Here’s the latest on a wide range of innovation in the Edmonton region.
Edmonton’s innovation ecosystem value grows 236% since 2020
Edmonton’s innovation ecosystem value increased by 236% since 2020 to $641 million, which is up from $191 million in 2020 and $435 million in 2021, according to the 2022 Global Startup Ecosystem Report (GSER) by Startup Genome.
In the report, Edmonton is ranked fourth in North America in affordable talent, measured by the ability to hire tech talent, and is considered a top 25 North American emerging ecosystem in funding, measured by innovation through early-stage funding and investor activity.
“Edmonton’s innovation sectors are firing on all cylinders, emerging from the pandemic with phenomenal growth,” said Catherine Warren, CEO of Innovate Edmonton. “We continue to build our city as an inclusive global innovation capital, delivering solutions to today’s thorniest challenges, such as the climate emergency, public health, food security, digital inclusion, social justice and Reconciliation.”
“Startup Genome is honored to work with Innovate Edmonton in accelerating ecosystem growth, job creation and impact in Edmonton,” said JF Gauthier, Founder & CEO of Startup Genome. “We are excited about Edmonton’s startup community’s future because of the increasing investment in its innovative entrepreneurs.”
Funding & Support for Entrepreneurship
- Alberta Enterprise has invested US$12 million into Inovia Capital Venture Fund V to support the growth of early-stage companies in Alberta. Drivewyze and Granify are among the Edmonton companies previously supported by Inovia.
- Alberta Women Entrepreneurs has announced the nominees for its 10th annual awards. The Edmonton nominee reception will take place on June 23, with finalists being named prior to the awards ceremony in September.
- Sprout.vc has announced three new investments from its recently launched Sprout Fund II: LetHub, a leasing automation platform for property managers; Swede, which simplifies the way home renovations are planned and purchased; and Frontly, a no-code front-end automation platform to make it easier for startups to get started. “We look forward to working closely with all three of these exciting and innovative startups as they grow to the next stage,” said Partner Kristina Milke.
- Alberta Innovates recapped all the results of Inventures 2022, which saw more than 2,000 people in attendance and as many as 11,000 watching online. Edmonton’s Elev was awarded first prize in the Student Pitch competition. And Shelvie Fernan spoke to CBC about winning $51,000 for Fly and Fetch in the 2022 HerStory pitch competition run by The51 and Alberta Innovates in Banff during Inventures.
- Kyle Murray, Dean of the Alberta School of Business at the University of Alberta, teamed up with his counterpart Jim Dewald from the University of Calgary to write an op-ed in praise of Creative Destruction Lab – Rockies, a program housed at the Haskayne School of Business in Calgary where both schools collaborate with each other and the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (Amii) to help startups “build something massive.” The program received $500,000 from Alberta Innovates for a program to help entrepreneurs at the pre-accelerator stage. “We may have cheered for different sides in the Battle of Alberta, but we are Alberta-focused and will deliver on a national scale,” they wrote.
- Two major international emergent-tech conferences — COMSWORLD and NanoCanada’s International Conference — will be held in Edmonton in 2023. The announcement was made at NanoCanada’s From Earth to Space conference at the Edmonton Convention Centre last week.
- Jobber was included among 35 privately-held Canadian tech startups on their way to reaching $1 billion in annual revenue, according to data compiled by Communitech for a list dubbed “Team True North”.
- Space Engine Systems announced it is building the HELO-1 Experimental, a Mach 5 hypersonic vehicle that it expects to be ready for flight testing this year, pending approvals.
- Drone Life wrote about the RoBird flying robot developed by Aerium Analytics that the Edmonton International Airport is using to scare birds away.
CleanTech & Climate Emergency
- Blenderz Garment Recyclers was among the winners of the 31st Annual Emerald Awards, presented by the Alberta Emerald Foundation on June 1.
- The City of Edmonton is among the organizations driving demand for renewables in Alberta, according to the Pembina Institute. “A surge of investment in renewable energy projects in Alberta has resulted in 2 gigawatts of clean energy feeding into the grid,” it wrote, noting that “2021 was a banner year for renewables investment in Alberta, nearly quadrupling the total volume of renewable electricity on the grid.”
Digital Inclusion & Education
- The Association of Science and Engineering Technology Professionals of Alberta (ASET) is looking to reduce barriers to help foreign-trained engineering technologists become certified in Alberta. “This province and this country need more engineering technologists — there’s no question,” CEO Barry Cavanaugh told Global News. “There’s pretty much full employment for our engineering technologists.”
- Colin Chan of Mother Margaret Mary Catholic High School and Raphael Kelly from Archbishop MacDonald Catholic High School have been awarded the Schulich Leader Scholarship, an undergraduate science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) scholarship that goes to just 100 Canadian high school students. “I wanted to be an innovator. I wanted to be someone who tried to solve problems,” Chan told Postmedia, while Kelly said “I like connecting (math) to other things which can help address problems in the real world.”
- Two Edmonton-based startups are heading to Plug and Play’s 2022 summit in Silicon Valley after winning People’s Choice Awards at Plug and Play Alberta‘s first Expo Day at the end of May. True Angle Medical, which has developed a health sensor system to help people who have swallowing disorders, won the health pitch competition, while 2S Water, which provides real-time data on water quality, won the sustainability stream.
- The University of Alberta, University of Calgary, and University of Lethbridge have received $23 million from the province for the development of a partnership called Quantum City based in Calgary to advance quantum technologies. Zero Point Cryogenics is among the quantum-related spinoff companies to emerge from the U of A, writes Folio.
- The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) announced $3.3 million in funding for two training initiatives at the University of Alberta through the Collaborative Research and Training Experience (CREATE) program, which is designed to “improve the training and mentoring environment for the Canadian researchers of tomorrow.” Data to Decision (FD2D): Artificial Intelligence from Data Value Chain to Human Value received $1.65 million, while the Canadian Islet Research and Training Network received $1.65 million.
- Engineering grad Portia Rayner spoke to Folio about her interest in “soft robotics”, which uses pliable materials such as silicone in prosthetics. She learned to experiment through programs like The Pod and Neuro Nexus, and started her own mentoring event called the Ada Code Challenge.
- The Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital celebrated 20 years of offering voice and communication training for trans and gender-diverse people through its Voice and Resonance Program. The program used to get five or six referrals a year, but now gets about that many every month.
Bits & Pieces
- Sheldon Zhang announced the sale of Yardly, the lawn-care and snow-removal company he and Terry Song started in 2015. “We sincerely believe the new ownership will bring the resources and expertise to take Yardly to the next level,” he wrote, noting he and Song will be moving on in July.
- Digital Alberta has hired Alecia Peters as its first executive director thanks to recently announced funding from Alberta Innovates through its Ecosystem Development Program.
- Among the honorees at the Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRS) Awards of Excellence was Alberta Innovates which received bronze in the Best Publication category for its 2020-21 annual report.
- Startup TNT will hear from six Edmonton companies instead of the usual five at the finale for Investment Summit V on June 23.
- Mark Cuban, American entrepreneur and “shark” investor on television series Shark Tank, has signed on as a major investor for Startup Edmonton Alumni company Spontivly. ”I’m really proud of our team and all that we are going to be accomplishing.” said Co-Founder, Anthony Nagendraraj in a LinkedIn post.
- TalkMaze Founder and CEO Ghalia Aamer, member of the Innovation Growth Council, is profiled in and featured on the cover of the Summer 2022 edition of LazyFaire Magazine. “Find out more about her entrepreneurial journey in founding her business!”
- Innovate Edmonton board member and Inflexion Games CEO Aaryn Flynn spoke about his upcoming game Nightingale with The Gamer and shared details on how it avoids colonialist pitfalls with fanbyte.
- Innovate Edmonton board member Nicole Janssen, who is also Co-CEO of AltaML, contributed to a Forbes piece on effective team-building for a better tech company culture. “Team morale and engagement are dynamic and ever-changing, so it’s vital to check in and adjust accordingly,” she said.