Edmonton-based Areto Labs is a women-led technology company that aims to make digital communities more positive. Their cutting-edge software monitors, detects, and counteracts online abuse to help protect users online, increase brand loyalty, heighten engagement, and bust trolls. Trusted by athletes, sports teams, influencers, and more, Areto Labs utilizes artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to analyze sentiment on social media, moderate spam, hate speech, and harassment, and deliver automated counteractions.

Before Areto Labs, Co-Founders Lana Cuthbertson, Kasey Machin, and Jacqueline Comer’s work with women in politics and advocacy for gender equality birthed ParityBOT – a Twitter bot that harnesses AI to detect and rate the toxicity of tweets aimed at women in public office and leadership roles. Instead of responding to each negative tweet, the bot encourages female candidate accounts to drown out the negativity.

In their entrepreneurial journeys, Lana, Kasey and Jacqueline dug deep into the ins and outs of running a tech startup while making hundreds of customer discovery calls. They realized what they had designed could help organizations grow inclusive new audiences, make data-driven decisions, and support people’s mental health, resulting in Areto Labs’ formation.

Areto helps individuals and companies identify and monitor online abuse and address instances of it through automated counteractions like muting, blocking, and reporting accounts responsible for spreading it. The startup’s software leverages machine learning (ML) technologies like sentiment analysis and natural language processing.

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What our technology does is help organizations address the risks that come to their business with the presence of online toxicity directed towards their spokespeople, brand ambassadors, or employees.

Areto Labs was a Cohort 1 participant (Winter 2022) in the TELUS Community Safety & Wellness (CSW) Accelerator first-of-its-kind accelerator bringing proven Silicon Valley programming to support ventures that leverage AI / ML solutions aimed at positive social impact. Delivered in partnership with AlchemistX, the Edmonton Police Foundation, and Alberta Innovates, the TELUS CSW Accelerator is a part of Alberta Innovates’ Alberta Scaleup and Growth Accelerator Program (Scaleup GAP).

Alongside Areto Labs, tech startups from around the world, including Alberta startups PALcares and Pedesting participated in Cohort 1 of the CSW accelerator program to gain insights on further business development and mentorship opportunities for their technology startups that provide social, community or wellness benefits. Over 12 weeks, Areto Labs explored innovative social outcomes using their data, software, AI/ML, mentorship, and community agencies to fast-track their innovative solutions and scale rapidly for continued growth.

The results we're seeing now are because of the great investment we've seen so far in Alberta. I think this is evidence that we can double this on a number of fronts! Let's take a leap of progress to continue this [TELUS Community Safety & Wellness Accelerator] investment, because it can shape the future of not just our province, but the whole world.

After spending a year and a half developing its online abuse detection and remediation solution and working with initial customers, Areto Labs closed its first round of venture financing. In 2022, the social enterprise startup raised CAD 1 million in pre-seed funding to bring its solution to more sports teams and organizations—the company’s first major target market. In addition to this $1 million, Areto Labs is looking to secure another $500,000 for further progression. Areto Labs plans to use the proceeds to grow its product team, invest in research and development, and expand its sales to sports teams and organizations across Canada and Europe.

In addition to Lana’s progression with Areto Labs, she sits on the Innovation Growth Council (IGC) for Edmonton Unlimited, a council dedicated to exploring and connecting the diverse range of innovators in Edmonton to unlock support areas and potential.

To learn more about Areto Labs, please visit www.aretolabs.com

Scaleup GAP provides end-to-end business support services for growth-oriented companies just starting out or for those looking to grow companies who are just fleshing out their business plans all the way to organizations who need advice or investment to help them grow globally. Five accelerators were brought to Alberta in 2021/2022 to bridge the scaleup gap, including Alberta Accelerator by 500Plug and Play AlbertaTelus Community Safety and Wellness Accelerator powered by AlchemistX, Thrive Canada Accelerator and Alberta Catalyzer, an early-stage pre-accelerator. 

Read the full release to learn more about Scaleup Gap’s first two years of impact and success.

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