So far this has been an explosive year for the Kelowna startup community. For the past few years the community has been germinating inside the Kelowna Innovation Center, which served as the single hub for all startup activity. Now we are seeing more and more happening beyond those walls — a positive development and a signal of maturation.
Local startup legends Vericorder and Vineyard Networks (now part of Procera) scaled out of the KIC years ago. Many of the early stage startups in Accelerate Okanagan have been hoping to do the same. Last month Syndicate Theory left with Cityseed to join another stealth startup at the new Rocketlaunch space. This past week FreshGrade moved into a new space called Wheelhouse and Just be Friends set up their new office space. Soon Hyper Hippo will be moving into a brand spanking new building, and I suspect taking with them one or two other small outfits from KIC. Furthermore there are rumours of two more startup-centric spaces on the horizon. This might just be #startupkelowna’s Big Bang moment.
All of a sudden we have transitioned from a single to multi-hub community network. Such a distributed system is great for innovation, but we must remember that it is an ecosystem. As a community we must double our efforts to keep the communication lines between the hubs open to prevent isolation. We at Rocketlaunch intend on hosting events for developers in our space, and you will always be able to see the Syndicate Theory boys at the various tech meetups in Kelowna. I implore the other hubs to do the same or better. There will be growing pains, but we have the lessons of many other communities that have followed this path before us.
What are you going to do?