Colin Fisher of StableView Asset Management says he’s trying to protect investors from Silicon Valley snake-oil salesmen, with this year’s version of his tech investor conference targeting two of tech’s most hyped and least understood domains: AI and blockchain.
StableView Tech17 will take place on October 26th in downtown Toronto, with the theme of “Ideas that Move Capital.” The annual event puts investors and private and public tech companies in the same space for a day, something that doesn’t happen often enough, says Fisher, especially when it comes to Canadian private tech companies.
“Not a lot of people are able to see the benefit of investing in private companies,” says Fisher in conversation with Cantech Letter. “Particularly with technology, it’s critical to be able to see the private side because that’s where most of the companies are. The key is to educate people into this space so that more money flows into technology.”
That task is especially important when it comes to artificial intelligence and blockchain, two sectors that come with more hype than understanding, the portfolio manager says.
“It’s like the early days of the Internet for both AI and blockchain,” he says. “So we’re trying to help explain to people what AI and blockchain are all about. Our event has companies coming who are using AI or blockchain in interesting ways, beyond just the promotional component that comes with these ideas. We’re looking to show real-world examples of both, even simple, some might say boring examples of companies utilizing them, so that we can get past the hype.”
Tech17 will be showcasing 25 of Canada’s leading tech companies who will be presenting on topics such as shareholder activism and smart contracts, along with the focus on AI and blockchain.
Immersive entertainment company D-Box Technologies will be there. The Quebec-based creator of the well-known D-BOX motion systems found in theatres across North America recently announced a partnership with Cineplex to equip movie theatre seats with virtual reality technology to give select viewers a VR motion experience.
Also appearing will be, among others, Canadian ad tech company AcuityAds, fintech cloud service provider VersaPay, Toronto-based blockchain investment firm Cryptiv and customer support (and AI pioneer) deepPixel.
Expected to draw about 500 members of the tech and investment community, Tech17 will also be giving attendants a real taste of the blockchain experience, as it’ll feature a working cryptocurrency miner that will be actively mining over the course of the day.
Fisher says that for things like blockchain and AI, the educational rather than the promotional task is necessary to keep investors away from substance-less, over-hyped companies that can “do real damage.”
“We’re trying to educate so that actually less money flows into shitty promotes,” says Fisher. “As opposed to just glomming onto the next hot thing and having it blow up in their faces, we basically want to to arm people so they can defend themselves against the Silicon Valley snake-oil salesman.”
More information on the conference can be found here.