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Alberta diversifies

The 2016 deal flow study shows the market and revenues are expanding.

October 26, 2016   by PLANT Staff

Alberta may be suffering through the downturn in its energy industry, but there has been “significant growth” in technology investment, according to an Alberta Enterprise Corp. report.

The independent corporation invests in venture capital funds that finance early-stage tech companies on behalf of the Alberta government. Its 2016 Deal Flow Study, which polled 357 companies, shows the tech sector grew 48%, from 927 to 1,373 companies over the past four years. Calgary saw a 55% increase with Edmonton showing a similar surge of 39%.

Annual revenues are also up, with 20% of companies reporting more than $1 million, fundraising has matured with 33% raising more than $1 million, and 10% securing a Series A funding round.

The knowledge base of tech entrepreneurs is evolving. The study shows seven out of every 10 tech companies include at least one founder with previous start-up experience.

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The mix includes clean and energy tech, industrial hardware and materials, and software which experienced significant growth from 2012 to 2016. Software gained the most, up from 456 firms in 2012 to 735 today.

The Alberta government is providing more support for the expansion of the tech sector by: allocating $1.5 billion to ATB Financial to stimulate small business growth and $500 million to AIMCo for investment in growth companies; increasing its commitment to Alberta Enterprise by $75 million; providing a 30% investor tax credit; and cutting the small business tax rate cut from 3% to 2%.