Alberta’s technology and innovation sector continues to defy the odds, with a fifth consecutive record-breaking year for venture capital funding. Despite a downturn in the Canadian tech sector, the report issued by the Canadian Venture Capital & Private Equity Association highlighted a 20% increase from 2021 with $729 million in venture capital funding through 85 deals.
Calgary is at the forefront of the innovation scene, with 64 deals worth $647 million in investment in 2022. StellarAlgo, a company co-founded by Calgary native Vincent Ircandia, has just partnered with the National Basketball Association (NBA), which has taken an equity stake in the company. StellarAlgo provides a platform that helps teams improve fan engagement by using data. Ircandia believes this move confirms the validity of their Calgary-based company.
According to the report, the sector in Alberta is starting to mature and quality companies with good plans are still able to garner investment. James Lochrie, managing partner and co-founder of Thin Air Labs, which invests in startup firms, stated that “the downturn in investing is a flight to quality and a move away from speculation. I just expect Alberta (businesses) to continue to drive forward, maybe not setting records but still keeping the momentum behind them – despite the global financial pressures that we’re seeing in venture capital today.”
Alberta “Bucking the Trend” of National Tech Downturn
Despite national investment in the tech sector dropping in Ontario, Quebec, and British Columbia, Alberta is “bucking the trend” according to Technology and Innovation Minister Nate Glubish. The rest of the country is seeing a significant decrease while Alberta has seen record increases. The report shows that 12% of all venture capital deals done in Canada last year took place in Alberta, which is on par for the province’s population. While on a dollars-invested basis, it’s sitting around 7% of the national total, it shows that Alberta is just coming into its stride now.
Kristina Williams, CEO of Alberta Enterprise Corp, which was created by the province and invests in venture capital funds, noted that there’s been more than a 200% increase in startups across the province since 2012, expanding the “funnel” of domestic firms. She further stated that “we’re seeing more and more of what we call mega-rounds of funding over $50 million. Alberta is just kind of coming into its stride now.”
Alberta’s tech and innovation sector is standing out despite a national downturn in Canada’s tech sector. The province has set a fifth consecutive record for venture capital funding, with Calgary at the forefront of the innovation scene. Investors are taking note of the quality companies with good plans still garnering investments in Alberta, and the global downturn in investing is a flight to quality, away from speculation. As the tech sector in Alberta continues to mature, its momentum is expected to continue.
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