Accelerator grads and pitch veterans among Launch Party startups

· The Pulse

The 10 companies to be showcased at Launch Party 13 on Oct. 20 include a number of graduates of accelerators attracted to Edmonton in the past year.

The Public Food Hub, a marketplace connecting food lovers to food makers and experiences, and Cash2Crypto, a platform for exchanging cryptocurrency, were part of the first cohort of Alberta Accelerator by 500, which wrapped up in the spring. And DeepBlue Greens, an agritech startup that develops products to increase crop yield in indoor farms, was part of the second cohort of Alberta Catalyzer, the pre-accelerator run by Edmonton Unlimited and Platform Calgary.

Other Launch Party companies have amassed some pitching experience via Startup TNT. For example, Kidney-Chek by sn biomedical pitched at the Life Sciences Investment Summit in February, and was part of the Top 20 pitch night for Investment Summit VI on Oct. 6. Meanwhile, Bladeflex, which makes and distributes healthcare solutions for musculoskeletal problems, made it into the Investment Summit V finale.

The Public Food Hub is not the only Launch Party company at the intersection of food and tech. This year's class also includes Oonnie Food Technologies, an online marketplace aiming to make it easier to regularly shop for local food, as well as Ordr, a to-your-seat delivery service for sports venues that is serving fans of basketball, lacrosse, and baseball, with more integrations on the way.

Rounding out the Launch Party class of 2022 are AIRMarket, which helps customers operate drones safely and efficiently; Liquid Software Corporation, which provides cloud-based business software called Edge-LQ to a wide range of industries; and Varme Energy, which diverts waste from landfills and decreases greenhouse gas emissions.

Launch Party is the flagship event of Edmonton Startup Week, which runs from Oct. 17 to 22. This will be the first such event under Edmonton Unlimited, the entity formerly known as Innovate Edmonton, which had inherited Startup Edmonton, the birthplace of Edmonton Startup Week.

A large purple display with the Edmonton Unlimited logo and the words "Innovation from here for the world"

Edmonton Unlimited is hosting Edmonton Startup Week from Oct. 17 to 22, including its signature event, Launch Party, which will be at the Edmonton Convention Centre on Oct. 20. (Facebook)

This year's event will be in person at the Edmonton Convention Centre, after the pandemic forced it online for the past two years. The 20 companies chosen for Launch Party 11 and Launch Party 12 will be feted at a champagne reception before Launch Party 13. "So it's actually going to be 30 companies that are showcased this year," Edmonton Unlimited's Erin Gobolos told Alberta Impact.

"Launch Party, by definition, is just the beginning," added Edmonton Unlimited CEO Catherine Warren. "The idea is that we follow these companies for a full year and that the whole city can get behind their success, which is very powerful. They know when they're going out pitching, when they're seeking investment, that they have the force of the entire community behind them."

There are more than 50 events happening as part of Edmonton Startup Week or in parallel to it. Among them is TechAid, a three-day event put on by the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (Amii) to both highlight tech talent in Edmonton and raise money for the United Way Alberta Capital Region's Period Promise initiative and Boyle Street Community Services. (Learn more about TechAid on the Oct. 13 episode of Bloom, Taproot's podcast about innovation.)

Amii CEO Cam Linke co-founded Startup Edmonton in 2009 and helped make the first Launch Party happen in 2010. The scene has changed a lot over the past decade and a half, Linke said.

"There's way more room for growth here going forward, absolutely. But looking back and seeing how much has grown over the last decade has been really incredible," he said. "Seeing a much more robust ecosystem grow has been really awesome."