How to stay in Calgary by aiming high for funding

Plus, what first-time investors need to know, and why 40-60% of emissions in Calgary and Edmonton come from existing buildings.

Welcome to this week's Sunday Briefing. In this issue, read about a Bill Gates-backed Calgary startup preparing for major scale-up, plus nine other stories you may have missed. Have a great day. We'll see you again on Wednesday.

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When shooting for funding targets, Canadians tend to aim low — at least compared to the massive deals chased by Americans. For Calgary-based GeologicAI, however, going big more than paid off.

CEO Grant Sanden, the Calgary Herald noted, wanted to keep his mining-tech company local and grow it from Alberta, rather than entertaining any offers to sell. And to do so, he needed investment.

Taking heed of the advice that prepping for a small deal takes the same amount of effort as a behemoth, Sanden looked to Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV), Bill Gates’ climate-focused venture firm, which has raised more than $2 billion and is backed in part by the ultra-wealthy, including Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson, and Michael Bloomberg.

GeologicAI’s tech fit rights in to BEV’s portfolio. The company builds core scanning tools for the mining and exploration industry, to make the process of analyzing data more time-efficient and accessible. According to Sanden, its tech can reduce mining process that typically take a year-and-a-half into just days. Doing so will have a huge impact on excavating minerals like lithium and copper, which are vital for clean energy power.

The team secured a $20-million investment from the Bill-Gates-backed fund — and next took $10 million more in September from Export Development Canada, the Herald says.

Now, the company is prepping to explode from a 175-person workforce to 2,000 employees globally over the next two years. Those people will be hired in mining centres like Chile, Brazil, Africa, and Australia, while GeologicAI keeps building its business from Calgary.

🗳️ Question of the Week

Which Calgary company was named to the 2024 Global Cleantech 100?

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🤝 Funding, Deals, and Partnerships

  • E3 Lithium Provides Grant Funding and Financial Position Update. Alberta’s leading lithium developer and extraction technology innovator shared an update on its financial position and the status of the government grants and investments. E3 Lithium

  • Applexus Expands Presence with New Office in Calgary. Applexus' focus on innovating in the SAP space and proven expertise in SAP ERP implementations has made it a preferred partner for leading brands worldwide. Aplexus Technologies

  • Megadeals power second year of high-tech investment in Alberta, while appetite for early-stage startups remains weaker. Alberta’s budding tech sector overcame a tricky 2023 to nearly match 2022’s record levels of venture capital and private equity investment, featuring an increase in megadeals and a more conservative investor approach to early-stage startups, early numbers show. Calgary Herald


Free Workshop: Raise Cleantech Capital

Attracting capital is often a major hurdle for cleantech startups. Join Foresight's Investor Readiness Program and set your company apart with expert advice from entrepreneurs and investors who will prepare you to meet with angels and VCs. Over four weeks, you'll gain the knowledge and confidence to successfully raise funding for your cleantech venture. Starts February 6, spots are limited.

📰 Need To Know

  • Calgary-based PurposeMed creates virtual solutions for equity in health care. The healthtech company is on a mission to make healthcare accessible, regardless of where you live or who you love. Calgary Economic Development

  • Calgary researchers using high-tech drones to map Alberta First Nation. Maps will help Frog Lake First Nation monitor environment and manage wildfire risk, says team. CBC News

  • Platform aims to help builders reduce emissions. The Alberta Ecotrust Foundation launched the Emissions-Neutral Building Information Exchange platform (ENBIX) to help the province’s construction industry learn how to create emissions-neutral buildings or retrofit existing ones to this standard. Taproot Edmonton

  • Danielle Gifford on expanding Canada’s investor funnel. Early-stage investing is fraught with steep risks and a long, uncertain path to returns, but those facts shouldn’t necessarily deter new entrants, according to Danielle Gifford, former executive director at Movement51. Betakit

  • Eavor, Ionomr Innovations, Summit Nanotech among 13 Canadian companies named to 2024 Global Cleantech 100. Calgary-based Eavor, a returning company to the 2024 list, closed $90 million from the federal government’s clean energy investment fund, which brought its Series B round to $182 million. Betakit

  • Calgary Mega Tech Meetup drawing different innovation groups together. The event is built in the image of massive Silicon Valley meetups, where tech giants vie for the chance to sponsor and host the best and brightest in their vast tech ecosystem. Livewire Calgary

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