Accelerators help startups through the 'relay race'

· The Pulse

A little more than a year after the introduction of a suite of accelerators through the Alberta Scaleup and Growth Accelerator Program (Scaleup GAP), several Edmonton startups have found themselves moving from one to the next as they work on strengthening their businesses.

Deeleeo, a same-day delivery platform and marketplace, and Fly and Fetch, a shipping company that enlists travellers to transport packages, just participated in the Batch 2 Demo Day for the Alberta Accelerator by 500 on Oct. 20. Now they're both part of the second cohort of the Alberta Innovates Revenue Accelerator powered by GrowthX.

Fly and Fetch's founders started out applying to every pitch competition and program they could find as they sought to learn more about what it takes to succeed, co-founder Victoria Celi Jaramillo told Telling It Like It Is.

"Now we (say), 'OK, we need help. What exactly do we need?'" she said. "And we try to apply to those accelerators that are going to be helping us to go to the next step."

Fellow Alberta Accelerator by 500 alumnus Electronic Grid Systems, whose Swift Charge helps parking infrastructure owners deploy EV charging stations, is now involved in the sustainability stream of Plug and Play Alberta's second batch.

Air Trail is another example of an Edmonton startup that has found success as it graduated from accelerator to accelerator, starting out with the Alberta Accelerator by 500 before gaining significant traction as part of the Alberta Innovates Revenue Accelerator.

In creating these programs, Alberta Innovates has made sure founders have the resources they need at each stage of the startup journey, Andrew Goldner of GrowthX told Shift by Alberta Innovates.

"What I've seen Alberta Innovates do... is really map the ecosystem from idea to exit, and begin to be intentional about making sure that founders are resourced along that entire relay race," Goldner said in a podcast interview during Edmonton Startup Week.

Fly and Fetch founders: CFO Victoria Celi Jaramillo, CTO Shane Brass, and CEO Shelvie Fernan

Fly and Fetch's co-founders — CFO Victoria Celi Jaramillo, CTO Shane Brass, and CEO Shelvie Fernan — applied to everything when they started, but now know what they need from the various accelerators that have come to Alberta (Fly and Fetch).

Here's what's new with the accelerators that were announced in September 2021 or have since become part of the ecosystem:

Alberta Innovates started Scaleup GAP with funding help from Prairies Economic Development Canada, Edmonton Unlimited, the Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund, and Alberta's ministry of jobs, economy, and innovation, and it seems to be happy with the results.

"The incredible mentoring, education and global networks made available to companies through the accelerators is quite simply unparalleled," Douglas Holt, associate vice-president of investments for Alberta Innovates posted on LinkedIn after taking in the Alberta Accelerator by 500 pitches at Platform Calgary.