These are two findings in the Alberta Enterprise Corporation’s 2021 Alberta Technology Deal Flow Study that reveals the number of technology companies in the province has more than doubled since 2012. The majority – 58 per cent – are located in Calgary, 30 per cent are in Edmonton and almost 13 per cent are in other regions of the province.

Alberta’s technology industry is showing signs of maturity, with almost 40 per cent of local tech companies surveyed exceeding revenues of $1 million, a 66 per cent increase since 2018. Over the last two years, the number of companies with 25 or more employees has increased from 13 per cent to 25 per cent. Fourteen per cent of those companies were founded in 2020.

“It’s great to see more than double the number of companies identified in the 2021 study. Alberta’s tech sector is maturing rapidly and it is now a real driver of employment and diversification. We don’t just want to be a player in Canada’s tech space – we want to become a dominant player going forward.”

Doug Schweitzer, Minister of Jobs, Economy and Innovation

“Over the last two years we’ve seen record-breaking venture capital investment in Alberta and we have seen a tremendous increase in the number of technology companies since we first started measuring. These milestones demonstrate that our technology sector is resilient and has growth momentum. Investors are choosing to invest in Alberta’s founders and those women and men are successfully starting and growing innovative companies here.”

Kristina Williams, president and CEO, Alberta Enterprise Corporation

Among the data the Alberta Enterprise Corporation was watching closely was the diversity of company founders. Two years ago, the report showed 30 per cent of tech companies in Alberta had a female founder or co-founder. The 2021 report showed almost the same proportion of female leadership, suggesting inclusivity is one of the cultural advantages of Alberta – placing it ahead of the global average of 20 per cent.

The Alberta Enterprise Corporation initiated the Alberta Tech Deal Flow Study in 2012 with a goal to provide industry stakeholders with a reliable report for measuring the health, growth and composition of the Alberta technology and innovation sector. The 2021 study is the fourth edition, co-authored this year with PwC Canada with the same team that produced the PwC MoneyTree Canada Report.

Key 2021 Technology Deal Flow Study findings

  • Tech sector size and cities – There are currently 3,083 tech companies in Alberta (compared to 1,238 companies identified in the 2018 study). Most companies operate in our two largest cities – 1,776 in Calgary and 918 in Edmonton.
  • Tech company financing – 43 per cent of Alberta’s technology startups are at the pre-seed or seed stage and 43 per cent have raised at least US $1 million to date.
  • Tech company growth – 40 per cent of survey respondents have achieved profitability and 38 per cent of companies reported revenue greater than $1 million in the last fiscal year.
  • Tech jobs – Between 2018 and 2020, the number of companies with 25 or more employees increased from 13 per cent to 25 per cent.
  • Tech founders – The average age of Alberta’s startup founders is 43 and 68 per cent have previous startup experience. Almost 30 per cent of Alberta companies have female founders or co-founders, and 35 per cent of the companies that achieved profitability in the last two years were founded by women.
  • Tech type – 67 per cent of Alberta companies are developing software, many for business-to-business enterprise applications. A significant proportion of companies are integrating digital technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning (36 per cent) and big data (27 per cent) into their products and services.
  • Investment sources – Alberta tech firms raised capital predominantly from local sources in Alberta, with 53 per cent of survey respondents identifying Calgary as a funding source and 32 per cent identifying Edmonton as a funding source.
  • Environmental, social and governance (ESG) impact – Startups strived to deliver ESG impacts in their product or service offerings: 39 per cent had an environmental benefit, 45 per cent had a social benefit, and 18 per cent had a governance benefit.

The 2021 Alberta Tech Deal Flow Study was made possible due to input from Alberta’s tech and venture capital firms and numerous organizations that make up the Alberta startup ecosystem.

Alberta Enterprise Corporation

The Alberta Enterprise Corporation (AEC) promotes the development of Alberta’s venture capital industry by investing in venture capital funds that finance technology companies.

The corporation focuses on funds that have a strong commitment to Alberta – including a full-time presence in the province. In addition to capital, it supports Alberta’s venture capital ecosystem by connecting investors, entrepreneurs and experienced technology executives who share a passion for building a bright, innovative Alberta.

Since its launch, AEC has committed $219 million in investment to 20 venture capital funds, covering a diverse range of forward-looking industries including information technology, industrial technology and life sciences.