Plug and Play Alberta's new provincial directors say they'll be keeping a close eye on Edmonton from their headquarters in Calgary.
"We do want to focus on building out relationships in the Edmonton region, having events and things like that," said Lindsay Smylie, who was hired last month along with Kevin Dahl to direct the Alberta outpost of the Silicon Valley-based innovation hub. "It's always easier when you have boots on the ground, so we'll be tied closely to the universities and to Innovate Edmonton."
Plug and Play Alberta was one of four accelerators announced last fall as part of the Alberta Scaleup and Growth Accelerator Program, run by a consortium led by Alberta Innovates.
"I think there's a huge opportunity for us to help accelerate that globalization of local startups," Dahl told Taproot.
"(Plug and Play) has over 500 different corporate partners around the world in our playbook ... and 22,000 companies that we've worked with. Companies in Alberta who have ... taken advantage of all of the local programming, we can now help them take that step to grow their business beyond Alberta."
The Alberta team will initially concentrate on three verticals: digital health, clean resources, and artificial intelligence/machine learning. They've been working to source companies within the Plug and Play network that may be considered for the first cohort, and they are putting out an open call in hopes of finding startups that aren't on their radar.
Companies that are chosen will be invited to individual pitch days between Feb. 22 and 24, and the first cohort begins on March 15. While the first batch of programming will be virtual due to the pandemic, Plug and Play Alberta plans to run at least one of its cohort streams in early 2023 in Edmonton.
"We recognize that there's a huge centre of excellence in Edmonton around artificial intelligence and machine learning. We are looking at forming partnerships with several players that are based in Edmonton just like we are also doing here in Calgary," Dahl said.