B.C.’s Okanagan incubator atmosphere for new technology startups is spurring work for the legal sector as support ranges from incorporations and patents to multi-million-dollar transactions. According to a local 2016 study, the technology sector is valued at $1.3 billion — and growing — with 600 companies employing 8,000 individuals.
High-profile companies in Kelowna include Disney Interactive, Bardel Entertainment (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Rick and Morty), QHR Technologies (medical records), AgriForest Bio-Technologies (plant tissue cultures) and Data Nerds (real estate industry). One of the larger 2016 sales saw Vernon resident Myles McGovern sell his Kelowna firm Immersive Media for $100 million to the Hong Kong company Digital Domain. The massive media and entertainment firm provides special effects to major films, including past winners such as Titanic, Benjamin Button, Maleficent, X-Men and Iron Man 3. It was the second largest deal in the Okanagan since Disney bought Club Penguin for $350 million a decade ago. McGovern is also the co-inventor of the 360-degree, spherical camera with the technology used by Google to develop its Google Street View in 75 cities.
“There is an energy in the city in the technology sector,” says Michael Macaulay, a partner at Lawson Lundell LLP, which opened an office in Kelowna in 2017. Visitors compare the energy and excitement of the startup atmosphere as reminiscent of Silicon Valley in the early Seventies, he says.