Whether you’re sitting in a session, networking over lunch, or letting loose at post-event party, business happens around the clock at the #BCTECHSummit – and that’s why Randall Lucas keeps coming back.
Randall Lucas, Principal of Cascadia’s Voyager Capital, has been attending the #BCTECHSummit for 3 years. The venture capital firm, which recently expanded to Vancouver, helps product-centric founding teams hone their go-to-market focus, as well as venture financing acceleration.
Lucas sees the #BCTECHSummit as a meeting place for everyone, from early-stage startups, to founders seeking funding, to existing companies ready to expand. Though the Summit is filled with impactful keynotes and inspiring sessions, real networking happens in the most unexpected places in and around the event. For Lucas, those places were at a karaoke bar, over breakfast, and aboard Geeks on a Train. “Nothing enforces fellowship-building like 4 hours in a metal box with 30 or so new friends.”
Geeks on a Train is an event all-to-itself. Cruise from downtown Seattle to Vancouver with fellow founders, investors and tech leaders as you get ready for three tech-filled days at #BCTECHSummit. The private Amtrak train car has wifi, but Geeks will be far too busy networking and learning new card games to bother checking their email. On route, Randall had the opportunity to rub elbows with all levels of the Cascadia tech sector, “from a pre-incorporation solo founder weighing when and how to jump ship from his employer to start a company, to bankers hinting at leads on deal flow, to mature company execs.” Everyone was aboard and having a great time.
Once at #BCTECHSummit, in between sessions, speakers and meetings, Lucas had the chance to sit down with B.C.’s Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology, the Honourable Bruce Ralston. “I think the province is very well-served by the Minister’s efforts”, he said, remarking on the talent and drive of the local tech community. “Policy support through things like the #BCTECHSummit and the collaborative outreach to the greater Cascadia has been very helpful to making B.C. an attractive focus for venture investment.”
As an entrepreneur and investor in analytics software and fintech since 2001, Lucas has a vested interest in a thriving Cascadia partnership. Attending previous #BCTECHSummits helped drive Voyager Capital’s decision to make Vancouver a key part of their geographic strategy. Recently, the company hired Vancouver’s Meredith Powell as their new Vancouver-based venture partner.
“Voyager Capital’s success recipe has worked very well in Washington and Oregon. When we decided to apply that recipe in Vancouver…we needed someone with that shared mindset,” Randall said of Powell’s recent hire. With decades of expertise in startup growth, Powell was a great addition to Voyager Capital. She also was a key member of the #BCTECHSummit Investment Showcase selection committee, where she reviewed hundreds of applications and helped choose the best startup companies in B.C. to pitch in front of a room full of international investors.
With less than a month left until #BCTECHSummit, Lucas, along with dozens of other Cascadia tech-enthusiasts, is getting ready to pack his bags and squeeze onto the Geeks on a Train. With a #BCTECHSummit ticket in-hand, he is most excited to return to Vancouver to find and fund B.C.’s next billion-dollar tech company, “which might happen in a railroad car or might happen in the hallway of the conference center”, he mused.
If you meet Lucas on Geeks on a Train, be sure to ask him a) about his new favourite card game, Guts, which he learned on route to the last Summit, b) where the post-conference karaoke party is happening, and c) how to grow your startup (not necessarily in that order).
#BCTECHSummit is happening at the Vancouver Convention Centre, March 11-13. Save $400 on tickets with promo code BCTECH19-INDUSTRY. The 2019 Geeks on a Train is free. To register, visit the event listing.