Startup TNT creates shared space for investors downtown

· The Pulse

Startup TNT has moved into a new space on 104 Street with a vision to get more investors together in one place and get more deals flowing in the city.

"The game plan is to build out a space for investors of all types ... and have us all co-locate in one space so that we can both share deal flow, but (also change) how to be doing the deals," Startup TNT co-founder Tim Lynn told Taproot.

The project will start with getting venture capital firms into the space at 10177 104 St., and then ideally include more family offices and corporate investors. In the same way that coworking spaces are set up for startups, the new Startup TNT space is intended to foster a natural exchange of ideas and more extensive collaboration among investors, Lynn said.

"All the investors in Edmonton, by and large, are sort of operating on their own," he said, "which is fine, but it's hard to get deal flow. If we're able to coordinate deal flow in our investments into our local companies by sharing what's happening here, then it just makes it easier for us to sort of all pile in on the great opportunities that exist. Which then ideally leads to more companies here getting funding, and ultimately more companies staying and growing."

The co-locating space has the capacity for 12 to 20 firms, and Lynn said there are companies ready to join them in the months ahead, with some startups helping to fill up occupancy while the project gets moving. Further down the line, Lynn anticipates it will also act as a place where investors from outside of Edmonton could do business and make deals while they are in the city.

Lynn is confident the move makes business sense for the startup community and for Startup TNT. "Plus," he added, "it's more fun to work on things together."

Tim Lynn and Zack Storms smiling in their company's new coworking space

Startup TNT co-founders Tim Lynn and Zack Storms stand in the company's new co-location space for investors on 104 Street north of Jasper Avenue. (Mack Male)

The space above the former Bottega 104 restaurant has been occupied by QuoteToMe, which makes procurement automation software for construction contractors — it received investment in a side deal at Startup TNT's Investment Summit III.

Startup TNT's main purpose is to help companies raise the awkward $500,000-to-$2-million round of investment, Lynn explained. This project is another way to facilitate those early funding rounds, "to improve our relationships with the folks that are able to write those cheques, so that when we write a cheque, they're more inclined to write a cheque alongside us."

Lynn hopes that growing this community of investors will also feed into the investment and promotional infrastructure Startup TNT has already built, with new companies taking part in its Investment Summits and connecting with other angel investors.

Edmonton is the testing ground for this idea, Lynn said, and if it's successful here, the company will continue to roll it out elsewhere. Startup TNT has established a Prairies-wide presence in Calgary, Saskatoon, Regina, and Winnipeg.

Since it started in 2019, Startup TNT has raised more than $7 million in capital for 50 companies, and has engaged more than 230 investors, it says. The organization's new home base is across the street from Northern Chicken's location on 104 Street in the former Say Uncle spot, where Startup TNT has been holding its weekly happy hours in Edmonton.