Don’t call Edmonton fly-over country because people are heading directly to this hotbed of sizzling startups
A scout for the early global conglomerate Hudson Bay Company pitched a tent in the Edmonton area in 1754, but aboriginal Canadians have been in the area since about 12,000 BC. A major Hudson Bay trading post made Edmonton a hot spot by 1795, and the railroad station in 1891 helped even more. Now, nearly a million call Canada’s second largest city home.
The city become more important as Alberta’s massive oil, gas, and oil sands came into play with reserves second only to Saudi Arabia by some estimates. Oil and energy means engineers and Edmonton became one of the premiere research and development hubs in Canada.
Add in politicians since Edmonton is the capital of Alberta, along with money since it’s a financial center, and multiply by a 100,000 or so students in the local universities, and you good things happen. In this case, 10 tech startups.
Nothing’s more techy than Artificial Intelligence, and nothing’s more Internety than ecommerce. Granify infuses the second with the first to help sellers offer the best possible user experience to buyers.
AI and ecommerce draw venture interest like few other combos, and 21 investment groups have jumped on the bandwagon that started rolling on 2011. Six groups ponied up an unknown amount of venture funding in August 2012. November 2013 came with 18 funders pitching in $1.5 million in seed money, followed by $6 million in January 2015 from a convertible note. In May 2015 Valar Ventures returned with a couple partners plopped down $9 million in Series A bucks. Total so far is north of $13.6 million and counting.
Innovative Trauma Care
Humans can be fragile and clumsy, a bad combination, and Innovative Trauma Care is developing a medical device to stop one of the leading causes of death by trauma: uncontrolled bleeding. The iTClamp controls hemorrhages from almost any type of trauma.
Digging into the problem starting in 2010, ITC received $3.6 million in Series A funds from an unnamed source in December 2012. VA Angels flew in with $8.41 million of Series B bucks in October the next year, followed by another $1.1 million in Series B money the next month. Add in a convertible note in early 2015, and the total is nearly $13.2 million.
People randomly need services like alarms installed, plumbing fixed, or junk removed. Service business need to be found by those people, and Jobber makes that happen. Over 7 million people have used Jobber to get over $3 billion in services from companies relying on their quoting, scheduling, invoicing, and billing software.
One of many service-enabling firms that appeared after the iPhone became such a great mobile business tool, Jobber started their work in the fall of 2010. In January 2012 two investors appeared with $250k of seed money, followed a year later buy $500k. May 2014 arrived with $1 million in seed dollars, followed by $8 million Series A funds in November 2015. Job total to date is $7.65 million.
Tech companies love to “disrupt” old school businesses, and freight hauling is pretty old school. So Drivewyze took an old industry and figured out a way to bypass weight and inspection stations so safe drivers and approved trucks can keep driving rather than stopping and wasting time and money. All this in a subscription mobile phone app – even sweeter.
The journey started in 2011, and by August 2013 Emergence Capital Partners and iNovia Capital partnered for a Series A drop of $7.5 million. Just under a year later, another Series A placement of an unknown amount topped off the tank. The money gauge reads $7.5+ million.
People learn best when immersed in the subject matter, and nothing is more immersive than Virtual Reality. That’s why Serious:Labs uses VR to train workers in high-risk systems like crane operations with full VR and even phone-based tutorials.
Training efforts started back in 2005, way before good VR and even smartphones were available. United Rentals and Brick & Mortar Ventures partnered in August 2017 to deposit a very real $5 million into Serious:Labs (one report puts the total at $6.4 million).
Businesses talk workflow and paper reduction and that’s great, but schools and teachers could really use some of the electronic magic. Thanks to Showbie, they’re getting some hassle relief and making assignments and results easier for parents and students to access and understand.
Disrupting education is a common goal but rarely done successfully (see Kahn Academy for one example of greatness). Showbie started in 2013 with an undisclosed amount of seed funding , followed by $2.3 million in April 2015. May 2016 say another seed placement but no amount was disclosed. To date, investors have place $2.3 million plus a variable of some amount on the desk.
Augmented Reality can do more than pop up ads on your second-hand Google Glass toy. When powered by Scope AR employees at some of the world’s largest companies get trained easier and faster thanks to a real-time 3D overlay training solution
Founded in 2010, a bit early in the AR biz, it took Scope AR five year until they got $120k seed money in September 2015. Less than year later, July 2016, New Stack Ventures led a small VC group to augment their finances with the reality of $2 million more in seed money.
People love games but hate homework, especially on the job. Enter Trajectory IQ, sometimes tagged Rocketfuel Games, and its software that turns employee notifications and training materials into something fun that sneaks in some learning.
Games and gaming companies have been around for a while, and Trajectory IQ first started in 2006. But their cool idea to trick employees into learning earned $1.5 million from Foundation Equity Corporation, on top of some early seed bucks. Tahtnks to the pivot and some non-equity assistance from MetaBridge, the total investment is now somewhere over $1.5 million.
Everybody loves the cloud but everybody’s files still rotate on magnetic hard drives in the server room. Getting files to the cloud safely and quickly is tough, which is why Mover uses encryption and compression and other tricks to get files from server A to cloud B.
Long after the command-line heyday of FTP, Mover started in 2012 after receiving $40k in seed money. Two undisclosed amounts transferred in in May 2012, March 2013, and January 2014. In between, Double M Partners led a group moving $1 million in seed money to the company. While $1 million in the funding baseline, certainly those undisclosed seed placements add up to something healthy.
Every zombie apocalypse begins with an infection that rages out of control. While Fedora Pharmaceuticals doesn’t officially address zombie-causing viruses, they are focusing on Beta-Lactamase inhibitors to help Penicillin and other drugs work on a range of anti-microbial resistant bacteria.
The first test tube was filled back in 2012, and the only official venture placement listed is $200.1k seed money from an undisclosed investor. In 2017 Canada’s Industrial Research Assistance Program pitched in an unknown amount as a nonrefundable financial contribution. While that investment total looks tiny compared to the problem, Fedora and another company licensed some technology to global powerhouse Roche that may pay as much as $750 to the pair over time. So $200k+ today could become hundreds of millions later.