Revenue-focused accelerator wins praise

· The Pulse

The latest accelerator to join Alberta's suddenly crowded field is getting rave reviews from some of the entrepreneurs who participated in its first cohort.

The Alberta Innovates Revenue Accelerator (TAIRA), run by San Francisco's GrowthX, is billed as "the only accelerator in Alberta (that is) 100% focused on helping founders win customers and grow revenue." The revenue focus made it attractive to Jason Suriano of TIQ Software, one of 13 Edmonton-based companies in the first cohort of the program.

"I've been in a few of these programs over the years, where it's somewhat more abstract," he said in an interview for a forthcoming episode of Taproot's Bloom podcast. "This is very specific to what is best for TIQ and Jason."

Suriano said the program has helped TIQ shift from enterprise software to software-as-a-service, with a narrower but more accessible niche.

"The program has just helped me clearly identify what our customer is, what they need, and now it's just a matter of me going after the first five or 10," he said. "It doesn't seem like some crazy mountain that I have to climb now."

Anthea Sargeaunt of 2S Water was similarly positive in a testimonial video on the TAIRA webpage. "We've moved from a pre-revenue company into revenue," she said of her water-quality data business. "I have more orders than I have sensors."

The next information session on TAIRA is scheduled for Sept. 19. Applications are due Sept. 30 for the 16-week program, which starts on Oct. 17.

A screen capture of a video testimonial from Anthea Sargeaunt

Anthea Sargeaunt of 2S Water, who was part of the first cohort of The Alberta Innovates Revenue Accelerator by GrowthX, spoke highly of the program in a testimonial video. (TAIRA)

TAIRA was established a few months after Alberta Innovates announced the creation of the Alberta Scaleup and Growth Accelerators Program, also known as Scaleup GAP, which saw the creation of three accelerators and a pre-accelerator program.

It's been great to see the influx, said Suriano, who didn't have access to such programs when he started his first company, Rocketfuel Games, in 2010. "I think it's awesome that they all exist," he said. "I just think that entrepreneurs like me have to be more focused on interviewing the accelerators, not just accepting them for who they are to see if they are a fit."

Here's an update on the various programs:

TELUS Community Safety and Wellness Accelerator

Applications for the next cohort were to close on Aug. 5, but the form will stay open until Aug. 12, Carla Howatt of the Edmonton Police Foundation told Taproot.

The first cohort saw 20 startups from seven countries, including Edmonton's Areto Labs and PALCares. It also saw the creation of the ScaleGood Fund, a $10-million social impact venture capital fund that invested in Areto Labs.

The program won a Start Alberta Tech Award for Most Significant Cross-Community Collaboration of the Year.

Plug and Play Alberta

Applications are open for the second batch, which is kicking off in September.

Two Edmonton companies — True Angle Medical and 2S Water — participated in the first batch, with True Angle winning the People's Choice Award in the health vertical at the accelerator's first Expo Day.

Plug and Play Alberta's sustainability vertical is participating in an Aug. 16 session on climate change and ESG investments. The accelerator has also recently announced partnerships with EECOL Electric and Boehringer Ingelheim.

Alberta Accelerator by 500

Applications for this accelerator run by 500 Global are currently closed, but startups are invited to fill out an interest form.

Four Edmonton companies — Air Trail, Cash 2 Crypto, The Public Food Hub Co., and Umay — were part of the first cohort, which wrapped up in March.

The program helped The Public sharpen its focus on the customer side of its equation, co-founder Ken Bautista told Bloom in April.

Alberta Catalyzer

Applications are open for the pre-accelerator run by Innovate Edmonton and Platform Calgary, which has three learning streams for founders, depending on the stage their startup is at.

The latest cohort in the Engage stream includes Steven Pierson of Vino AI, Trevor MacDonald of A Safer Walk, Guanzhi MacDonald of Sollar Protocol, and Serbi Braru of uLearnify.

The first cohort of the Traction stream included Kate Popiel of What's the Deal?, Lillah Penddah of AFRO FACTS, Nicole Rodriguez of BAWSE, and Tosin Kuye of Akose.