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ATB Capital Markets focuses on Growth and Innovation: Advancing traditional and growth industries

ATB Capital Markets, the capital markets arm of ATB Financial, has broadened its sector expertise and resources to include an expert team focused on Growth and Innovation. This expanded expertise will help Alberta’s technology companies as they navigate a disruptive marketplace and compete globally for capital.

“As businesses and industries adapt to a rapidly changing environment, we must also look to the future and the trends that will affect our clients,” said Curtis Stange, President and CEO of ATB Financial. “The fourth industrial revolution is here and the conversations we have with business leaders today to help advance business growth are more critical than ever for a strong economic future.”

The Growth and Innovation team is highly specialized, agile and uniquely positioned to help technology and innovation companies grow and succeed. As trusted partners for customized financial and advisory services, the ATB Capital Markets team helps businesses identify growth opportunities at every stage of the business life cycle and provides competitive advantage.

At the helm of the specialized Growth and Innovation team are:

  • Tim Hart, managing director, Investment Banking—With 25 years of capital markets experience, Tim will lead the banking group that helps high-growth companies compete in Alberta and beyond by providing tailored solutions and advice that address their unique business needs, ranging from equity and debt capital requirements to strategic mergers and acquisitions. 
  • Ezra Chang, director, Investment Banking—Ezra brings over 15 years of capital markets and key industry sector experience, including life sciences, technology and engineering. He has extensive investment banking experience with innovation-focused companies including origination, equity/debt financings and merger and acquisitions. 
  • Martin Toner, director, Institutional Research—Martin brings over 15 years of capital markets experience on both the buy and sell side, having worked on North American and U.S. equity core, income, hedge and ESG funds and as a senior analyst covering all sectors. He provides sector and company insights, identifying trends and investment opportunities for the stocks we cover.

ATB Capital Markets has expanded its universe coverage to include Shopify Inc., Lightspeed POS Inc. and Real Matters Inc.

“We are committed to supporting companies that are fueling innovation in technology. Our expertise in growth and innovation will ensure we are making a strong contribution to both our economy and our clients,” said Jon Horsman, CEO of ATB Capital Markets Inc. and senior executive vice president, business at ATB Financial. “We remain dedicated to the energy industry, while we work together towards a prosperous future for all.”

About ATB Financial

With $54.9 billion in assets, ATB Financial is an Alberta-built financial institution that is a catalyst for economic growth in our province. We got started in 1938 to help Albertans through tough economic times. Today, ATB’s more than 5,000 team members love to deliver exceptional experiences to nearly 800,000 customers through our many branches and agencies, our 24-hour Client Care Centre, four entrepreneur centres, and our digital banking options. Everything we do is focused on how we can serve Albertans—from providing expert advice and supporting entrepreneurs to helping Albertans buy a home and grow their wealth.

For more information or interview requests, please contact: 
ATB Financial, Media Relations media@atb.com

Stantec named fifth most sustainable company in the world, first in North America

Stantec was named the fifth most sustainable company in the world and first in North America by Corporate Knights, which released its 2021 Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations rankings today. Companies in the Global 100 represent the top one percent of companies in the world on sustainability performance. To determine the ranking, Corporate Knights analyzed 8,080 companies using up to 24 quantitative key performance indicators, weighted to reflect each industry group’s impact profile. The full 2021 methodology can be found here.

This distinction comes less than a month after CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project) awarded Stantec its technical classification of A- for the third year in a row, making Stantec the only engineering and design firm in the industry to earn an A- rating for the last three consecutive years. Stantec is headquartered in Edmonton.  

“We are tremendously proud to be recognized in the top five of the top one percent of sustainable companies in the world and first in North America,” said Gord Johnston, President and Chief Executive Officer of Stantec. “Our leading track record on sustainability is the result of the deep commitment and exemplary leadership of our people across Stantec’s entire global operation. Our teams continue to enhance sustainability in our own operations while also helping clients set and achieve their sustainability goals.”

Corporate Knights – Key Scoring Metrics & Commentary* 
Stantec’s clean revenue and clean investment (i.e., goods and services that have a clear environmental and social benefit) as determined by Corporate Knights was the highest in the consulting and professional services industry group. Together, clean revenue and clean investment accounted for half of the weighted score.

Additionally, a number of metrics related to employee benefits and compensation figured prominently in the analysis, accounting for an aggregate weighting of approximately 26 percent, where Stantec also scored well.

More information on the firm’s sustainable initiatives, projects, and thought leadership can be seen on the company’s website here.

About Stantec
Communities are fundamental. Whether around the corner or across the globe, they provide a foundation, a sense of place and of belonging. That’s why at Stantec, we always design with community in mind.

We care about the communities we serve—because they’re our communities too. This allows us to assess what’s needed and connect our expertise, to appreciate nuances and envision what’s never been considered, to bring together diverse perspectives so we can collaborate toward a shared success.

We’re designers, engineers, scientists, and project managers, innovating together at the intersection of community, creativity, and client relationships. Balancing these priorities results in projects that advance the quality of life in communities across the globe.

Stantec trades on the TSX and the NYSE under the symbol STN.

Investor Contact
Tom McMillan
Stantec Investor Relations
Ph: 780-917-8159
tom.mcmillan@stantec.com

AltaML named Fast 50 company to watch

AltaML has received a Deloitte Fast 50, Companies-to-Watch award. The award spotlights emerging companies that exhibit strong growth and show potential to be a future candidate of the Technology Fast 50 award. It includes new companies headquartered in Canada that are demonstrating superior technology, effective management experience and common traits of Deloitte Technology Fast 50 award winners.  

The Deloitte Technology Fast 50 program is Canada’s pre-eminent technology awards program. 

“We’re extremely proud to recognize this year’s Companies-to-Watch winners, not only to celebrate their early-stage growth in these uncertain times, but also their staggering potential moving forward,” said Erica Pretorius, partner and national leader for the Technology Fast 50 program at Deloitte Canada. “These outstanding companies demonstrate tremendous courage, the ability to take calculated risks, and notable skills to exploit opportunities. They are key to the future success of the technology sector.” 

Headquartered in the Edmonton Metropolitan Region, AltaML helps business leaders understand how applied artificial intelligence can redefine competitive advantage and develop powerful software applications that create efficiencies, mitigate risk and drive revenue. Their goal is to impact 1 billion decisions by 2030. 

AltaML has grown rapidly and has expanded from their headquarters in the Edmonton region to include offices in both Calgary and Toronto. Their Co-CEOs, Nicole Janssen and Cory Janssen, credit a long-term view to relationships with industry partners and a commitment to delivering exponential value through applied AI with the company’s early-stage success.  

“The opportunity for AI is now, so we knew we had to grow fast,” say Cory and Nicole. “To scale our AI experimentation and to mitigate technical risk we built a platform that allows us to work across industries with a vast range of structured and unstructured data. From Edmonton we expanded to Calgary to consolidate regional strengths in AI talent and corporate offices, and from there we grew to Toronto as a first step toward becoming a national company.” 

AltaML is working with businesses from a variety of sectors to help solve business problems including healthcare, financial services, energy and agriculture. 

“AI is a key strength that exists in the Edmonton Metropolitan Regions,” says Malcolm Bruce, CEO of Edmonton Global. “It’s a horizontal enabler that can have a huge impact on all industries and any organization that has a large amount of data. These tools can even be applied to traditional sectors to improve business functions and expand traditional business models.”  

AltaML has completed over 50 projects with over 30 companies. Announced partnerships include PCL Construction, AIMCo, DynaLife, Williams Engineering, Kleinfelder, ProtXX, Food-X, as well as Suncor, ATB Financial, Spartan Controls and TransAlta, the four founding industry partners of the AltaML Applied AI Lab. 

As AltaML continues to grow, Co-CEO Cory is adamant that the Edmonton region is still the right place for them to be headquartered due in large part, to the talent pool that exists here.  

“Edmonton is the absolute best place in the world to start an AI company,” said Cory. “This might actually be the only place in the world that has a surplus of data scientists.” 

Petrochemical program is open for business

A new program to turn Alberta into a top global producer of petrochemicals is launching with an aggressive industry-driven strategy to spur long-term international investment and thousands of jobs to the province.  

The Alberta Petrochemicals Incentive Program (APIP), part of Alberta’s Recovery Plan, will help attract billions in petrochemical project investments and continue to diversify the province’s economy while drawing directly on our abundant reserves of natural gas. The goal is to aggressively compete with several jurisdictions across Asia, the Middle East, and those in the Gulf of Mexico in the United States, many of which also offer similar incentives for petrochemical manufacturers, to become a global destination for petrochemical investment.

“Today we’re adding another incentive to Alberta’s already world-class opportunities for petrochemical development. On top of our existing petrochemical producers and all the companies that feed in and support them, we have a multi-generational supply of natural gas, an experienced workforce, and one of the lowest tax rates in North America. By launching this program, Alberta moves towards achieving the goal of becoming one of the most attractive investment opportunities for petrochemicals in the world.”

Dale Nally, Associate Minister of Natural Gas and Electricity

The program is one of the key pillars of the Natural Gas Vision and Strategy, which outlined the province’s goal of becoming a top global producer of petrochemicals. According to Alberta’s Industrial Heartland Association, there is an opportunity to grow Alberta’s petrochemical sector by more than $30 billion by 2030, resulting in more than 90,000 direct and indirect jobs over the construction and operations of new facilities, and more than $10 billion in revenue for the Government of Alberta from corporate and personal income taxes.

To encourage additional investment in the sector, Invest Alberta and Alberta international offices will be courting petrochemical companies and investors by highlighting the many benefits of investing in Alberta’s growing petrochemical industry. Alberta’s industrial associations are also doing their part, working with current members and leveraging contacts within the petrochemical industries to share the opportunities available. Hydrogen-producing facilities will also be eligible for APIP, ensuring continued interest from investors in the province’s nascent hydrogen economy.

“Diversifying our energy industry is key to ensuring Albertans will have good-paying jobs and careers to get excited about in the future. Alberta has the potential to become a major player in low-carbon hydrogen and sustainable plastics production, but we’ll only get there if we have a competitive edge over other jurisdictions. Petrochemical companies have dozens of factors to consider when choosing where to invest, and we’re putting together a winning formula to ensure Alberta is at the top of their lists.”

Doug Schweitzer, Minister of Jobs, Economy and Innovation

APIP offers a direct financial incentive on new petrochemical or fertilizer facilities, or on expansions to existing ones. High-level details include:

  • Once a project is up and running, companies that have successfully applied will receive grants worth 12 per cent of their eligible capital costs.
  • The grant will be issued in the final step in the process, ensuring that only projects already built and employing Albertans receive funds.
  • Prior to the grant, companies will need to show their project meets the program requirements by detailing the scope and expected cost of the project.
  • The application window for small projects (between $50 million and $150 million in capital costs) will be open for five years. Applications for larger projects will be open for 10 years.

“The Alberta Petrochemicals Incentive Program is a meaningful incentive program that will strengthen Alberta’s value proposition for large-scale petrochemical investments. As Canada’s largest hydrocarbon processing region and a critical partner in Canada’s energy future, Alberta’s Industrial Heartland is focused on capturing a potential $30 billion in new, diversified, value-add investments by 2030. As an investment attraction tool, APIP will increase our region’s competitiveness and enhance our ability to attract petrochemical investment projects that diversify Alberta’s economy.”

Mark Plamondon, executive director, Alberta’s Industrial Heartland Association

“Low-cost, low-carbon and abundant – Alberta’s natural gas and natural gas liquids make it a global player in industrial chemicals manufacturing. The Alberta government recognizes this potential and the Petrochemicals Incentive Program goes a long way to level the playing field with other jurisdictions competing for new investment. The opportunity for growth in this sector exists in the province and that is good news for jobs, new global-scale investment, and Alberta’s economy.”

Bob Masterson, president and CEO, Chemistry Industry Association of Canada

“We have heard directly from companies that they have been looking at Alberta for greater chemistry investments, but that we are also competing with the best locations around the world. The Alberta Petrochemicals Incentive Program helps to provide the necessary incentives to grow Alberta’s burgeoning petrochemical sector, which in turn will provide thousands of good jobs and sustainable economic growth while continuing to diversify our resource and energy sectors. I’m particularly excited that this program will incentivize hydrogen and fertilizer production. These are key growth and diversification opportunities for our province in a lower-carbon future.”

Adam Legge, president, Business Council of Alberta

“Alberta’s petrochemical industry competes globally with many other jurisdictions that are determined to bring new investment to their part of the world. This program will attract new value-added investments which will bring much-needed jobs and prosperity to the province. The Resource Diversification Council is confident that APIP will garner international attention and thanks the Government of Alberta for its collaborative approach in developing a meaningful and world-class investment attraction program.”

Denis Painchaud, executive director, Resource Diversification Council

“The Alberta Petrochemicals Incentive Program will help bring much-needed investment to the Edmonton Metropolitan Region, diversify our petrochemical sector, create jobs, and boost our economic recovery. This program is great news for our many energy producers, processors, fertilizer producers, and the construction and service companies who work closely alongside them.”

Janet M. Riopel, president and CEO, Edmonton Chamber of Commerce

Projects eligible for the program must have:

  • A minimum $50 million in capital investment
  • Consume natural gas, natural gas liquids or petrochemical intermediaries
  • Create new and permanent jobs in Alberta
  • Meet the federally set definition of a manufacturing and processing facility

There is no cap to the program, but the government will report on expected costs each fiscal year, based on applications received and projects approved.

Full details on the eligibility and requirements for projects are available on alberta.ca, where companies can also register to begin the application process.

Alberta is already among Canada’s largest hubs for petrochemicals manufacturing, and global demand for petrochemical derived products is expected to continue increasing. The COVID-19 pandemic has also shown the continued need for petrochemicals to support the development of personal protective equipment, plastic food packaging and cleansing agents. A growing petrochemical industry will continue to feed into these integral products.

Alberta’s Recovery Plan is a bold, ambitious long-term strategy to build, diversify, and create tens of thousands of jobs now. By building schools, roads and other core infrastructure we are benefiting our communities. By diversifying our economy and attracting investment with Canada’s most competitive tax environment, we are putting Alberta on a path for a generation of growth.

Quick facts

  • The program was developed based on best practices in competing jurisdictions, including several American states with large petrochemical industries. The program was also refined with the input of stakeholders and interested companies.
  • Alberta has the lowest corporate tax rate in Canada at eight per cent, and compares favourably with the lowest tax rates in the United States.
  • Alberta has one of the most established petrochemical industries in Canada, with potential growth in existing centres like Alberta’s Industrial Heartland, Grande Prairie, Joffre and Medicine Hat.
  • Every day, people around the world use dozens of products that are made with petrochemicals, including:
  • Medical supplies, such as computers for X-rays and MRIs and personal protective equipment, including disposable masks and gloves
  • Polyester fabric couches, HD televisions, phones, bicycle helmets, coffee makers and computers
  • Car tires, engine hoses, gasoline, radio components and AUX cords, and car seats
  • Desks, chairs, computers, carpets, cellphones and other office supplies
  • Food packaging that keeps food fresh and safe during transport and storage
  • According to the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada, Alberta’s chemicals sector, comprised predominantly of petrochemicals, was valued at $12.1 billion and employed about 58,400 people directly and indirectly in 2019.

Related information

Government of Canada invests in Alberta’s construction industry to help strengthen energy efficiency and green building practices

Minister Mélanie Joly announces $3 million investment to enable small- and medium-sized firms to develop innovative green technologies and support good, local jobs

September 4, 2020 – Edmonton, Alberta – Western Economic Diversification Canada

Alberta’s construction and engineering is a central part of its economy, supporting good jobs across the province. As the industry recovers from the impact of COVID-19, innovation is essential for it to come back strong and support growth across Alberta. The Government of Canada is a partner in these efforts, helping the industry recover, reopen and retool to emerge stronger than before.

Jobs for Alberta

The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD), today announced federal funding of $3 million to help Alberta’s construction and engineering industry innovate and grow. This investment from Western Economic Diversification Canada will help small and medium-sized businesses adopt new products and technologies that improve the energy efficiency of buildings and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

This funding will be directed towards an Alberta-based not-for-profit organization—the Smart Sustainable Resilient Infrastructure Association (SSRIA)—to establish a network of test buildings where firms can collaborate and test their products under different conditions. WD funding is complemented by an investment of more than $2.8 million from Alberta Innovates, in-kind support from industry and $165,000 from the SSRIA, bringing the total project funding to over $6.3 million.

Products and services expected to be commercialized through this initiative include:

  • materials for walls, roofs and foundations;
  • mechanical and electrical system improvements;
  • sensors and lighting products that reduce energy consumption; and
  • software for storing and analyzing building performance on energy efficiency and greenhouse gases.

Today’s announcement further supports the construction industry’s shift towards energy efficient and environmentally-friendly practices. In addition to benefiting from new products and services to meet their needs, Alberta’s broader architecture, engineering, and construction industry will also reap the benefits of this important initiative.

Quotes

“Our shift towards green technologies is both the right thing to do for our environment and the smart thing to do for our economy. This investment from Western Economic Diversification Canada will support good, well-paying jobs in communities across Alberta while helping the province’s construction industry stay on the cutting edge. It will help many small and medium-sized businesses across the province innovate and grow while reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and I’m excited to see the difference it will make.”

– The Honourable Mélanie Joly, MP for Ahuntsic-Cartierville, and Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada

“Through strong collaboration with our partners, the Government of Alberta continues to look for opportunities to create new jobs. Albertans are builders, and innovators. We’ve been the engine of Canada’s economy because of the fresh ideas that we bring to the table, and this is one more way for us to keep sharing new concepts from our world-class construction and engineering industry with the rest of Canada and the world.”

– Doug Schweitzer, Minister of Jobs, Economy and Innovation

“The technology developed with SSRIA will significantly reduce emissions and support the growth of the building and construction sector in Alberta. The project reimagines buildings themselves as clean tech and will drive transformative work around built environments, creating new opportunities and new markets. This initiative is another compelling example of innovation growing the economy.”

– Laura Kilcrease, CEO, Alberta Innovates

“The operations of our buildings account for 20 per cent of GHG emissions in Canada and as high as two-thirds of emissions in Alberta’s largest cities. Through industry collaboration and innovation, we will develop and disseminate validated solutions to reduce GHG emissions by building higher performing buildings, which in turn provides economic benefits for the engineering and construction industry, building owners and their occupants.”

– Tanya Doran, Chair, Smart Sustainable Resilient Infrastructure Association (SSRIA)

Quick facts

  • Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) is investing $3 million towards the Smart Sustainable Resilient Infrastructure Association (SSRIA) to establish a network of test buildings where firms can test new products, technologies, and practices that improve the energy efficiency of buildings and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • The SSRIA is a membership-based organization supported by major construction firms in Alberta, including Stantec, Ledcor and PCL Construction, as well as several Alberta post-secondary institutions and technology incubators.
  • Alberta’s varied climate provides companies an opportunity to develop a level of expertise in the green building and construction sector that can be exported world-wide. Alberta has other natural resources such as sunlight, wind, and wood in abundance—all of which provide the region with a competitive advantage in developing green building technologies and products that require the use of alternative energies and other natural resources.

TransPod signs deal with Alberta to develop hyperloop track connecting Edmonton, Calgary

Image credit: TransPod

Toronto-based AutoTech startup TransPod has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the provincial government of Alberta to support the development of a high-speed Hyperloop track connecting the cities of Calgary and Edmonton.

The proposed multi-billion-dollar project would be based on TransPod’s fossil-fuel-free and fully electric Hyperloop vehicle, which is currently being developed to carry passengers and cargo between cities at a speed of over 1,000 km/h.

The MOU with the Alberta government represents the first such agreement TransPod has signed with a public body. In 2019, the startup submitted a proposal asking for a letter of support from the UCP government that committed to a full line being built between the two Alberta cities if smaller tests were successful. The province’s previous NDP government had allocated 10 kilometres of land between Calgary and Edmonton for TransPod to build a test track.

CEO Sebastien Gendron said the startup estimates the total cost of the project to be between $6 and $10 billion.

Notably, the agreement does not involve any “financial commitments or endorsements” from the province. The MOU is focused around the Alberta government helping TransPod study the feasibility of its technology in the province; this includes sharing transportation data, working with TransPod to find suitable land that can accommodate a test track, and participating in discussions with potential investors.

“Alberta’s leadership mindset and partnership with TransPod firmly places it at the cutting edge of transportation innovation,” said Sebastien Gendron, co-founder and CEO of TransPod. “Through this strategic agreement, that secures the province’s economic future without having to commit any taxpayer dollars, the government of Alberta is investing in improving growth and quality of life in the region.”

Rendering of a TransPod Hyperloop ‘pod’

Alberta’s Minister of Transportation Ric McIver told BetaKit that when TransPod reached out to the Alberta government he found the idea intriguing.

“The TransPod folks came to see me and basically said they’re interested in not just talking about a TransPod but actually building one,” said McIver. “It’s a new technology, and part of our government’s goal is to make a place where new technologies are welcome.”

According to the Alberta Innovation Corridor, a group made up of several Alberta innovation organizations, 90 percent of the province’s tech talent and companies are located in Calgary and Edmonton.​ Gendron called the innovation corridor between Calgary and Edmonton a good place for a hyperloop as the track would be located within one province between cities with similar geography.

Founded in 2015 in Toronto, TransPod is developing its own Hyperloop technology, which the startup claims can significantly reduce the cost of development, increase reliability, and improve the operational performance of a Hyperloop transit system. The Hyperloop would be powered by solar and electric energy. TransPod’s technology is hoped to reduce the need for short-haul flights, therefore reducing carbon emissions.

TransPod is not alone in its pursuit of making Hyperloop a reality, with the Canadian startup coming up against the likes of Virgin Hyperloop, which touts itself as “the only company in the world that has successfully tested hyperloop technology at scale.” Virgin Hyperloop has ongoing projects in the United States, Europe, Saudia Arabia, Dubai, and India.

After raising a $20 million CAD seed round in 2016, TransPod opened offices in Canada and France. In early 2019, the startup announced plans to build a three-kilometre track in France to research and test its technology. The test track is currently under construction, though Gendron told BetaKit the COVID-19 pandemic has caused delays. Currently half of TransPod’s 15-person team works out of the test location in France. TransPod also has an R&D centre in Italy. Gendron told BetaKit that last year the European Union approved €30 million in subsidies for the startup, which it uses for R&D activities at its two European locations.

Since announcing the France track, the startup has also expressed interest in building tracks from Toronto to Windsor and Toronto to Montreal. TransPod has submitted proposals to the Government of Ontario and told BetaKit it is expecting to hear from the provincial body regarding the tracks. The startup also has proposals in other jurisdictions in Europe and the US. Gendron said he expects the MOU with Alberta to accelerate those decisions.

The concept of a Hyperloop transit system has been described by some as implausible, given the high costs of installation. Musk has estimated a California Hyperloop would cost $17 million USD per mile. Nicholas McLean, an engineer at the University of Queensland, argued the cost of the system would be roughly 10 times larger than Musk’s initial prediction.

Rendering of what a TransPod Hyperloop system could look like in Toronto

According to TransPod’s feasibility study on a potential track connecting Toronto and Windsor, Ont., released in April 2019, the cost to build a TransPod hyperloop line would be 50 percent less than the projected cost of a high-speed railway. Approximately 80 percent of the technology needed for a Hyperloop track already exists, Gendron said, noting that it is based on innovations in the aerospace and railway industries.

TransPod estimates the total cost of the Calgary, Edmonton project to be between $6 and $10 billion. Rather than relying on public money, TransPod plans to raise the financing for the project from large, institutional investors. Gendron said the startup has been in discussion with Canada’s major pension funds such as OMERS, and financial institutions such as SoftBank, on securing investment. TransPod is hoping to secure its first investment within 12 months.

“People sometimes have a hard time believing that something can work until it’s actually in front of their eyes,” Gendron said. The CEO called Alberta’s support a step in the right direction to convincing those who were skeptical of the technology.

Another step in that direction includes a newly formed joint committee created by a group of European countries in February of this year. The initiative, called JTC 20, is touted as the first collaboration of its sort and is tasked with creating international standards of a Hyperloop transportation system. TransPod was among four Hyperloop companies chosen to participate.

This MOU represents the first such agreement TransPod has signed with a public body.

In March 2019, Transport Canada commissioned its own study into the Hyperloop to better understand the technical, operational, economic, safety, and regulatory aspects of the technology. The results of that study have yet to be released. Ryan Janzen, co-founder and CTO of TransPod said the startup’s goal is to position Canada at a similar level of leadership in high-speed transportation as was achieved in the space race.

The race towards Hyperloop appears to be on, with the US House of Representatives passing multiple provisions in July and directing a technical group to provide a clear regulatory framework for the safe deployment of Hyperloop within six months.

“We always said that Canada likes to be the first to be second, and we’re making a point that this is a wrong statement,” Grendon told BetaKit. “Canada can be first in new technology developments. We’ve done that in the past, and we can do it again.”

The timeline for development of the Alberta Hyperloop is set to be rolled out by TransPod in four phases. The first phase will be a two-year feasibility study from 2020 to 2022, with a research and development phase from 2020 to 2024. The construction of a test track would then begin between 2022 and 2027. TransPod told BetaKit it is hoping to begin the construction of a full intercity line between Edmonton and Calgary in 2025.

“I think with any new technology, there’s an element of making it up as you go along,” Minister McIver noted to BetaKit. “On the other hand, [we plan to] use the things that we’ve learned over the years through regulation on railroads, buses, and public transit… so there will be an element of using the knowledge we have from the technologies that are in place.”

Image source TransPod

Alberta’s plant-based food sector receives federal support

Parliamentary Secretary Terry Duguid announces more than $2.6 million to help Alberta businesses grow and create jobs

August 12, 2020 – Edmonton, AB – Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD)

Canada’s farmers and agri-food producers have been hit hard by COVID-19. The Government of Canada has taken significant action to help them through this difficult period, and is committed to giving them the tools they need to be part of our economic recovery and emerge stronger and more competitive than before. Innovation is essential to making this a reality, which is why the government is working closely with producers and organizations to help them create jobs and increase production.

Federal support to help agri-food companies develop new products, create jobs

Today, Terry Duguid, Parliamentary Secretary to the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD), announced more than $2.6 million in federal funding for the Food Processing Development Centre in Leduc, Alberta.

This investment will support the installation of equipment specifically focused on supporting companies to develop new plant-based foods and products. Plant-based foods represent a significant economic opportunity for western Canadian firms seeking to meet growing global and consumer demands for protein-rich foods that are healthy and environmentally sustainable. With Western Canada already producing high-protein pulse crops such as peas, lentils, and chickpeas, the goal of this initiative is to enable agri-food producers to turn these crops into higher value ingredients or finished products before exporting them to markets around the globe.

Operated by the Government of Alberta, the Food Processing Development Centre is a fully equipped pilot plant and product development facilityIt is staffed with experienced food scientists, engineers, and technologists who work with businesses to develop and fine-tune their products. Over the next four years, Government of Canada support will enable the Centre to assist approximately 100 small- and medium-sized companies, and potentially bring up to 30 new products to market.

 

“Agriculture is a critical piece in Alberta’s Recovery Plan which aims to attract more than $1.4 billion in value-added processing. This investment will enhance the Food Processing Development Centre, which is staffed with experienced food scientists, engineers and technologists who work with entrepreneurs to develop and fine-tune their products, ultimately strengthening and expanding the capability of Alberta’s food processors to meet the challenges of the marketplace. Alberta fully recognizes the value of the Centre and has invested more than $100 million since 1984. We welcome this funding from the federal government which will support Alberta’s plan to attract investment by focusing on sustainable growth and diversity in our crop and food production sectors, while creating stable jobs for Albertans at a time when they need it most.”
– Devin Dreeshen, Minister of Alberta Agriculture and Forestry

$58 MILLION ANNOUNCED FOR NATURAL GAS INNOVATIONS WORTH $155 MILLION

ERA supports 20 projects that create jobs, attract investment, and reduce emissions

Leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning to better measure and locate methane emissions, and prototyping new approaches to convert natural gas to hydrogen, are two of 20 technology innovations that will receive funding from the Government of Alberta through Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA).

Alberta’s Minister of Environment and Parks, Jason Nixon, and Associate Minister of Natural Gas and Electricity, Dale Nally, announced the finalists of the Natural Gas Challenge with ERA CEO, Steve MacDonald, on Tuesday, July  21, 2020, at the opening of the Maximizing Funding Potential Workshop, presented by ERA and Alberta Innovates.

ERA is committing $58.4 million for 20 projects worth $155 million. Funding for ERA’s challenges comes from the carbon price paid by Large Final Emitters in Alberta through the Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction (TIER) fund.

“Today’s announcement by the Government of Alberta supports investment attraction, job creation, and economic growth. Some projects  will have an immediate impact by improving the performance of the natural gas sector’s existing operations and others are accelerating transformative opportunities, like hydrogen production, that can change the face of the industry.”

Steve MacDonald, CEO, ERA

The Natural Gas Challenge was launched in October 2019 and was open to projects involving technologies at the pilot, demonstration, or first-of-kind commercial deployment stages. ERA’s selection committee reviewed 117 submissions and of these, twenty projects were selected based on their potential to unlock innovation across Alberta’s natural gas value chain, from production to the end consumer.

Projects announced include:

UPSTREAM

MultiSensor Canada Inc.

Methane Imaging Solution for Continuous Leak Detection and Quantification for Tank Emissions and Facility Monitoring
Total project value: $3,200,000 | ERA commitment: $1,600,000
Permanent installation and demonstration of an infrared camera at 100 well sites to provide continuous leak detection and quantification for tank emissions and facility monitoring.

Qube Technologies

Emissions Reductions Through Artificial Intelligence
Total project value: $16,200,000 | ERA commitment: $4,000,000
Deployment of an industrial device designed to collect large quantities of data to use artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques to better quantify, locate, and classify emissions.

University of Calgary

UCalgary-Canadian Natural Fugitive Emissions Pilot Study: Field-Scale Deployment and Acceleration of Made-In-Alberta Technology for Fugitive Emissions Detection and Reduction
Total project value: $3,200,000 | ERA commitment: $1,600,000
Full-scale, field pilot of a new vehicle-based technology designed for equipment-level emissions screening to support effective regulatory leak detection and repair.

Canadian Natural Resources Limited

Canadian Natural Fugitive Emissions Study Using Aerial Detection Technology
Total project value: $1,900,000 | ERA commitment: $927,000
Pilot project of both aerial screening technology and ground-based detection at conventional oil and gas facilities to validate technology performance and inform a broader Alternative Fugitive Emissions Management Program (FEMP).

Challenger Technical Services

Multi Component Downhole Injection System
Total project value: $2,600,000 | ERA commitment: $1,000,000
Development, testing, and validation of a multicomponent downhole injection system that uses epoxy resins to rapidly seal leaking oil and gas wells and eliminate surface casing vent flow.

Petroleum Technology Alliance Canada (PTAC)

Affordable Zero-Emission Fail-Safe Electric Dump Valve Actuator (EDVA) Phase 2
Total project value: $2,200,000| ERA commitment: $550,000
Applied research, prototype design and development, and field pilot testing of an electrically-driven valve actuator that is more compact, powerful, and lower maintenance than alternative pneumatic options.

Kinitics Automation Limited

Kinitics Valve Actuator for Gas Producers
Total project value: $1,100,000 | ERA commitment: $552,000
Testing a novel electric actuator at 15 well sites in Alberta to validate the technology as a cost effective, technically viable alternative to eliminate venting from established pneumatic devices.

Westgen Technologies Inc.

Unlocking EPOD Economic Zero Bleed Pneumatic Instrument Air Retrofit Solution
Total project value: $4,000,000 | ERA commitment: $1,300,000
Demonstration of a solar-hybrid power generation system for remote well sites to provide reliable electricity to prevent gas venting from pneumatic devices in a cost-effective manner.

Modern Wellbore Solutions

Demonstration of a Full-Scale Multilateral Junction Assembly
Total project value: $12,100,000 | ERA commitment: $3,500,000
Full-scale deployment of a multilateral junction tool assembly that will allow natural gas operators to drill, complete, and operate multibranched wells for unconventional reservoirs. The technology reduces emissions by enabling lateral junctions rather than requiring separate wells.

Tourmaline Oil Corp.

Natural Gas Mobile Unit for Drilling Rig Power Generation
Total project value: $7,989,000 | ERA commitment: $3,200,000
Pilot demonstration of a plug and play, mobile power generation system for drilling rigs that uses smart energy to automatically start and stop generators to match the power demand of the rig.

DOWNSTREAM AND VALUE-ADDED

ATCO Gas and Pipelines Ltd.

Fort Saskatchewan Hydrogen Blending
Total project value: $5,700,000 | ERA commitment: $2,800,000
Pilot project to test hydrogen blending in ATCO’s Fort Saskatchewan natural gas distribution system. The project will source and test equipment and determine applicability of existing codes, standards, and legislation.

Ekona Power Inc.

Development and Field Testing of a Tri-Generation Pyrolysis (TGP) System for Low-cost, Clean Hydrogen Production
Total project value: $13,800,000 | ERA commitment: $5,000,000
Prototyping a new approach to converting natural gas to hydrogen and a solid carbon by-product representing a new pathway to produce zero-emissions hydrogen, electricity, and other products by decarbonizing natural gas.

Standing Wave Reformers Inc.

A New Wave in Hydrogen Production
Total project value: $8,200,000 | ERA commitment: $3,000,000
Design optimization, system integration, pilot demonstration, techno-economic analysis, and advancement of commercial deployment plans for a technology system to decarbonize natural gas.

ATCO Gas and Pipelines Ltd.

ATCO and Future Fuel RNG
Total project value: $15,900,000 | ERA commitment: $7,900,000
First-of-its-kind commercial demonstration to produce renewable natural gas (RNG) to be sold and used within the province in Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) fleet vehicles and commercial applications.

Sustainitech Inc.

Co-Locating Natural Gas and Indoor Agriculture for Alberta’s Future
Total project value: $17,862,298 | ERA commitment: $5,000,000
Design, construction, and operation for a first-of-kind commercial deployment of a modular farming system that combines automation, hydroponics, adsorption cooling, and advanced lighting to grow crops.

Enersion Inc.

Greenest Natural Gas-Powered Quad-generation with a 41% GHG Reduction
Total project value: $3,800,000 | ERA commitment: $1,800,000
Technology that uses natural gas to generate electricity, cooling, and heating in an integrated package for multiple applications, including industrial, agricultural, commercial, and residential sectors.

Stone Mountain Technologies, Inc.

Demonstration of Thermally Driven Heat Pumps for Residential Heating Applications
Total project value: $1,972,510 | ERA commitment: $986,250
Design and prototyping of technology that uses natural gas to drive a heat pump cycle. Unlike electrically-driven heat pumps, the technology is ideal for cold climates.

Anax Power

Turboexpander Project
Total project value: $6,200,000 | ERA commitment: $2,400,000
Installation and operation of technology that provides clean, distributed electricity from the pressure and flow of natural gas without combustion.

Innovative Fuel Systems

Advanced Dual-Fuel System Commercial Demonstration
Total project value: $2,800,000 | ERA commitment: $1,200,000
Commercial validation of technology that allows heavy duty truck engines to displace up to 50 per cent of their diesel with cleaner burning natural gas.

Clover Bar Landfill

Converting Landfill Gas to Renewable Natural Gas
Total project value: $25,000,000 | ERA commitment: $10,000,000
The project will explore opportunities to upgrade landfill gas (LFG) at Clover Bar Landfill and inject it into Alberta’s natural gas system as renewable natural gas (RNG). Stakeholders in the Clover Bar Landfill, the City of Edmonton and Capital Power, are exploring these possible opportunities.

If successful, these technology innovations will lead to cumulative GHG reductions of almost one million tonnes of CO2e by 2030—equivalent to the GHG emissions from 750,000 passenger vehicles driven for one year. It is anticipated these projects will also deliver approximately 760  new jobs.

Projects were selected through ERA’s competitive review process. A team of experts in science, engineering, business development, commercialization, financing, and greenhouse gas quantification conducted an independent, rigorous, transparent review overseen by a Fairness Monitor.

All recipients are required to produce a final outcomes report that will be shared publicly for the broader benefit of Alberta. All projects involve field piloting, demonstration, or commercial deployment of technology within the province.

“ERA funding is critical to the transformative jump from pilot to market-ready innovation.  SWR is unique in that it is a novel application based on well-understood, existing components.  This allows us to move quickly from lab to market entry in Canada.  With ERA’s funding and partners, together, we can make a substantial near-term difference in global decarbonization.” 

Kathleen O’Neil, CEO, Standing Wave Reformers, Inc. 

“We’re very pleased to have the support of ERA in the final steps of commercial validation of our technology. Working with ERA and Westcan will help us showcase our technology’s ability to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the heavy-duty trucking industry, while also allowing the industry to significantly cut fuel costs.”

Leland Oberst, President and Chief Executive Officer, Innovative Fuel Systems

“Working with our industry partners, Kinitics plans to demonstrate the company’s shape memory alloy-based electric actuators as a viable alternative to methane-venting pneumatic actuators at production well sites. ERA’s contribution will allow us to raise awareness of the technology in the industry, significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and potentially eliminate methane-venting devices entirely in Western Canada.”

Dean Pick, President, Kinitics Automation

“Our primary product, EPOD, has proven itself as a great solution for new well sites. However, we believe the real opportunity for Alberta lies in addressing its thousands of existing well sites. Funding from ERA will enable us to demonstrate an economically attractive instrument air retrofit solution. We believe this has potential to create a step change in the environmental performance of our industry.”

Connor O’Shea, President, Westgen Technologies Inc.

“At MultiSensor, we have been developing a cost-effective methane monitoring Internet of Things solution since 2016. ERA’s Natural Gas Challenge funding is material for us to commercially demonstrate our cloud-connected cameras in the field at scale. Our automated remote monitoring solution will enable Alberta’s oil and gas industry to focus leak detection and reduction efforts on where it delivers the biggest reductions—identifying, quantifying, and repairing leaks and vents as they occur.”

Stefan Bokaemper, President, MultiSensor Canada, Inc.

“ERA funding is a stepping-stone to translate our vehicle-based emissions screening system into a scalable commercial solution that helps industry lower and monitor methane emissions more efficiently and cost-effectively. We will undertake a full-scale field pilot over two years with our industry partner using a fleet of vehicles to survey thousands of facilities, while collecting additional emissions measurements from public roads across most operating areas of Alberta.”

Dr. Chris Hugenholtz, Associate Professor & Parex Innovation Fellow, University of Calgary

“The funding provided by ERA is key to commercialization of the LMT EDVA, a technology project that will not only enable cleaner oil and gas production to achieve Canada’s methane emissions reduction targets, it may also help revive our struggling oil and gas and cleantech sectors.”

Soheil Asgarpour, President, Petroleum Technology Alliance Canada (PTAC)

“We are actively exploring innovative technologies that can improve the efficiency and sustainability of our operations. The funding received from ERA will enable us to implement a natural gas mobile power generation unit, contributing to Tourmaline’s diesel displacement initiative and reducing fuel costs and GHG emissions.”

Earl McKinnon, Vice President, Operations, Tourmaline Oil Corp.

“Challenger is an Alberta-based service company with a solution for oil and gas wells that leak carbon emissions into the atmosphere.  At Challenger, we are grateful to have a home province that not only welcomes innovation, but actively supports it. ERA’s funding will be critical in bringing our technology to market and allow us to advance rollout to other jurisdictions seeking to control fugitive GHG emissions.”

Colton Hoffman, President, Challenger Technical Service

To help streamline the application process, ERA collaborated with the Natural Gas Innovation Fund (NGIF)to leverage funding opportunities beyond ERA’s scope through NGIF’s $3 million Cleantech Competition. NGIF announced its semi-finalists on June 23, 2020. Three of ERA’s Natural Gas Challenge winners—Kinitics Automation, Westgen Technologies Inc., and Challenger Technical Services—were announced as shortlisted for NGIF’s funding competition.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Emissions Reduction Alberta
Kevin Duncan
403.431.2859 | kduncan@eralberta.ca

ABOUT EMISSIONS REDUCTION ALBERTA (ERA):
For more than 10 years, ERA has been investing the revenues from the carbon price paid by large final emitters to accelerate the development and adoption of innovative clean technology solutions. Since ERA was established in 2009, they have committed $534 million toward 161 projects worth $4 billion that are helping to reduce GHGs, create competitive industries and are leading to new business opportunities in Alberta. These projects are estimated to deliver cumulative reductions of 32.9 million tonnes of CO₂e by 2030.

Alberta Shows Stunning Growth in 2019, Opportunity in 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented event that has forced all businesses to re-evaluate their markets, risks, and priorities. In this time of volatility, predicting the future of venture capital is admittedly challenging. However, there are encouraging signs in the Alberta tech startup ecosystem that build on recent growth and successes in the province. Several startups are well-positioned to meet the current challenges head-on, while others are recalibrating to new metrics and constraints by pivoting to different models. We can find opportunities in crisis and see encouraging support through the establishment of new government programs and the emergence of new resources from all sides of Canadian tech. In this article, we turn our attention to the startups who are tenaciously striving toward new possibilities, as well as recognize some of the successes in Alberta over the past year.

Alberta Experiences Strong Start to 2020

Alberta Venture Capital investment in 2020 has kicked off to a rousing start with several notable financings, including Calgary-based Symend’s $73 million CAD ($52 million USD) Series B raise led by Inovia Capital’s Growth Fund. Symend is one of many Alberta companies scaling rapidly to serve those financially affected by the current situation through a customer engagement platform designed to better connect with financially at-risk customers. 

Alberta Enterprise portfolio fund companies Showbie, SAM and Dryrun, have experienced exponential growth during the COVID-19 situation. The simplicity of the Showbie and Socrative (acquired by Showbie) applications have shined as countries and education systems switched to distance learning, literally overnight. These technologies have allowed teachers to carry on with their virtual classrooms and have enabled students to learn from home – with Showbie seeing 6x teacher signups and Socrative signups exploding to 125,000 teachers over a one-month period.

Meanwhile SAM, a global disruption monitoring platform leveraging artificial intelligence to analyze social media and deliver relevant news to users, is helping teams make informed decisions with increased speed and accuracy to keep people safe when it matters most. Today, SAM is helping some of the world’s largest sectors stay one step ahead of the pandemic with crisis alerts that notify of new and emerging developments, such as lockdowns, closures, evacuations, and unexpected risks related to COVID-19. Record usage during this time has spurred SAM to raise $3.6M CAD in new funding to fuel growth. SAM is an Accelerate FundI company.

The economic challenges of COVID-19 have made cash flow modelling more essential than ever to inform decisions on managing operating costs, hiring or layoffs, and funding new projects. With so many possible scenarios for lifting of social distancing and available government relief, businesses are mapping multiple models for the months ahead. Dryrun’s flexible and highly visual cashflow modelling software saw a 1,300% increase in signups in recent weeks, with new customers coming from 31 different countries and across 70 different currencies! 

Further encouraging investment news is Alberta Enterprise’s launch of a third early-stage angel co-investment fund, Accelerate Fund III, with a $10 million investment. Accelerate Fund III will provide Alberta technology entrepreneurs with a continued source of startup capital. Fund III will be managed by Yaletown Partners with the support of The A100, the same investment team that oversaw Fund II. “We are excited to announce Accelerate Fund III, especially at such a moment of economic and global health uncertainty,” commented Kristina Williams, CEO of Alberta Enterprise Corporation. “The fund is a great early-stage capital resource for the rapidly-growing Alberta tech sector. With this latest deployment of capital, we invite early stage tech companies to stay and grow here, and to expand Alberta’s technology jobs and innovation.”

Alberta Reports Best Year on Record by 40%

After years of building a solid foundation, Alberta’s tech ecosystem is gathering meaningful momentum. 2019 was a record-breaking year for the province of Alberta, which posted a 10-year high of VC startup investment activity, with a total annual volume of $227 million spread across 39 deals. This was a 40% increase over the next closest year on record ($162 million in 2013) according to theCanadian Venture Capital Association (CVCA) 2019 Venture Capital Overview Report. 

 CVCA Venture Capital Overview Report 2019

  • Average deal size in Alberta was $5.8M, higher than the Canadian average of $5.6M when mega-deals were excluded (with Alberta average deal size increasing by 61% over last year’s $3.6M).  
  • Alberta Enterprise portfolio funds Inovia Capital and Panache Ventures were again identified among the most active funds in Canada in 2019 based on number of deals.

PwC MoneyTree Canada Report 2019

  • PwC/CB Insights MoneyTree Canada 2019 reported Calgary startups raised $117 million USD ($157 million CDN) in H2 2019, driven by both larger deal size and an increase in deal activity (which doubled!).
  • Unsurprisingly, the report found that early and seed-stage deals made up 50% of Calgary funding in H2 2019.

Highest Growth Rate: Total Deal Volume & Number of Deals 

Alberta also saw the highest 3-year average growth rate of total VC deal volume in Canada at 84%, when compared with the leading provinces of BC (71%), Ontario (18%) and Quebec (20%), even when mega-deals are included. In addition, Alberta had the highest growth rate for total number of deals, both in 2019 and across a 3-year average, across all Canadian provinces! (St. Johns Newfoundland-based startup Verafin’s $515M raise from September was excluded, as this deal was primarily private equity.)

For the first time ever, Calgary was included as a top 5 city for Canadian VC in 2019, being ranked fourth for total deal volume both in the CVCA 2019 Venture Capital Overview and PwC MoneyTree Reports for the full year 2019. This growth of both total deal volume and number of deals is a clear indication that Alberta’s early stage tech ecosystem is demonstrating maturation. 

Notable 2019 Alberta Investment Deals

  • Ambyint, Calgary/Houston – Provides step-change improvements to oil & gas production volumes and operating expenses with production optimization technology spanning all well types and artificial lift systems. Ambyint utilizes a combination of advanced physics, subject matter expertise, and artificial intelligence to enable full-field visibility, control, and optimization of wells. With deployments in all major North American basins, the company announced a $15 million USD ($19.9 million CDN) Series B funding round on February 4, 2020 led by Cottonwood Venture Partners with participation from Mercury Fund and Ambyint’s management team. Ambyint is a Builders VC investment. Builders VC is an Alberta Enterprise portfolio fund.
  • Communo, Calgary – Operator of North America’s fastest growing talent platform & community- intended to help advertising and digital agencies source talent based on a host of compatibility factors. Communo’s app-based marketplace provides small & large agency owners access to tens of thousands of vetted creative professionals, tens of millions of dollars of project-based work, and valuable training and professional development resources to help firms grow more profitably. In December 2019, Communo secured over $3.3 million in seed funding, bringing their total raised to $4.3M, including investment from notable investors Andrew Kortina – founder of Venmo, CEO of Complex Rich Antoniello, W. Brett Wilson, Kevin Weatherman, Frank Palmer, and ICM Asset Management (Alberta). Communo is a Panache Ventures investment. Panache Ventures is an Alberta Enterprise portfolio fund.
  • Decisive Farming, Irricana – An integrated digital farm management platform solution that connects farmers, farm service and technology providers in one collaborative software platform. The platform acts as the farmer’s primary operating system. It supports everything from planning & budgeting, variable rate fertilizer & seeding, agronomic soil testing, field & inventory management, weather, sensors and crop marketing. Decisive Farming is committed to increasing farmer profitability, sustainability and technology ease-of-use. The platform currently has over six million acres, being used on 40 different crop types in North America and the firm has strategic partnerships with leading distributors across the agriculture value chain.  The company was acquired for an undisclosed amount by TELUS on December 12, 2019. Decisive Farming is a McRock Capital and Accelerate Fund I (AFI) investment, both Alberta Enterprise funds.
  • Ingu Solutions, Calgary – Developer of miniaturized mobile sensors intended to provide oil and gas companies immediate and affordable access to pipeline assets. The company’s inline sensors detect leaks, geometric defects and deposits that threaten pipeline performance and safety with zero-downtime, enabling companies to eliminate human intervention, reduce inspection costs, strengthen preventive maintenance and lower repair and replacement expenditures. Ingu Solutions secured an undisclosed amount of growth capital from Energy Innovation Capital, Chevron Technology Ventures, Bluesky Equities and other investors November 5, 2019.
  • Osperity (formerly Osprey), Calgary – Developer of a cloud-based platform designed to offer intelligent visual monitoring services. The company’s platform detects important operational events, analyzes related images and video with advanced computer vision along with data from other sensors and systems, enabling organizations to remotely inspect facilities and equipment, monitor site activity, optimize labor productivity and ultimately increase and manage more assets with fewer people. The company secured a $6 million funding round from Evok Innovations, InterGen Capital, Shell Ventures and Texas Ventures, closing December 2019. Osperity is a Builders VC investment. Builders VC is an Alberta Enterprise portfolio fund.
  • ParkChamp, Calgary – Parking optimization software using intelligent software solutions that allows any property to offer secure public parking saving properties money and operation costs, secured undisclosed seed funding from Birchcliff Ventures Q4 2019.
  • Smart Access, Edmonton – Smart Access helps large retailers unlock operational efficiencies by empowering their frontline workers with the right information, at the right time, in the right place. On December 30, 2019, they secured $1.5 million CDN in seed funding from Accelerate Fund II, Panache Ventures, Sprout Fund, Birchcliff Partners, Bluesky Equities, and Hummer Winblad. Smart Access is an Accelerate Fund II and Panache Ventures investment. Both are Alberta Enterprise Portfolio Funds.
  • Veerum, Calgary – Developer of an industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) platform designed to increase capital project productivity. The company’s platform uses digital twin technology and artificial intelligence to create a virtual replica of a physical project or environment that can be used to simulate, operate, and analyze actual or planned operations, while also building a single source of project truth. Veerum secured $2.5 million USD in funding from Evok Innovations, Suncor, Cenovus, InterGen Capital, plus previous investors including Brick and Mortar Ventures, Blackhorn Ventures, Builders VC and Creative Ventures. Veerum is a Builders VC investment. Builders VC is an Alberta Enterprise Portfolio Fund.
  • Virtual Gurus, Calgary – Owner and operator of a virtual service company intended to offer a full range of administrative, receptionist, social media, bookkeeping, and web development services. The company raised $1.2 million CDN in seed funding from Calgary investment collective The51, Vancouver-based Raven Indigenous Capital Partners, and Ryan Lailey in February 2020.
  • ZeroKey, Calgary – Developer of VR technology product intended to revolutionize human interaction with machines. The company’s technology provides wide-area, continuous, real-time and ultra-high accuracy positioning within large spaces and buildings, enabling companies in the AR/VR, manufacturing, supply chain management and logistics industries to solve automation, process optimization, digitization and a wide array of other enterprise/industrial problems easily. ZeroKey secured $565,827 USD in convertible debt from undisclosed investors December 30, 2019.

How to Find Alberta Companies  

Start Alberta is a free and open source dealflow directory that provides an ideal medium for international investors to connect with Alberta entrepreneurs and identify investment opportunities. A strategic partnership between Start Alberta and Crunchbase expands Alberta’s richest database for the startup community – giving Alberta entrepreneurs even greater exposure to national and international investors. Under this partnership, Start Alberta’s database is directly linked to Crunchbase – which reaches over 55 million investment professionals worldwide. 

The Start Alberta platform is stewarded by the Venture Capital Association of Alberta (VCAA) and Platform Calgary, with the mandate to connect investors to a diverse pool of startups, fostering connections that otherwise could not be made.  

About Alberta Enterprise Corporation:

Alberta Enterprise Corporation promotes the development of Alberta’s venture capital industry by investing in venture capital funds that finance early-stage technology companies. We focus on funds that have a strong commitment to Alberta, including a full-time presence in the province. In addition to capital, we support Alberta’s venture capital ecosystem by connecting investors, entrepreneurs, and experienced technology executives who share our passion for building a bright, innovative Alberta.

Since our inception we have committed C$198 million for investment to sixteen VC funds and the Accelerate Funds I, II and III, covering a diverse range of forward-looking industries including information technology, industrial technology, and life sciences. Our funds and their partners have invested more than $550 million into Alberta technology companies.

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