The last twelve months saw significant funding raises for the technology sector in the Edmonton region with at least 39 deals totalling more than $168 million in capital raised between 35 technology companies. This is significantly higher than we have seen in the region in the past and when we look at early 2021 there’s reason to expect this trend to continue. The first couple of weeks of January already saw significant raise announcements totalling more than $78 million.
Based on the data available, we are also seeing that the number of deals originating in the Edmonton Metropolitan Region is increasing over time.
When companies in the Edmonton region succeed it draws attention from global investors and piques the interest of decision-makers in other jurisdictions. Attracting attention from well know hubs of venture capital such as Toronto, Silicon Valley or Boston raises confidence in the ability of companies in the Edmonton Metropolitan Region to create and sustain value for investors. This in turn increases the chances that the fantastic innovations coming out of the Edmonton region will land the investment they need.
Seeing technology companies based in the region raise capital demonstrates that we have the talent international companies are looking for and a quality of life that can attract and retain that talent.
Strengthening our innovation ecosystem
Success also improves the chances of activating interest from local investors. Part of Startup TNT’s mission is to activate capital we already have in the region and provide support to those with capital who may not have experience investing or investing in technology. Their activities played no small part in the region’s success. In 2020 they raised $1.365 million for 10 startups from 70 investors, many of whom were angel investing for the first time.
COVID and emerging trends
It’s interesting to note that much of this rise, in both the value and number of deals, occurred during COVID lockdowns and considerable economic hardship. This data shows that companies in certain sectors are faring better than others. Transportation and logistics, software, and biotechnology are all areas where we see these deals taking place. Applied Pharmaceutical Innovation (API) is a great example of what’s coming. API works directly with SME’s in the region’s pharma sector and has increased the combined market capitalization of the firms they support to $370 million.
Tech is an opportunity for the whole region
It is important to note that the technology sector is not strictly a ‘big city’ opportunity. These companies are operating throughout the region. Some notable examples that saw activity in 2020 are Baune who is working closely with the City of Beaumont and Absolute Combustion, a company based in Leduc.
Room for growth
There is still an incredible opportunity to grow the tech sector in the Edmonton Metropolitan Region. We can see this clearly when we compare ourselves to other Canadian regions. In 2019, Calgary witnessed 23 deals worth $5.2 billion, Toronto saw 56 worth $1.5 billion and Montreal was home to a whopping 98 deals worth $7.6 billion. Though we trail our larger Canadian peers (for now), the Edmonton region is already home to a large and growing community of technology innovators. The region is young, educated and growing – and the data shows there is good reason to be optimistic about the future growth of our technology sector.
Jeff Bell is the Director of Research and Business Intelligence at Edmonton Global. His knowledge is a mile wide and an inch deep – and when a question arises, he enjoys digging deep into the data to provide solid defensible research that can inform strategy. His network includes a broad range of experts, so if he doesn’t have the answer, he knows where to get it.
Reach out to Jeff if you know of an innovative business that should be tied into his network.
Learn more about technology and innovation in the Edmonton Metropolitan Region here