A Great Time to Be in B.C. Tech
A local founder and angel investor on what it takes to succeed in today’s tech world, the hunt for the “diamond in the rough” and his new Growth Hacks white paper
Brandon Roe founded his first tech company in 1999 and has received national press for his ventures. He is a programmer by trade, and is skilled in marketing, sales and raising capital. More recently, he’s added “angel investor” to his resume, specializing in webbased B2B software firms.
What got you into tech?
When I was a child, my dad took me to hobby computer clubs. It was a place for computer enthusiasts to learn more about personal computing, swap programs on 5.25" floppy disks and talk shop. I took to the whole thing like a fish to water, so much so that by the time I started learning to code at the age of 12, I had no trouble working with the guts of a system on both the hardware and OS side of things. It was a natural fit to make that my career.
To what do you attribute your success?
I was lucky enough to have successful people show me the way. My first mentor was David Chalk, one of B.C.’S most wellknown tech entrepreneurs and a real pioneer in the field. I still use what he taught me nearly two decades later.
What do you like best about the B.C. tech scene?
There’s so much life! After the tech bubble burst in 2000, we went through a really dark time here. But now, there is just so much support—formally through groups like Techbc as well as plenty of informal support. Even the BDC is funding projects nowadays!
What's the biggest challenge to the B.C. tech scene?
The talent shortage and high cost of living are clearly big issues.
Funding is too. Capital support is still quite limited here, relative to the number of good firms. Some of these companies simply won’t get the cash they need to thrive. And that costs all of us in terms of lost opportunity.
What do you look for as an angel investor?
I look for the proverbial diamonds in the rough—founders who have an interesting technology in a market that’s growing fast. They don’t need to be “businesspeople” in the traditional sense—they just need to be really good at delivering what they say they’re going to deliver.
We can help such firms get to the next level using a mix of various growth hacks and some good old-fashioned fundamentals. I cover that in my newest white paper, Growth Hacks for B2B Tech Firms.
Any niche(s) you really like?
I don’t really have any favourites, but I do especially well with web-based B2B software because I understand both the technical and marketing side of things better than most.
“I was lucky enough to have successful people show me the way”