Revelstokians are no stranger to climate change. Every summer, members of our community stand on the front lines of that battle fighting fires. In the fall, they participate in fuel mitigation work.
Despite the critical importance of their service, Jean-Marc LaFlamme thinks that there is another way our little town can help save the world, one startup at a time.
“The idea behind what we do is that it is a critical time for humanity, and we need to begin to view larger problems as ones that can be solved locally,” said LaFlamme, who has been part of crafting the City of Revelstoke’s high tech strategy over the last number of years, and will be celebrating the launch of Startup Revelstoke on Thursday night at Begbie Brewing.
It’s a watershed moment for the regional economy, said LaFlamme, who hopes it will spearhead a transformation of our local economy from a resource-based one to one that is centred on technology, research and development, and design. That infrastructure can help solve critically important global problems, like climate change. But it all starts, said LaFlamme, with building the social, digital and brick and mortar infrastructure, and educating folks about the ways technology is changing how we interact with one other, industry, and manufacturing.
In the last number of years, the launch of a couple of startups led to Revelstoke earning a reputation as one of the high-tech capitals of the Interior. Two successful startups have made our little town home.
One, founded in 2011, employs about 15 people in our community, and has become the largest health-tracking application in Canada, said LaFlamme.
Cronometer tracks nutrition, fitness and health data to help users balance their diet and exercise to maximize their overall health and wellbeing. The application monitors vitamin, mineral and protein intake versus caloric output.
— Cronometer (@CRONoMeter) February 15, 2018
Another local startup, Sniper Action Photo, is at the forefront of their field, said LaFlamme.
Sniper Action Photo uses RFID chips, like the ones in your debit card, to enable automatic camera systems for adventure activities and outfits. That includes things like zip line operations, adventure parks, sightseeing chairlifts and mountain coasters.
Built in Revelstoke & rapid global expansion: Sniper Action Photo produce #RFID automatic camera systems and world-class solutions for #Zipline #Photography, Challenge Courses, #Adventure Parks, Mountain Coasters, Sightseeing Chairlifts, #Selfie Stations 🚀https://t.co/7pkGvaAAyh pic.twitter.com/3fneqlJS7z
— Startup Revelstoke (@StartupRevy) February 8, 2018
The project got its start after David Grimsdell spent 10 years riding mountain bikes in Whistler but realized he didn’t have a single picture to show for it. He later met Ryan Johnson while their children played, and the idea to start a company was born.
Currently, Sniper Action Photo does business internationally, and have 30 automatic photo installations operating in Canada, the United States, Central America and the Caribbean.
But Cronometer and Sniper Action Photo are just a sign of things to come, said LaFlamme.
On Thursday night, following the Revelstoke Tech Summit at Revelstoke Secondary School, over a hundred local entrepreneurs and local residents, and about twenty local startups will gather to start a conversation that they believe could signal the start of an economic revolution for the City of Revelstoke.
“Living in these mountain communities there is a large section of the population that is overworked. And they are working jobs that don’t necessarily fulfill them. There’s this huge vibe of, ‘I’ve got to do something else,’” said LaFlamme. “Those people are ready to be activated, and they just need a support network that exists and empowers them. We are that network.”