DYK with Jeff Bell

Edmonton Metropolitan Region Tech-Financing Update: 2021 

Sector
Published On
January 20, 2022

Last year around this time I wrote my first DYK blog about the Edmonton region. In it, I shared the research I had been doing into the funding raises that were taking place in the tech sector – and this year I’m back with an update.  

In 2020, I was able to track data on deals that amounted to a total of $168 million raised. Since then, I’ve continued to track the raises happening in our region and updated data shows 2020 numbers are even higher than what I reported on last year.  

I am happy to report that it looks like the momentum has continued in 2021, with a reported $179 million raised by companies headquartered in the Edmonton Metropolitan Region.   

Similar to what we saw with the 2020 data, I expect over time new information from other years, including 2021, will become publicly available and I will continue to update the numbers with the best information I have available¹. 

Figure 1.

Source: Edmonton Global based on various

When we look at number of deals in the region, including mergers and acquisitions, the total number of deals identified in 2021 was a record 150.  

Figure 2.

Source: Edmonton Global based on various

Of the 92 raises identified in the region in 2021, valuation data could only be found for 43 of those deals (Figure 3).  

Figure 3.  

Source: Edmonton Global based on various

But what does this mean?  

We can assume that many more millions were raised than the publicly available information reveals. Often, the details around a deal are kept confidential for a number of really good reasons.  

Overall, even the limited data available is well worth celebrating. Nineteen companies raised more than $2 million each in 2021 – including nine that raised more than $ 5 million each. These local ‘up and comers include: Trust Science, Showbie, Samdesk, Pacylex Pharmaceuticals, Nanoprecise, Nabati, Jobber, Interface Fluidics and BitcoinWell. 

In 2021, local companies also saw more than $500 million in finance raises through the sale of shares, crowdfunding, and other non-venture capital financial instruments (not included in the above graphs).  

Personally, I’m also very excited about the diversity of sectors that are receiving venture financing. As you can see, most of this activity is happening in sectors that Edmonton Global has identified as priority sectors – this means private investors are recognizing our regional strengths.  

Figure 4.

Source: Edmonton Global based on various

2021 also saw a large number of stories related to acquisitions – with 58 outbound and inbound acquisitions totaling more than $2.8 billion. Two inbound deals I’m keeping an eye on are the purchase of computer server manufacturer Silent Aire by US giant Johnson Controls in April for $1 billion, and the purchase of local transportation and logistics powerhouse Rosenau Transport by GLS out of the Netherlands for $360 million in October. And for outbound acquisitions – Stantec Engineering’s purchase of Cardno Ltd.’s North American and Asia Pacific business units in October for $625 million demonstrates the potential for our regional companies that have a global mindset.   

Conclusion 

In short, despite the pandemic, 2021 was a great year for Edmonton region companies securing private sector finance with a lot of good news stories. The data shows that the global finance community is increasingly recognizing the value that companies in the Edmonton region are creating. There’s good reason that we were recently ranked in a report by CBRE as North America’s fastest growing tech sector for talent. We’ve got incredible innovation happening here, and a rich talent pool – we’re building momentum and the world is starting to take notice.  

 

¹Numbers reflected prior to 2020 are not necessarily representative of actual numbers. Proactive tracking of this data began in 2020 and as such, I am much more confident in the data for 2020 and 2021 than for previous years.