2023 is in the rearview mirror and we can safely say it was a good year for the Calgary tech community and for Alberta’s tech scene as a whole. Of note, the city has earned a ranking among the world’s top 60 emerging startup ecosystems by Startup Genome, a global policy and research organization.
We have much to look forward to across the province in 2024 and what better way to kick off the year than to detail our watchlist of 10 homegrown startups.
This year’s list includes tech companies specializing in everything from smart thermostats to construction industry intelligence, and from a mobile queuing solution to solar panels. Of course, a few AI-related ventures have joined our list this year.
AITHR has developed subprime pairing approval software for dealerships and their non-prime clients, which is paired with the AITHR HUB—a place for independent dealerships to list inventory for customers’ subprime approvals. And yes, “AI” is in their name by design.
Founded by Ted Lam, who boasts two decades of experience in the automotive industry, the company received accolades with the Alumni’s Choice Award at Calgary’s Launch Party by Platform in 2023. The startup is looking to alleviate pressure in Canada’s automotive industry by streamlining inventory access and empowering financing for subprime auto lenders.
Named after British engineer, mathematician, physicist and inventor, Hertha Ayrton, the company is changing the way hydrogen is transported and stored. Ayrton is developing a first-of-its-kind liquid organic hydrogen carrier (LOHC) to enable the safe, efficient, and scalable delivery of hydrogen over long distances.
Founder and CEO Natasha Kostenuk plans to capitalize on Alberta’s position as the largest hydrogen producer in Canada. Having recently closed a successful round of funding, the company was recently named a Foresight 50 venture. Other 2023 accolades include winning the Seed Venture Pitch Award at the MaRS Climate Impact Conference and participating at Rice University’s Energy Tech Venture Forum.
Diving into the complex world of raising private capital, DealPoint has emerged as a beacon for companies raising equity, angel network syndication, and registered investment dealers navigating this intricate journey. DealPoint’s platform digitizes investor onboarding and investment execution, bringing efficiency to the complicated, paper-based fundraising process.
The disruptor is making inroads. The company took home first place and $125,000 in funding at the Calgary Fintech Awards competition in 2023. DealPoint founder Sandi Gilbert says that helping other entrepreneurs is in Calgary’s DNA, making it a unique place to build a fintech startup. We can expect more traction from the company this year.
Founded by two former heavy machinery engineers (Ramin Tajallipour and Patrick Williamson), ENA Solution is reimagining climate control in commercial and industrial buildings. Its flagship product, ENASTAT, is the smartest thermostat designed specifically for businesses and the winner of awards from International Good Design and IDA. The company was a winner at The Launch Party in 2023 as it took home the People’s Choice Award.
The company has grown rapidly since inception, installing thousands of ENASTATS for businesses small and large across all 50 U.S. states and 7 Canadian provinces. With continued innovation and investment, ENA Solution will be pursuing even more aggressive growth in its mission to transform the way business facilities are managed and controlled.
MedEssist is creating better ways for pharmacies to provide a personal experience for loyal patients with their clinical solutions, business tools and support team. Their intuitive platform is enabling community pharmacies to provide personalized care to diverse and underserved communities.
Founded by Joella Almeida and Michael Do, the company was nurtured at University of Toronto’s Health Innovation Hub accelerator. Big news for the company has recently been related to Calgary. The company was one of the Top 10 startups announced for the 2023 Launch Party. The company recently partnered with Calgary’s Helcim to simplify payment processes for independent pharmacies. MedEssist is an alumni of the Google for Startups Accelerator program.
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This Calgary startup is looking to advance tech adoption across outdated industries such as construction and manufacturing—where excel spreadsheets still dominate and finding new business is a mix of grinding out manual research and dead end cold calls. Mercator AI’s real-time intelligence platform promises a faster way for construction companies to find and qualify new business opportunities.
The company recently concluded a collaborative beta program with mid-sized general contractors across North America to deliver a tailored solution for the industry’s needs. Its platform is now available to contractors in Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver, Edmonton, and Austin, Texas. In 2023, the company raised $5.1 million in a seed round and its founder and CEO Chloe Smith was named “most promising founder” at the Start Alberta Tech Awards.
A team of entrepreneurs and healthcare experts is seeking to improve dentistry in Canada through adoption of emerging technology. OraQ AI offers a clinical decision support system that aims to improve patient care through leveraging AI and machine learning in the dental sector.
The Calgary-based startup was founded by Dr. Amreesh Khanna, Dr. Mike Parchewsky, and Wayne Madhlangobe with a mission to empower forward-thinking dental professionals to make the best decisions for their patients and their practices. The company won the Alex Raczenko Pitch Award at the Launch Party in 2023.
Quickly is an Early Payment Platform (EPP) provider for small and mid-sized businesses and the debt and equity financing will support recruiting efforts, U.S. expansion, and growth for the company.
Founded by Kyle Friedman and Ammar Memon, the fintech company has raised a $10 million seed financing round led by Thin Air Labs, with participation from Plug And Play and ATB Financial among others. EPPs enable organizations to seamlessly integrate an early payment program into their supply chain, granting vendors access to early payments while they participate in cost-saving discounts. The company was one of 12 fintech firms competing in the Calgary Fintech Awards in 2023.
WaitWell digitizes service delivery by allowing people to join a line using their mobile device or an on-site kiosk and get text notifications about their wait time and other pertinent information related to the service. In 2023 Waitwell secured seed funding of $1.5 million from Toronto’s Graphite Ventures and Edmonton’s Accelerate Fund III. The state of Nevada has selected WaitWell to reduce lineups at its DMVs with the deal expected to double the company’s revenue for a fourth year in a row.
The company earned accolades at the Start Alberta Tech Awards in 2023 as the A100 One to Watch. This award recognizes an Alberta early-stage company that is the “most likely to succeed” as nominated by the Alberta tech community and chosen by A100 Charter Members. Co-founder and CMO Shannon Vander Meulen was also recognized with a “Woman in Tech” award.
Solar energy has quite the profile right now, and especially in Alberta, where sustainability and innovation converge at Zeno Renewables—a Calgary-founded residential solar solutions provider with a goal of providing solar solutions on 1 million homes by 2040. The company has over 200 members and operates in four cities across Canada.
With a commitment to environmental consciousness and cutting-edge technology, the company is positioned at the forefront of Canada’s energy diversification. Zeno Renewables has received some impressive recognition with an EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award for the Prairies region in 2023 and co-CEOs Gursh Bal and Kai Fahrion have been recognized as part of Avenue Magazine’s Calgary Top 40 Under 40.