Technology sector honours local champion

Amid the annual pandemonium that is the Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council’s award show — flying inflatable whales, palm trees, music, Polynesian dancers and a touch of time travel — Dan Gunn asked a good question.

Why did VIATEC wait so long to name Scott Phillips as its technology champion?

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“He’s exactly what the Colin Lennox Award for Technology Champion is all about,” said the VIATEC chief executive.

Phillips has worked over the last 18 years building Starfish Medical into a world leader in medical device manufacturing while helping to grow the Victoria tech sector by volunteering his time and sharing his expertise with start-up companies and his peers.

On Friday night, he accepted the champion award in front of 813 rowdy, lei-wearing, Tiki-cocktail drinking tech workers.

“I’m grateful. I really am to be seen as a founder and that what I do in the tech community is valued,” said Phillips in an interview. “I have caught this community-building disease from somewhere, and have been quietly working in the background to connect people and to support organizations like VIATEC.”

At the same time, Phillips’ company has grown significantly.

In March, Starfish announced it had acquired Toronto medical-device designer Kangaroo Group in order to attract more business from the medical-technology hubs of the eastern U.S. The acquisition took Starfish to 130 employees.

Phillips, who joked Starfish is an 18-year-old overnight success story, said the projects they work on take several years to come to market, and even then it takes years to develop a good reputation and trust level with clients.

“We are starting to see that now,” he said.

On Friday, it was about the then-and-now as VIATEC’s annual awards show married steam-punk time travel with South Pacific flare for something it called Tiki Time Travel. With a massive coconut as part of a set and a Tiki time-machine car, the event provided irreverence and noise while celebrating the tech sector.

“This is a great way for us to hold up examples of some of our leading companies so people can recognize them, which I think is important because it’s motivating for other companies to see what’s possible and motivating for teams that there is some level of recognition,” said Gunn.

“It’s also come to represent the tech sector as it’s a somewhat edgy, largely irreverent event. We work hard on the entertainment and wow component.”

This year that included Polynesian dancers, Atomic Vaudeville’s cast performing the Time Warp from the Rocky Horror Picture Show, an immersive video experience and time travel taking the entire room through the decades.

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VIATEC award winners

• Company of the Year

50+ employees: Checkfront

• Company of the Year

(11-49 employees): SendtoNews

• Company of the Year

(1-10 employees): Momentum Dashboard

• Emerging Company of the Year


• Startup of the Year

HYAS Infosec

• Product of the Year

VRX Simulators

• Innovative Excellence Software


• Innovative Excellence Hardware

Redlen Technologies

• Team of the Year


• Employer of the Year


• Leader of the Year

Kim Krenzler, RevenueWire

• Emerging Leader of the Year

Hunter Macdonald, Tutela Technologies

• Newcomer of the Year

Scott Lake

• Capital Investment Network's Angel of the Year

Rasool Rayani

• VIATEC Member of the Year


• Community Champion


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