'Changing the narrative': Cleantech Investment Summit returns

Companies offering products, services, or technology that reduce greenhouse gases have less than two weeks to apply for a spot at the second Cleantech Investment Summit, presented by Startup TNT and Foresight Canada.

"There's a lot of different sub-themes within cleantech," Zack Storms, co-founder of Startup TNT, told Taproot. It can include startups working in the traditional oil and gas sector or agriculture, as well as those working on alternative energy solutions or industrial processes to improve efficiency in mining, for example.

"We have (some of) Canada's largest oil and energy companies in Alberta — many of them are progressive and want to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, and they make perfect pilot partners for a lot of cleantech companies," he said.

Storms hopes that the summit will contribute to changing the narrative in Alberta, especially for those who want to build a career in energy or technology with a more sustainable mindset.

The event already has 25 verbal commitments from investors who want to put in funds. Many of them have oil and gas expertise, which is valuable for companies in this space because they can make introductions within the industry, explained Storms. He added that the sector-specific summits tend to draw a different type of business, one that might find it more challenging to compete against companies that can scale quicker.

"These types of companies (in cleantech) generally have longer commercialization timelines, more capital-intensive technologies and business models, and added complexities of doing things like hardware or going through regulatory processes," he said.

The goal is to draw in between 30 and 40 applications, with a larger geographic footprint than the previous year. It is now open to companies in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba.

Zack Storms speaks on streaming video with "AB Cleantech Investment Summit" in the background

Startup TNT co-founder Zack Storms presents at the first Cleantech Investment Summit in 2021, which focused on Alberta. (Startup TNT/YouTube)

The inaugural winner, ZS2 Technologies, has experienced success in the last year, as has Winecrush, which secured a side deal at the summit.

"(ZS2) is actually doing really well. They've raised some additional money at a higher valuation and they've got a really strong customer funnel," Storms said of the Calgary-based company, which landed $235,000 in investment.

"That helps them with just the cash alone, but also with momentum and making introductions."

Another verbal side deal that was announced with EZ Ops last year didn't go through.

Meanwhile, Edmonton-based Wyvern didn't make it to the top five but ended up raising more than $80,000 in individual side deals with investors that they met through the summit. The space data company recently raised US$4.5 million and was accepted into the Y Combinator technology accelerator.

The top 20 companies selected for this year's Cleantech Investment Summit will undergo a due diligence process with investors before the final 10 are announced on March 10. There's a company information session on Jan. 28 for those who are interested in learning more about applying.

The summit finale, where decisions about the winner and other potential side deals will be announced, is on April 7.

Startup TNT also named the top 20 companies for its first Life Sciences Investment Summit earlier this week. On the list from the Edmonton region are MACH32, Umay, SN Biomedical, and Exciton Technologies Inc. The Top 20 Pitch Night is on Feb. 3, followed by the summit on March 17.