Boast.AI adding new talent from Vancouver’s cluster of billion-dollar startup firms

Local startup firm Boast.AI has been adding employees, revenue and clients. In February, it secured US $100 million in fresh funding and on Thursday, it announced several new hires and a high-profile board member: Laurie Schultz, who recently helmed the sale of Vancouver’s Galvanize for a cool US $1 billion.

“Vancouver is a very attractive place for senior talent acquisition as well as connections to investors particularly due to its proximity to Silicon Valley as well as the culture and lifestyle here,” said Alex Popa, CEO of Boast.AI.

Boast.AI is part of that new cluster of Vancouver startup tech companies, several with valuations over a billion dollars thanks to recent rounds of fresh funding, going public or being sold.

They include online education company Thinkific, which went public on the Toronto Stock Exchange and raised $152 million in late April. Another is legal technology company Clio, which recently received US $110 million in new funding, giving it a market cap of US $1.6 billion. Dapper Labs, which runs NBA Top Shot, a popular digital trading card game, raised US $305 million in late March, giving it a reported valuation of US $2.6 billion. Others include GeoComply and biotech firm AbCellera, which went public on Nasdaq last December and has a market cap near US $7.65 billion.

“Vancouver has produced six billion-dollar companies in the last six months,” said Popa. “These successes such as Galvanize, Clio, Thinkific, Dapper Labs, etc., will lead to even more successes as talent from these companies will advise, mentor, angel invest and join up and comers, as well as start new companies. It’s a great feedback loop.”

Boast.AI automates what can be a clumsy, manual process for companies of applying for very helpful research and development, federal tax credits. Its software identifies eligible projects, keeps track of expenses, prepares financial reports, compiles tax forms and does due diligence so companies applying for these tax credits can avoid fines and rejected applications. Without it, companies file claims and can wait months, only to be stymied because of an incorrect filing or a missing document.

The U.S. and Canadian governments combined offer more than $20 billion in these tax credits, according to Boast.AI, which said it has helped more than 1,000 companies recover research and development costs by tapping these funds.

Popa said that Boast.AI’s hiring of new chief officers for technology, marketing and finance comes as it is “gearing up to increase our (year on year) growth rate from the historical 100 per cent to (five times that) within a very short period.”

Schultz is a long-time fixture in Vancouver’s tech industry, known for transforming Galvanize, which has roots at the University of B.C. going back to the 1970s and was started in the late 1980s. It runs a platform that boards can use to manage risk, compliance and governance. American software giant Diligent Corp. paid a reported US $1 billion for Galvanize in mid-March.

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