Owen Matthews

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Owen Matthews is our Tectorian of the Week for June 20th.

In many ways, Owen *is* Tectoria:

Like many in our community, Owen got his start studying studying Computer Science and Psychology at the University of Victoria.

And he knows what it’s like to launch a tech startup, cross the chasm, and do what it takes to successfully commercialize a technology.

By 1998, just a few years after leaving UVic, Owen had founded software startup NewHeights in Victoria.

NewHeights allowed businesses to easily manage video conferencing, data collaboration, voice calls, and conference calls using a single interface. It’s something that we take for granted now, but just a decade ago it was revolutionary.

Owen’s company NewHeights, based right here in Victoria on Government Street helped kick off the revolution. By 2007, two years after receiving Frost & Sullivan’s Entrepreneurial Company of the Year Award for enterprise applications, NewHeights was acquired by Vancouver-based CounterPath Solutions.

Owen Matthews: Tectorian

So, why is Owen Matthews our Tectorian of the Week?

Owen bought a double-decker bus and suggested branding it for Tectoria to take to events… We launched the Tectoria SpaceBus at VICfest this past weekend.
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Owen also introduced VIATeC introduced to the team that helped us find Fort Tectoria, and that same razor-sharp team is managing all the renovations and permit applications for our new home. It’s going to be an incredible leap forward in the evolution of VIATeC.

Owen has also recently launched a “mini tech-park” on Vancouver Street at Fort, just a few blocks from our own Fort Tectoria, transforming what used to be the old bottle depot at 1124 Vancouver Street into what will become the heart of the Harris Green neighbourhood.

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Image Courtesy of Photographer Sama Jim Canzian

The space is home to growing tech companies like Pretio and Tutela, so, with a lot of help from Owen, there will be some critical mass turning downtown Victoria into a visible tech hub.

Helping train entrepreneurs for success in Victoria

Still based in Victoria, Owen also works with the Alacrity Foundation, which has a mandate to turn engineering and business students and recent graduates into entrepreneurs through practical business training.

The foundation has become well-known for Entrepreneurship@Alacrity and Entrepreneurship@UVic. These are training programs that teach young engineering and business graduates how to build successful technology companies.

The program is experienced-based, where graduates are assigned to projects that form the basis of a real technology product opportunity.

Tutela Technologies, recipient of the 2013 VIATeC EmergingTechnology Company of the Year Award, is an Alacrity alumni, and is a great success story of combining engineering, entrepreneurial and creative talent from UVic to create a successful addition to our booming tech sector.

Owen Matthews also acts as executive vice president of Wesley Clover, a technology investment firm that is playing a key role here in Victoria helping fledgling technology entrepreneurs commercialize technology through support of initiatives such as the Alacrity Foundation.

It can be challenging to launch a successful tech business anywhere on Earth, but partners, allies, mentors, and supports like Owen Matthews, Alacrity, and Wesley Clover are key ingredients in the secret sauce that makes a vibrant technology community like Tectoria.

And then there is Owen Matthews’ community involvement.

Owen is passionately committed to the development and growth of Canadian athletes and youth development. He was the co-chair of the Advancement Committee for Canadian Sport Centre Pacific Institute, a $28 million dollar training facility for high performance athletes. He is also active on the board of advisors for the Business school at University of Victoria and Power to Be, a charity founded to enrich the health, education and quality of life for vulnerable youth.

So thanks for your hard work Owen… and we look forward to seeing you at the VIATeC Awards tonight.

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