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Edmonton Startup Week’s Launch Party Returns for 12th Year, Positioning Ten Edmonton Startup Companies for Success

*Disclaimer: The following content was released using our former organization name Innovate Edmonton and/or program division Startup Edmonton, prior to the transition to our new brand and name, Edmonton Unlimited.

NEWS RELEASE | Edmonton, October 15, 2021


The twelfth annual Launch Party, produced by Innovate Edmonton and its program division Startup Edmonton, is the flagship event during Edmonton Startup Week, celebrating and showcasing Edmonton’s hottest startups. Since 2010, more than 100 companies have launched products and solutions at the event, including rapidly-growing companies like Jobber and Showbie.

This year’s event is no exception. With 10 companies chosen to participate after a competitive application and selection process, the following honourees will make their pitch at Launch Party, providing the founders with direct access to customers and investment:

Edmonton’s launch party companies typically outperform: 100% of the companies that launched during Edmonton Startup Week in the last three years are still thriving. This is in stark contrast to industry statistics, which states that 60% of companies fail within the first three years of business.

“Innovation is a team game,” said Innovate Edmonton CEO Catherine Warren. “With the local connectivity, support and exposure that companies receive during Startup Week, they have a strategic advantage — and a platform for sustainable growth. Successful startups spark job creation, investment stimulation, and Edmonton’s economic diversification.”

Poppy Barley, DrugBank and Taproot are among the many that have launched during Edmonton Startup Week and attribute their early success to their involvement at Launch Party.

“In 2012, we launched during Edmonton Startup Week and felt the support of the entire entrepreneurial community,” said Kendall Barber, Poppy Barley Co-Founder. “That week we acquired our first customer and our first investor. Since then, we have grown 30-50% year-over-year, which has allowed us to add to our team, open our first store and expand online.”

“In 2014, we launched as a different company, and while our first startup didn’t work out, Launch Party gave us the confidence to try again,” said DrugBank CEO Michael Wilson. “Fast forward five years and we are incredibly proud of our success. In the past year, we’ve closed an investment round, grown by 150% in people, doubled our revenue, and the startup community continues to celebrate our successes alongside us.”

“We launched during Launch Party seven in 2016, and it was the first time potential customers got to use our product in real life,” said Mack Male, Taproot Edmonton Co-Founder. “This allowed us to think through and distill our story, which played a big role in our future growth.”

Edmonton is primed for early-stage growth and global positioning as an innovation capital. With an educated population, high quality of life and low cost of living, Edmonton is a magnet for young talent and startups. Our local ecosystem is anchored by our post-secondary institutions and recognized strengths in artificial intelligence, big data, analytics and life sciences. Edmonton is also home to twenty startup support organizations and incubators, including Startup Edmonton, Scaleup Edmonton and Accelerate Edmonton, all of which operate under the Innovate Edmonton umbrella.

“With its high quality of life, low cost of living, and educated population anchored by the University of Alberta producing world-class AI talent, Edmonton is a magnet both to young tech talent and startups. Excitingly, Edmonton Startup Week brings together the city’s entrepreneurs and business leaders to celebrate and build on the ecosystem’s success. This year’s Global Startup Ecosystem Report found Edmonton created $435 million in Ecosystem Value with $89 million in total early-stage funding over the last 2.5 years,” shares JF Gauthier, Founder & CEO of Startup Genome.

“The world needs what Edmonton offers,” said Innovate Edmonton CEO Catherine Warren. “A passionate and vibrant community of entrepreneurs committed to sustainability, diversity and inclusion, aimed at tackling some of the world’s biggest challenges. By harnessing the power of the public and private sectors, ground-breaking academic research, and purpose-driven investment, together we are positioning Edmonton as a global innovation capital.”

“The past couple of years have shown us how resilient and healthy Edmonton’s startup community is,” said Puneeta McBryan, Downtown Business Association Executive Director. “Downtown is at a critical junction now and it’s exciting to see how the increased growth of our entrepreneurial ecosystem is playing a key factor in the economic recovery of the Downtown core and Edmonton’s overall economic competitiveness.” 

About Innovate Edmonton 

Headquartered in Alberta’s capital city, Innovate Edmonton leverages, unites, and promotes home-grown innovation as a gateway to solving the world’s most pressing problems. We harness the power of the public and private sectors, ground-breaking academic research, and purpose-driven investment to build a shared prosperity and open international markets. From sustainable climate solutions to public health and digital education, Edmonton is a leading global centre for inspiration, ingenuity, and inclusion. Learn more about Innovate Edmonton and Startup Edmonton, a division of Innovate Edmonton. 

About Downtown Business Association 

The Downtown Business Association of Edmonton (DBA) is a not-for-profit organization committed to advancing economic development and creating and promoting a remarkable, attractive Downtown experience through public programming, streetscape improvements and government advocacy. 

About DrugBank 

DrugBank augments human intelligence to improve the world’s health. Our products enable companies to improve healthcare delivery through precision medicine or clinical software applications and uncover insights through data science in drug discovery. We provide structured, curated pharmaceutical data and proprietary algorithms that provide data driven insights, allowing clinical software companies, pharmaceutical R&D, and biotech companies to drastically improve outcomes. Our publicly accessible resource, DrugBank Online, has been cited in over 10,000 academic publications and is used by millions of researchers and health professionals globally.

About Poppy Barley 

Poppy Barley is a Canadian company that stands for a new kind of luxury–luxury for the people and planet. By re-thinking every step, our sustainably-made products are fairly-priced and designed to be worn on repeat. Partnering with family-owned factories in Mexico and Europe, Poppy Barley ethically crafts products that last season-after-season.

About Taproot 

Taproot Publishing is a digital publishing company headquartered in Edmonton, Alberta. We’re building a pay-attention engine to help communities understand themselves better. Our flagship publication is Taproot Edmonton, a source of curiosity-driven original stories, curated newsletters on various topics, and locally focused podcasts, all in the service of informing Edmontonians about and connecting them to what is going on in their community. Taproot also serves the information needs of organizations around the world through Spotlight, our curated news briefing service. We use tech-enabled journalism to provide clients with actionable information where they are, when they need it, and delivered according to their preferences. 

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