteria for which states:

“This award recognizes a company that embraces corporate social responsibility. By engaging their employees, winners of this award are focused on building a corporate culture that has a positive impact on the community in which they live, work, and play.”

For those of you who know Chris or myself (or for that matter, for those who know any of the proud Lefties that give up their time to get involved in our Community, and make Left the Best Workplace in BC), you know that Community is at the heart of both ‘what’ we do and ‘why’ we do what we do.
However, this blog post is not about that nomination or our Community Engagement program. It is about another BCTIA nomination announced the same night, where all Tech Impact Award finalists are eligible for a People’s Choice Award’ to be awarded the night of the BCTIA Gala on June 7, 2016.
This is called the Spirit of BC Tech award, and yes, we want to win… but this one is actually bigger than us.

Click here to vote for the Spirit of BC Tech

A few years ago, I went to the BCTIA Gala banquet as a guest of the Maple Ridge Economic Development department whom had sponsored one of the tables for ‘Tomorrow’s Tech Titans’.
I must admit, my first thought was, “Hey that’s cool, they think that we are one of tomorrow’s tech titans!” But then I learned that I was invited because they wanted me to advise a few of those that were actually tomorrow’s tech titans. Apparently, we had already achieved the level of success that would classify Left as a tech titan for today.
[Editor’s note: Coincidentally, one of tomorrow’s titans that I sat with was Jane Chung from Perked.co. We are now a beta customer of their Culture Intelligence Platform and I would encourage everyone to check it out.]
At the gala, however, I started to talk with a lot of the other students in attendance and other young tech entrepreneurs. I shared stories from both our company’s history as well as my own personal journey through BC’s tech scene. I talked about how we started, where we received our first angel funding, how we dealt with failure, how we built our team, what was working well (and what wasn’t), and probably most prophetic … I talked about the 10 Core Values that we had built our company around, our value of Community, and how important Our Values were in building a company that could be proud of.
Earlier this year, the province announced a multi-year #BCTECH strategy that involved, $100M BC Tech Fund for investment, grants for training employees, and perhaps most importantly, several programs focused on youth tech education. And while a lot of the debate post announcement focused on implementation details, I believe many missed the underlying tone of the strategy and the plan.
The BC of tomorrow will have technology at its core. I believe that every job will be a tech job or will require those employed to have a technical competency: from reading GIS in forestry, to operating diagnostic equipment in healthcare, to drone maintenance in agriculture, to inventing new wireless mesh technologies (as we are doing), and so on and so on. And likewise, the tech job of the future is not limited to the engineer, the programmer, or the researcher. The tech job of the future is for anyone interested in business, finance, marketing, project management, logistics, or customer support. These roles are just as important to creating a sustainable tech ecosystem as the engineer or application specialist.
When I was in high school back in the 80’s in small-town northern BC, my high school guidance counselor questioned my decision to pursue post-secondary education with the rhetorical question of, “Why would you ever want to go to university, when you already have a great job in the sawmill?!?
My personal journey saw me go on to UBC for what I thought was going to be a pursuit of Law, but within a few years after graduation with a Bachelors of Arts, I had landed my first job in tech working in an entry-level marketing position with Prologic (Richmond, circa 1997, which became Fincentric). Fast forward a few years and I was working in this new field called ‘E-business’ and was fascinated by this new ‘Internet’ thing that I had a feeling was here to stick. And now, another 15+ years after that, here we are working to create brand new communication protocols that can connect the next billion in off-grid, decentralized mesh connectivity using affordable smart devices – concepts that were unfathomable just a few years ago let alone 25 years back.
I guess I could forgive that guidance counselor for not suggesting a career in technology as the world in which he was advising tomorrow’s titans, looked nothing like the world in which we live today.
The ‘Spirit of BC Tech’, thus is not just a popularity contest for those who are already active players in technology, it is a clarion call for all parents or grandparents to get informed about a few of the technology companies that are spread across this wonderful province. And while it is possible that your children or grandchildren may find themselves working in companies like this year’s finalists, it is just as likely that they will be working with a technology that has not yet been invented.
Click here to vote for the Spirit of BC Tech  and share this post with others across the province too. Together, we can make BC soar.
[Editor’s Note: After being informed that Left was eligible for this BCTIA People’s Choice Award, I went in search of the decision criteria, and more importantly, I wanted to read the stories about each of the finalists, hoping to make an informed decision about who to vote for … OK, who am I kidding, I voted for ourselves.
However, for your convenience, here is a quick matrix of the 2016 BCTIA Finalists that can be considered for the Spirit of BC Award. The lone criteria is simply which company gets the most votes. However, I would recommend you considering the mission and values of the BCTIA, which is guided by their vision, "To make BC the best place to grow a tech company, supported by the core values: Be of Service, Succeed Together, and Pay it Forward."
The descriptions below are copied directly from their listed BCTIA description, the finalists' own websites, or other public sources.]

Company & City URL Description
Allocadia (Vancouver) http://www.allocadia.com/ Allocadia is cloud software for Marketing Operations that helps marketing teams manage their marketing investment planning, budgeting and marketing ROI. Enterprises see immediate financial benefits by re-allocating marketing budgets to the highest-performing campaigns. Customers include F5 Networks, VMWare, Juniper Networks, Stepstone and Trimble.
Aspect Biosystems (Vancouver) http://aspectbiosystems.com/ Aspect Biosystems has developed a 3D bioprinting platform and human cell culture technology capable of creating living human tissues on demand. We have a long-term vision to expand beyond drug development by creating human tissues on demand for broad applications in personalized medicine, organ transplantation, cellular and molecular biology, and the development of safe cosmetics and personal care products.
Bit Stew Systems (Burnaby) http://www.bitstew.com/ Purpose-built for the Industrial Internet, Bit Stew’s MIx Core™ Platform automates data ingestion, applies machine intelligence to learn patterns in the data, allowing industrial companies to discover actionable insights that optimize operational performance. In 2015, Bit Stew was named to Greentech Media’s Grid Edge 20 list, as one of the top 20 innovators architecting the future of the electric power industry, and was ranked as one of the Top 100 Analytics Companies and Top 100 IoT Startups by Forbes Magazine. Incorporated in 2009, Bit Stew is a venture-backed private company that is headquartered in Canada with offices in the USA, Australia and Europe.
Buyatab Online Inc. (Vancouver) https://www.buyatab.com/ Buyatab is a leading supplier of advanced eGift Card online infrastructure and marketing services for medium- and large-sized businesses. With clients in the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia, Buyatab provides eGift Card services to merchants in a wide variety of sectors, including retail, hospitality, restaurant, shopping, hotels and others.
Buyatab is recognized for its solution and design flexibility, focus on merchant brand standards, high quality customer support and fraud protection guarantee. As a result, merchant clients are able to grow their gift card business, enhance their brand, gain a competitive edge, and leverage the rapid growth in mobile device usage and social media.
Clio (Burnaby) https://www.goclio.com/ Clio is a cloud-based legal practice management platform that lets you access your all-important matters, contacts and documents anywhere. If you already use other popular cloud services like Dropbox or Google Apps, Clio will make you smile by tying them together in a single, easy-to-use system. With dozens of features like terrific time-tracking, comprehensive calendaring, and beautiful billing, Clio will save you time, make you money, and help you look polished and professional to your clients.
Copperleaf Technologies Inc. (Burnaby) http://www.copperleaf.com Copperleaf Technologies is a dynamic and growing company offering an exciting work environment. Copperleaf provides Asset Investment Planning solutions and technology that improve the performance of energy companies and utilities. Our solutions allow our clients to re-think their approach to life-cycle asset planning and budgeting by integrating planning, analysis, approval, and execution. Our goal is to help our clients make asset investment decisions that are effective, transparent, and focused on long-term performance, thereby earning the confidence of shareholders, partners, ratepayers and regulators.
EDP Software (Vancouver) http://www.edpsoftware.com/ EDP Software is engaged primarily in the consulting, research and development of computer based information systems and software. Our emphasis is on SchedulePro, a sophisticated and easy to use web based employee scheduling software service. SchedulePro automates employee scheduling while adhering to labor laws, safety regulations, and union agreements where applicable.
Freightera Logistics Inc. (Vancouver) http://www.freightera.com/ Freightera offers cloud-based B2B online freight marketplace with 100s of reliable LTL & truckload carriers, where you can search and compare instant all-inclusive freight quotes & book shipments online 24/7.
Our vision is to offer you a better way to ship freight, the best way, transparent, best priced and stress-free shipping. That's how FREIGHTERA was created, a 5-star B2B freight service now trusted by over 1,700 manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors and other businesses shipping freight in Canada, the US, and Canada-US cross-border.
Global Relay (Vancouver) https://www.globalrelay.com/ Founded in 1999, Global Relay is the expert in Compliance Messaging Solutions — including Compliance Archiving, eDiscovery, Mobile Messaging and Collaboration. Global Relay Archive securely captures and preserves email, instant messaging (AOL, MSN, Yahoo!, GoogleTalk), BlackBerry, Bloomberg, Thomson Reuters, Pivot, YellowJacket, social media (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook) and more. Users have easy access to messages via Global Relay Search for BlackBerry, iPhone, Outlook and web. Global Relay Message, delivered via cloud computing, provides businesses with the tools to communicate and collaborate while staying compliant — anytime, anywhere. Global Relay’s 15,000 customers include broker-dealers, hedge funds, investment advisors and public companies, as well as 22 of the world’s top 25 banks and two public exchanges. Global Relay delivers services in 90 countries and has strategic partnerships worldwide, including a global Strategic Partnership with Thomson Reuters for compliance archiving.
InvestX Capital Ltd. (Vancouver) https://www.investx.com At InvestX Capital Ltd. and InvestX Financial (Canada) Ltd. (collectively "InvestX"), we believe that the largest changes in our lifetime are currently emerging in the financial markets.
These changes began in the fall of 2013. On September 23rd, an 80-year-old US securities law was finally lifted, with the creation of Title II of the JOBS Act. For the first time, Title II allows private companies to raise capital (known as “private equity”) over the internet.
But these regulatory changes aren’t just happening in the U.S. They are also happening in Canada and more than 20 other countries globally, creating a massive disruption in the way capital is invested by retail investors.
At InvestX, we see these changes as an opportunity for all investors to finally gain access to private equity - an investment that has historically outperformed any other asset class.
Left (Maple Ridge) http://www.left.io Established in 2010, Left (formerly Left of the Dot Media) is a Canadian-based multinational media and technology company with holdings in mobile and Internet-based businesses.
A few of our most well-known and innovative brands include:YO!™ and Stays™. YO! is an award-winning app and platform that provides free and fast off-grid, mesh connectivity to emerging markets. Stays is a portfolio of best-in-class travel and vacation rental brands powered by cutting edge marketing and technology.
OpenRoad Communications (Vancouver) https://www.openroad.ca For over 19 years OpenRoad has enabled organizations and brands to create, demonstrate, and deliver value online and beyond. We’ve combined the creativity of a design agency with the ingenuity of a software development firm to make new experiences possible, thanks to complete end-to-end capabilities that include strategy, design, development, and maintenance. Please visit our website for more information.
RESAAS Services Inc. (Vancouver) https://www.resaas.com/ RESAAS is a social and global referral network for licensed real estate agents, REALTORS®, brokers, franchises and associations. RESAAS is designed to help you connect with other professionals from around the world, engage in discussion, exchange referrals, and obtain leads. You can also upload listings, market your brand and increase your online exposure by synchronizing RESAAS with Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, automatically converting your posts into marketable content available on various social networks.
ResponseTek http://www.responsetek.com/ Recognized as a 2014 Top Small & Medium Employer in Canada, ResponseTek is the leader in enterprise customer experience management software solutions. World market leaders in finance, telecommunications and retail – including 14 of the world’s top telcos, and Bloomberg’s top ranked bank – trust ResponseTek to drive millions of customer interactions every week. The ResponseTek Listening Platform™ eliminates silos of information by integrating customer experience data and reporting throughout the entire organization to improve customer satisfaction. Founded in 1999, ResponseTek is headquartered in Vancouver, Canada and operates in over 30 countries throughout North America, Europe and Asia.
Ronin8 Technologies Ltd. (Richmond) http://ronin8.com/ At Ronin8, we are a diverse, global team of experts, drawn from different industries that would normally not intersect. Based in Canada, we are driven to leaving a positive legacy through leading global standards in e-waste recycling by recovering and re-using 100% of the materials contained in electronics while quantifying the real impact of our actions. We are solutions providers. We consistently seek out new ideas and technology to ensure we leave a positive legacy for future generations. We enable our strategic partners to participate in a beyond-closed-loop economy, driving their brand value, and increasing their relevance and profitability for the long term.
Rx Networks (Vancouver) http://rxnetworks.com/ Founded in 2005, Rx Networks is a private mobile positioning technology and services company headquartered in Vancouver, Canada. We develop mobile software and deliver data services designed to accelerate the location performance of any GPS-enabled device. Rx Networks focuses on the fast growing Location-Based-Services (LBS) market, specifically to the GPS-enabled mobile phones and personal navigation devices sectors. Conceived and developed to yield a Click n Go GPS user experience, our GPS solutions help dramatically speed up initial GPS location acquisition times, reduce battery power consumption and improve performance in limited satellite signal strength conditions. Working with NASA/Jet Propulsion Labs, our GPStream framework of real-time and synthetic Assisted-GPS (AGPS) reference and assistance data solutions are licensed, endorsed and/or deployed by global mobile operators, major network equipment vendors and a growing number of GPS chipset manufacturers, such as Nokia Siemens Networks, Qualcomm, Ericsson, NEC, ST Microlectronics and Atheros
Traction on Demand (Burnaby) http://tractionondemand.com/ Traction is a consulting and cloud software development firm with unparalleled expertise in Salesforce.com implementations (customer relationship management system), data quality, marketing automation and force.com development. Our ultimate goal is to streamline business process by bending cloud based technology around business users. Our enemy is redundancy. The results: reduce barriers to success and ultimately increase our customers’ bottom line through sales, marketing and operational alignment.
Trulioo (Vancouver) http://www.trulioo.com/ Trulioo is a global ID verification company that provides advanced analytics from cyber and traditional data sources to verify online identities. The company’s mission is to solve global problems associated with verifying identities online by powering fraud and compliance systems for hundreds of clients worldwide. Founded in 2011, Trulioo is a U.S. venture backed Canadian technology company headquartered in Vancouver, B.C. and recent winner of Deloitte’s Fast 50 Companies-to-Watch and one of Canada’s Top 20 Tech Startups
Victory Square Labs (Vancouver) http://www.victorysquare.com/ Victory Square Ventures provides decades of management expertise, deep distribution networks and in-depth deployment knowledge to help startups scale globally. We exist to help entrepreneurs create lasting value for the world. In addition to operating a venture fund, Victory Square runs Launch Academy. Since 2012, Launch Academy has led the effort to help over 350 early-stage startups to get off the ground. To this date, they've collectively raised over 80 million and created more than 650 jobs for Vancouver's economy.
Visualping https://visualping.io/ VisualPing is a website change monitoring tool with 300,000 registered users and growing by 6,000 new customers/month driven mostly by Google search. We are growing 37% clip month on month and achieving $20k MRR by YE.
Visualping is unique as is the easiest and most convenient way to visually track changes to websites and we have proven that our customers are willing to pay for superior UX and UI.
It is being used for job, apartment, deal, price hunting, event and product availability, procurement and request for proposals, hurricane alerts, parcel tracking and competitive monitoring.
Our customers use our platform for personal and professional reasons in almost in every country around the word (except 3 Saharan countries) and paying users are from over 30 countries.
We targeting a million users by year end. Some of our current customers include: Google, Citigroup, Apple, Uber, Mail Chimp, Ford, Unilever, Nike, The Wall Street Journal, Expedia, Amazon, Dell, Staples, Target etc.
Watergenics Inc. (Vancouver) http://watergenicssolutions.com/ WATERGENICS Inc. is a Canadian-based private company
that holds the exclusive worldwide license to the patent-pending Hybrid Atmospheric Water Generator (HAWGen), an atmospheric water generation technology invented in the Laboratory for Alternative Energy Conversion at Simon Fraser University (Surrey, British Columbia). The Company is positioned to introduce the next generation of atmospheric water generation technology and products in both custom-engineered systems and proprietary standard off-the-shelf solutions.