Hitting the accelerator on Alberta’s tech startups
On Wednesday, Nov 24, Innovate Edmonton played host to all the partners involved in bringing four world-class business accelerators to Alberta to help promising startups grow. The four accelerators, including 500 Global, Plug and Play, the Alberta Pre-Accelerator and the Community Safety and Wellness Accelerator powered by Alchemist, are part of the Alberta Scaleup and Growth Accelerator Program that is run by a consortium led by Alberta Innovates. Through this program collaboration, Innovate Edmonton plays two roles as both a funder and an accelerator.
You can watch the full recap of the media conference that was held at Mercer Warehouse on YouTube.
Funding & Support for Entrepreneurship
- Over $1 million was invested at Startup TNT’s Investment Summit IV on Nov. 18, with Edmonton’s PulseMedica, Dryrun, and Fly & Fetch securing deals.
- The Black Seed Accelerator Program, which aims to mentor, train and coach more Black tech-led startups and founders in the Prairies, has announced its first cohort of companies. Participants selected from Edmonton are Uchenna Marian Mgbaja, founder of Thinkers Corner, and Precious Omashor, founder of Escrex.
- Canadian Western Bank has opened a new facility in south Edmonton to provide a suite of services to small and medium-sized business owners. “The new Edmonton Gateway Banking Centre is not only a state-of-the-art building, more space at this location also facilitates a larger and deeper team to better serve our clients with one integrated team under one roof,” said John Steeves, Senior Vice President, Prairies Region, Canadian Western Bank.
- Ashlyn Bernier, Chief Operating Officer of Samdesk and Innovate Edmonton Board Member, was named the 2021 Woman in Tech of the Year, as part of the Start Alberta Tech Awards.
- Instacart has partnered with Edmonton-based global crisis monitoring platform Samdesk to generate automated alerts for shoppers if there is a critical event nearby. “Our Trust & Safety team has leveraged this tool for many years to monitor and act on critical incidents, and we’re excited to add it directly into the Shopper app,” the company wrote.
- AlphaLayer, a joint venture between AltaML and AIMCo, is bringing artificial intelligence into the investment management sector. There are about 20 people now working on more than a dozen projects.
CleanTech & Climate Emergency
- Shell Scotford and the Municipal Climate Change Actions Centre (MCCAC) have funded a new solar panel installation at the Telus World of Science, meaning the facility is now partially solar-powered.
- Up to $131 million from Alberta’s Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction (TIER) fund will be directed into Alberta’s Industrial Energy Efficiency and Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage program, the province has announced.
- The province has announced 23 projects that will benefit from a combined total of $50 million in funding through the Alberta Innovates‘ Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction (TIER) program. The funded projects, including $1.375 million for C-FER Technologies to help establish a hydrogen testing facility in Edmonton, will advance innovation in cleantech and create an estimated 1,307 jobs.
- Wild + Pine, which offers services such as tree planting to help organizations reduce or eliminate their carbon footprint, has developed a Bioprism greenhouse system with specialized lighting from G2V Optics that can raise 150,000 seedlings every year.
- Industrial gases company Air Products received a Best Carbon Management Initiative Award for its net-zero hydrogen energy complex in the Edmonton metropolitan region. It was one of six companies recognized during the 2021 Chemical Week Sustainability Awards.
- Edmonton-based Bitcoin Well is launching Bitcoin Academy, a free online educational curriculum created in partnership with PowerED by Athabasca University.
- Dr. Lorne Tyrrell of the University of Alberta has won the Hepatitis B Foundation‘s Baruch S. Blumberg Prize for his contributions to advancing the science and medicine of hepatitis B.
- PulseMedica secured about $400,000 in investment at Startup TNT’s Investment Summit IV. The company is developing a fully automated diagnostic platform that will treat conditions like age-related macular degeneration (AMD) with lasers instead of injections.
- With support from the University of Alberta’s Li Ka Shing Applied Virology Institute, a new drug developed by cancer researcher Jack Tuszynski is now in the midst of human clinical trials.
- Edmonton ranked 69th on the Moove It Healthtech Index, which looks at cities with the most developed health tech ecosystems. Factors include the amount of research and development funding received by private institutions, as well as the number of active health tech startups within a city.
- The Institute of Health Economics, headquartered in Edmonton, is partnering with the CAN Health Network to establish a mutual referral system for Canadian health tech companies.
- A team of students from NAIT and the University of Alberta placed third in the Pivot on Purpose Student Case Competition at the latest Pivot on Purpose Summit hosted by the Trico Charitable Foundation. The subject of the case was SmartICE, “a community-based Work Integrated Social Enterprise (WISE) offering climate change adaptation tools and services that integrate Inuit knowledge of sea ice with monitoring technology.”
- The Edmonton Police Service (EPS) has launched Canada’s first Animal Cruelty Investigation Unit (ACIU), noting a link between animal cruelty and other violent crimes. In 2021, a majority of the 400 animal cruelty investigations exposed some sort of criminal activity.
- City council has approved granting about $215,000 to 16 initiatives to illuminate and challenge racism, and it directed more funds toward the anti-racism advisory committee.
Arts & Culture
- Fort Edmonton Park has won a Thea Award for Outstanding Achievement – Heritage Center for its new Indigenous Peoples Experience. The Thea Award program celebrates outstanding work on educational, historical and entertainment projects.
Bits & Pieces
- CommAlert is running a contest called The Goodwill Project to give away a fully-furnished downtown office space to a deserving small business.
- The Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute is hiring a machine learning intern. Apply by Dec. 1.
- Calgary’s J5 Design is expanding to Edmonton.
- Trent Oster of Beamdog was interviewed by Alberta Makes Games about surviving the pandemic as a game studio, what keeps him and Beamdog in Alberta, and more.
- Consider contributing to local food security: Edmonton’s Food Bank is struggling to purchase enough food as Canada’s inflation rate has risen to its highest level since 2003. The organization supports about 28,000 people each month.
- Innovate Edmonton and Platform Calgary are looking for unique and inspiring names for Alberta’s new pre-accelerator. Submit your ideas by Dec 1, for a chance to win $1,000!