Alberta is a global tech hub

Alberta’s tech innovators and entrepreneurs are leading digital transformation across the province and the world.

Enabled by a robust talent pipeline, academia collaborations and a strong and supportive ecosystem, Alberta’s innovators and entrepreneurs are developing technologies to solve the greatest global challenges. Embedded throughout the entire economy and leveraging the province’s existing expertise in energy, agribusiness, finance and logistics, Alberta tech companies are leading the digital transformation of these sectors.

With startups clustering around established tech firms that have relocated to the province, Alberta has grown into a global tech hub — and investment is following. The province experienced a record-breaking year for venture capital investment in 2020, and home to over 3,000 tech companies. As the tech sector continues to mature and gain critical mass, Alberta is the place to be.

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Alberta Stories

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Alberta offers the ideal environment right now to launch or scale a tech company. A young, diverse and educated workforce, great quality of life and a cohesive ecosystem provide businesses with a solid foundation for success. 

Alberta’s spending on digital transformation (DX) is set to surpass $20B between 2021-2024, a forecast of 13% year over year growth.

Calgary, Alberta

Photo by Thiago Terleski on Unsplash

Record-Breaking Investment into Province

Alberta’s tech sector is maturing and investors are taking note. In 2020, the province experienced a record-breaking year for venture capital investment. Four Calgary-based tech companies, Benevity, Solium Capital (now Shareworks by Morgan Stanley), RS Energy Group (now Enverus Intelligence Research Inc.), Parvus Therapeutics have reached unicorn status over the last few years.

Alberta is well-positioned to attract global tech firms to scale up their North America footprint while attracting investment into early-stage tech startups. It is home to the second most private equity firms in the country and boasts policies and incentives that mirror its entrepreneurial mindset. Team Alberta including Alberta Innovates, Alberta Enterprise Corporation (AEC) and regional partners have recently joined forces to launch Start Alberta and a pan-provincial scaleup and growth accelerator program, as part of the broader vision to strengthen the Alberta innovation ecosystem.

Alberta companies received $36B in PE and $1.3B in VC in 2020

Leader in AI research and adoption

Edmonton is one of three national hubs at the core of the Government of Canada’s Pan-Canadian AI Strategy — designed to leverage and grow the country’s expertise in AI and machine learning.

The University of Alberta has ranked third in the world for AI research for 25 years.

DeepMind, Google’s AI subsidiary, cited the incredible talent emerging from university when choosing Edmonton for its first research lab located outside the UK.

The province’s AI ecosystem is supported by the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (Amii), which brings together academics and entrepreneurs to advance the adoption of AI. Amii has been critical to attracting the talent, innovation and capital needed to grow Edmonton into a global AI hub.

Talent

Alberta’s tech sector is supported by a diverse, highly educated workforce and top universities

Robust workforce

Alberta is home to over 170,000 tech workers, 7% of all employment (CompTIA Cyberprovinces, 2020)

Ranked third in the world for AI research

The University of Alberta was ranked third in the world for AI research for 25 years

Highest ranked computer science program in Canada

86% increase in enrolment to the University of Alberta’s computer science program since 2015

Diverse talent

50% of startups have at least one founder who identifies as a visible minority and 4% who identify as Indigenous (AEC, 2021)

Strong tech talent pipeline

Over 9,000 STEM students graduate annually from 10 post-secondary schools

Moving toward gender parity

27% of Alberta tech companies have at least one female-identifying founder — 35% higher than the global average (AEC, 2021)

Dynamic cities

Strong ecosystems are establishing in Alberta’s largest cities

Edmonton

Edmonton’s tech ecosystem is deeply intertwined with its academic and research institutes. With the top computer science school in the country and a global leading AI institute, Edmonton is one of Canada’s top technology hubs. Edmonton’s advantages as a tech city include:

Growing tech workforce

Edmonton counts 25,200 tech workers — a 17% growth in the last 5 years

Leader in AI

One of three national hubs at the core of the Government of Canada’s Pan-Canadian AI Strategy

Home to Google DeepMind

DeepMind opened its first research lab outside the UK in Edmonton

Cutting-edge nanotechnology

National Research Council of Canada’s Nanotechnology Research Centre located at the University of Alberta

Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (Amii)

Amii brings together academics and entrepreneur to advance the adoption of AI in Alberta

Health City

Edmonton-based not-for-profit that coordinates efforts of researchers, tech innovators and entrepreneurs to develop new technologies

Calgary

Calgary is an emerging tech hub. The city is leveraging its technical expertise to solve global challenges, with critical mass clustering around its established fintech and healthtech ecosystems. Calgary’s advantages as a tech city include:

Fastest 5G network

The fastest 5G download speeds of any city in the Western Hemisphere (Open Signal, 2021)

Robust workforce

The highest concentration of high-tech workers in Canada (Brookfield Institute, 2019)

Affordable office space

The most affordable downtown office space of any major Canadian city

Advancing quantum technology

The University of Calgary’s Institute for Quantum Science and Technology hosts 15 research groups making advancements in quantum technology

Leading the digital transformation

Calgary companies expected to spend $7.5B on digital transformation from 2019-2022 (Calgary Economic Development, 2020)

Business friendly

As the most entrepreneurial province in Canada, Alberta connects innovators with capital to turn ideas into reality

2nd

Alberta is home to the second most private equity firms in the country. (Canadian Venture Capital & Private Equity Association, 2021)

$36B

Private equity invested in Alberta companies in 2020 (Canadian Venture Capital & Private Equity Association, 2021)

$1.3B

Venture capital investments made in Alberta companies in 2020 (Canadian Venture Capital & Private Equity Association, 2021)

$16M

Invested by The51 — a Calgary investment platform looking to change the gender disparity in venture capital

Alberta is the most entrepreneurial province in Canada

A strong, collaborative ecosystem

Alberta’s tech entrepreneurs are supported by collaborative ecosystems and a growing number of incubator programs, designed to accelerate the growth of small- and medium-sized tech companies.

Areas of Focus

Cleantech

  • Carbon capture, use and storage
  • Low-carbon hydrogen production
  • Solvent extraction technology
  • Methane reduction
  • Emerging geothermal

As a global energy leader, Alberta is leveraging its expertise to accelerate the global transition to a low-carbon economy. The province is a hub for the trillion-dollar cleantech industry.

Agritech

  • Advanced monitoring
  • Big data
  • IoT-based sensor networks
  • Satellite photography and sensors
  • Computer vision and spectral analytics
  • Hydroponics

Home to a thriving agricultural sector, Alberta’s innovators collaborate with farmers to increase yields, find efficiencies and promote sustainability through increased connectivity and data.

Fintech

  • Cryptocurrency & blockchain
  • Digital transformation of financial sector
  • Equity financing
  • Green financing

Calgary’s growing fintech sector is made up of the world’s most prominent finance players intermixed with exciting fintech startups — all supported by a skilled workforce.

AI & Communications tech

  • Nanotechnology & micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS)
  • Intelligent automation
  • Artificial intelligence and machine learning
  • Internet of Things
  • Machine vision

Working closely with the AI and IOT sector, Alberta’s emerging robotics industry is developing integrated and responsive systems to improve supply chains, energy, healthcare and manufacturing.

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Alberta is home to some of country’s biggest tech firms and most innovative startups

Whether it’s fintech or growing sustainable food, Alberta’s tech companies are disrupting some of the world’s biggest sectors. Our tech entrepreneurs are driven, passionate and collaborative.

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