Tech Firms Face-Off In An Epic Lip-Sync Battle

Tech's Got Talent sees our city's smartest trade code for karaoke in support of local charities.

May 29, 2017

By Christine Beyleveldt / Photo: Brandon Elliot Photography

What do you get when you combine Vancouver’s tech-savvy minds with loose inhibitions and a philanthropic cause? Tech’s Got Talent—a lip-sync battle that will see the city’s techies step out from behind their screens and take to the stage to raise money for charity.

Plenty Of Fish and Chimp, the online tool that simplifies charitable giving, came up with the event in 2015, which saw 19 Vancouver tech companies perform for a crowd of 500 and raise over $50,000. This year, Vancouver’s tech firms are teaming up for a second time under the leadership of Plenty Of Fish and software company ACL, with 18 teams, including returning champions Mobify and Hootsuite, vying for the title of Most Talented Techie.

As one of the city’s leading sectors driving economic growth, the tech industry is in a unique position to give back, says ACL Employee Experience Manager Martha Carscadden. “I think as tech industries or tech companies in Vancouver, we recognize that we are incredibly privileged and in a blessed position,” she says, “but in terms of our image and giving back to our community, that’s something we can all work on more. That was one of the main reasons why an event like this was really attractive.”

Each team chose a charity and committed to raising $1,500, and thus far they’ve collectively raised over $19,000. Proceeds from raffle tickets and prize money awarded the night of the competition will all go to Vancouver charities, including Aunt Leah’s Place, which provides housing, coaching and essential life skills to kids who are aging out of foster care, Vancouver Rape Relief & Women’s Shelter, BC Children’s Hospital and Kids Help Phone.

“One of the things that earmarks tech people as well is we’re highly competitive, so you can expect, you know, wild costumes and dance routines—it should be a real laugh,” says Carscadden. Everyone’s there by their own volition, including three celebrity judges, whom she stresses were chosen for their connection to Vancouver. The judges include Kaitlyn Bristowe, a former Bachelorette who lives in Nashville, Tennessee but whom Carscadden describes as “a Vancouver girl at heart,” former Whitecaps FC Captain Jay DeMerit and 2017 winner of Vancouver’s Next Drag Superstar Kendall Gender.

Although DeMerit is best known for his athletic achievement, he’s also looking to find his place in the start-up industry. In 2014 he and business partner Jeff McConnell launched Portmanteau Stereo, creating vintage traveling case-styled portable stereos. He’s also got close ties to the sporting community through the Rise & Shine Foundation, which empowers young athletes. “I think an event like [this] where you bring in a lot of start up minds, it kind of breeds conversation and good connections”  he says. But he’s keen to wear the hat of discerning judge in the upcoming lip-sync battle as well, noting he’ll be looking for brand and stage ownership in a champion—and he’ll probably rock along if it’s a tune from the ’80s.

Tech’s Got Talent takes place at The Imperial on June 1. Tickets are $10 and the show starts at 5:30 pm. 319 Main St., imperialvancouver.com.

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