“Edmonton is an inclusive city of innovators tackling global challenges such as the climate emergency, public health, and food security. Our entrepreneurs are creating local solutions that also meet international demand and are attractive to enlightened investment the world over.”
Despite global slowdowns, Edmonton technology and innovation companies continue to attract the interest of investors. Venture capital investment pulled in $76.3 million across 23 deals in 2022, and Edmonton continues to grow its reputation as a low-cost, high quality-of-life destination for startups looking to access young, educated talent.
Edmonton’s ecosystem is anchored by Edmonton Unlimited, the City-funded innovation agency responsible for ecosystem-building, and approximately 20 other support organizations, including Startup TNT, Amii and Health Cities. The city is also home to seven post-secondary institutions, including the University of Alberta, which is known for excellence in AI, machine learning, Life Sciences, and Cleantech.
In May 2022, the Edmonton ecosystem received an injection of CA$4.9 million ($3.6 million) from Alberta Innovates through the Edmonton Regional Innovation Network (ERIN) to Edmonton Unlimited. The funding is earmarked to deliver programming and support to build startups and solutions for global demands.
Edmonton Unlimited also received approximately CA$780,000 ($570,000) from PrairiesCan and CA$1.8 million ($1.3 million) from the Government of Alberta for Capital City Pilots, a novel collaboration with the City of Edmonton to develop, promote and market a novel procurement experiment where startups can test their innovative intellectual property while improving municipal property. A prominent funding deal in Edmonton includes scheduling software startup Jobber’s $100 million in growth capital. This all-equity deal more than doubles Jobber’s last valuation of $300–$400 million when it raised $60 million in early 2021. It’s the first nine-figure financing of 2023 for a Canadian tech company and Edmonton’s single largest venture deal of all time.
Ecosystem by the Numbers
AI, Big Data & Analytics
The Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (Amii) is a world leader in research and part of the Pan-Canadian AI Strategy, the world’s first national AI strategy, as well as home to the Amii AI Career Accelerator. In early 2023, Amii announced that the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research had committed CA$30 million ($22 million) over five years to expand Amii’s research program, including hiring 20 new AI faculty members at the University of Alberta.
Around 60% of Alberta’s Life Science companies are based in the Edmonton area. Support organizations include Applied Pharmaceutical Innovation, which provides support to researchers and startups in drug development, and the University of Alberta’s Health Innovation Hub. Health Cities creates pathways for health technology companies to test and validate their solutions in clinical settings, accelerating them to market. Edmonton-based biotech startup Future Fields raised CA$15.1 million CAD ($11.2 million) in a seed extension funding round in Feb 2023.
The Edmonton Region Hydrogen HUB has a goal to develop the low-carbon hydrogen economy. The Commercial Vehicle Demonstrations Project provides commercial carriers with opportunities to use hydrogen-fueled trucks and analyzes the performance of hydrogen-fueled vehicles. Edmonton Global’s 5,000 Vehicle Challenge has a goal of 5,000 hydrogen- or dual-fuel hydrogen vehicles in Western Canada in five years. Air Products is building a hydrogen plant expected to come on-stream in 2024, and Aurora Hydrogena, a startup developing hydrogen-production technology, raised $10 million in a Series A fund in 2022.
Reasons to Move Your Startup to Edmonton
Edmonton was named Canada’s First UNESCO City of Learners, an educationally rich urban center offering lifelong learning pathways. Over 144,000 people in the Edmonton ecosystem are enrolled in post-secondary education and 62% of the labor force has post-secondary training. The University of Alberta is a global leader in high-tech research and is home to one of the world’s largest nanotechnology research centers.
The Experiential Learning in Innovation, Technology, and Entrepreneurship (ELITE) program, supports young Black founders, and the ANZA Black Entrepreneur Ecosystem also helps Black youth generate and develop business ideas. Alberta Women Entrepreneurs’ Bold Leadership Program supports female entrepreneurs who want to implement technology to improve their business. Edmonton Unlimited’s new downtown location is an inclusive space for networking and collaboration.
The cost of living in Edmonton is significantly less than other major Canadian cities, such as Vancouver and Toronto. The combined federal/provincial corporate income tax rate is 23% for general businesses and 11% for small businesses with revenues below $500,000. This is the lowest tax rate in Canada and among the lowest corporate tax rates in North America.
Selected Startup Organizations
Startup Genome Members
As the City of Edmonton’s innovation agency, Edmonton Unlimited positions Edmonton as an inclusive global innovation capital, supporting innovators as they create companies and solutions to solve the planet’s toughest challenges, including the climate emergency, public health, food security, digital inclusion, and Reconciliation. By providing local innovators with the right assistance at the right time, it helps Edmonton’s entrepreneurs translate their ideas into tangible, growing companies. These made-in-Edmonton solutions are uniquely designed to meet international market demands, attract enlightened investment, and bolster the city’s reputation as a destination-of-choice for entrepreneurs, accelerators, and bold multinationals. Edmonton Unlimited contributes to the city’s enduring economic vitality, resiliency, and identity, while also fueling jobs, economic opportunities, and civic pride for all Edmontonians.
News from the Ecosystem
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