October 16, 2023

Alberta Stories

Alberta: Where Venture Capital Meets Innovation

“Western Canada is severely undercapitalized with respect to the scope of top-tier engineering talent being attracted to the region. Calgary in particular has cemented itself as an emerging hub, with elite academic and enterprise ecosystem foundations.”  

– Nolan Van Nortwick, FUSE

Alberta’s venture capital landscape is experiencing remarkable growth and transformation, driven by substantial investments, a thriving tech sector, and a commitment to innovation. Often known for our abundant natural resources and thriving energy sector, Alberta is charting a course towards economic diversification and sustainability across multiple sectors.

“Venture capital investments in Alberta in the second quarter of 2023 saw 24 deals worth $208 million. This represents an 18 per cent increase in deal size over the same period last year, while the whole of Canada saw a 28 per cent decrease.”

– Nate Glubish, Minister of Technology and Innovation

The province’s diverse and dynamic start-up ecosystem is making Alberta an attractive destination for venture capital investment. With leadership from Alberta Enterprise Corporation to build a thriving venture capital industry in Alberta, venture capital funds that have a track record of success, strong global networks, and a demonstrated commitment to the province of Alberta are already receiving support to enhance the innovation economy.  

Venture capital and sustainability go hand-in-hand. Driven by a commitment to addressing the global challenge of climate change and reducing carbon emissions, Alberta is a hotbed for pioneering software solutions aimed at expediting sustainability efforts.  

Amplify Capital, a Toronto-based investment fund that is providing early-stage companies long-term equity solutions and operational support, is deepening its roots in Alberta by hosting office hours on a quarterly basis. This engagement follows their investments in future fields and carbon upcycling technology, signaling their commitment to nurture and support local sustainability-focused start-ups in the region.

“At Amplify Capital, we look for early-stage companies that offer massive impact opportunities. We’re bullish on Alberta’s accelerated innovation, underscored by our investments in Alberta-based climate tech companies Carbon Upcycling Technologies and Future Fields. Given the province’s robust education system, research centres, economic strength, and access to top talent, it’s clear why Alberta continues to attract funding. It’s a hotspot for accelerated innovation and the venture capital funds will keep flowing.”

– Kathryn Wortsman, Managing Partner, Amplify Capital

Alberta is a place where start-ups poised to be catalysts for change can freely contribute their innovative ideas and solutions. Venture capital firms, with their financial might and industry knowledge, are pivotal players. They are the lifeblood of start-ups and innovative projects, providing the funding needed to transform ideas into reality.

Flying Fish, a venture capital firm specializing in early-stage software start-ups, particularly those in the fields of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technology, has seized the potential in Alberta’s tech ecosystem by establishing a new office in the heart of Edmonton.

“We’re at the starting cusp of an exciting wave of AI companies being built and we think we’re here at the right time.”

– Tiffany Linke-Boyoko, Flying Fish

Where venture capitalists bring expertise and mentorship to the table, guide start-ups through the treacherous waters of entrepreneurship, and offer connections to potential customers and collaborators, Alberta offers an enticing blend of resource-rich opportunities in traditional and emerging industries. The provinces’ Western Canada location offers access to North American and global markets, a priority consideration for start-ups expanding internationally. Worldclass educational institutions also enhance the potential for cutting edge innovation.

Alberta is the province of opportunity in Canada. Calgary is the fastest growing tech talent market in North America, the region has major advantages vs. the US in tech employee cost (nearly 2:1), and the ecosystem is developing sectors of excellence that are exciting to investors like AI, AgTech, CleanTech. We see this momentum reflected in the data coming out of the province – 2022 was the 5th consecutive year of record VC activity in Alberta. Voyager expects these trends to continue.”

– Austin Guyette, Voyager Capital

Invest Alberta is proud to play a role in supporting venture capital firms, including by hosting events to support venture capitalists to discover the opportunities available in Alberta. Our team is leading an American investor delegation to the Banff Venture Forum October 18-19, 2023. This delegation includes venture and private equity funds from San Francisco, Seattle, Southern California, Texas, and the midwest – a diverse group of investors demonstrating the forum’s global significance and capacity to attract interest from key players in the venture capital and private equity sectors.

This builds on an event Invest Alberta hosted in 2023 along with the Venture Capital Association of Alberta that brought together tech industry leaders for a program of networking and exploring bold ideas and opportunities.

Venture Capital Association of Alberta (VCAA) conference
Alberta Invesment Forum at the Fairmont Chateau, Lake Louise, Feb 28-March 2, 2023
Alberta Investment Forum at the Fairmont Chateau, Lake Louise, Feb 28-March 2, 2023
Alberta Invesment Forum at the Fairmont Chateau, Lake Louise, Feb 28-March 2, 2023. Kristina Williams, Alberta Enterprise Corporate CEO, leads a discussion on macroeconomic trends with Terry Rock, CEO of Platform Calgary, and Michael Maier, Associate Dean, Alberta School of Business, University of Alberta.

Of course, investment opportunities available go beyond tech. Agriculture is a cornerstone of Alberta’s economy, and venture capital is already enabling start-ups to develop sustainable farming practices, precision agriculture technologies, and revolutionary food production methods. Alberta is also nurturing start-ups that focus on waste reduction and recycling technologies, with venture capital firms providing the financial backing needed to turn these ideas into reality.

Venture capital firms, with their financial clout and expertise, have an opportunity to expand the pivotal role they are already playing in helping start-ups and innovators to confront sustainability challenges head-on.

“We have been laser-focused on ensuring our province offers the best ecosystem for investors. Investments into Alberta ultimately create jobs, continue our economic momentum, and support local tech innovators. We are creating this ecosystem by decreasing red tape, providing low corporate tax rates, and ensuring Alberta’s workforce is ready to work in vital industries such as tech.”

– Nate Glubish, Minister of Technology and Innovation

Reach out to our team to learn more: info@investalberta.ca 

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