The new Silicon Valley

Cascadia Venture Acceleration Network (CVAN) is a new group that aims to foster cross-border collaboration and increase funding opportunities in the region. Formed by 50 organizations across the Pacific Northwest in December of 2017, CVAN is looking to foster the connections needed to make the Pacific Northwest a veritable Silicon Valley 2.0.

The thesis of CVAN states, “Despite its tech giants, leading universities, and talent, Seattle still struggles to stack up to Silicon Valley when it comes to venture capital funding and the startup activity dependent on it. But if Seattle, Vancouver, B.C., and Portland can fuse into one, connected technology ecosystem, the region becomes much more competitive.”

In December of 2017, at the launch event, Lt. Governor Habib said, “We need to take a regional approach and this isn’t just true for the economic benefits that we want to see. It’s true for solving the greatest problems of our time.”

Habib sees CVAN as complementary to the Cascadia Innovation Conference, and yet another opportunity to brand the Pacific Northwest as a new Silicon Valley. Speaking to Geekwire, Habib said, “Silicon Valley started out as a hardware proposition but then it became software, internet, social, now it’s life sciences in tech, retail. It doesn’t mean anything anymore other than ‘innovative area.'”

One of the endorsing organizations – Cambia Grove – said in a press release, “The Cascadia Venture Acceleration Network MOU does not replace, but rather fully supports the innovation partnership that began in September 2016, when the State of Washington and Province of British Columbia entered into a memorandum of understanding calling for increased collaboration in cultivating the development of a regional innovation zone known as the Cascadia Innovation Corridor.”

Maur Little, director of Cambia Grove – and CityClub board member – said, “with governments as the first mover, we’re taking the next step from the private, non-profit, academic sectors to build an even stronger network in the Cascadia region.”