The Pulse: Dec. 2, 2022

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  • -19°C: Mainly sunny. Increasing cloudiness near noon. Wind up to 15 km/h. High minus 19. Wind chill minus 39 in the morning and minus 26 in the afternoon. Risk of frostbite. (forecast)
  • Purple: The High Level Bridge will be lit purple for Women's Brain Health Day. (details)
  • 3-5: The Edmonton Oilers (13-11-0) were defeated by the Minnesota Wild (11-9-2) on Dec. 1. (details)
  • 5pm, Dec. 3: The Edmonton Oilers play the Montreal Canadiens at Rogers Place. (details)

Two smiling men stand in front of a stage with a banner and giant letters reading Plug and Play

Plug and Play Alberta grads get ready to execute

By Karen Unland

The 50 companies that were part of Plug and Play Alberta's second batch have made their pitches and had their conversations with potential customers. Now it's time for the real work to begin, says director Kevin Dahl.

"The next big step for a lot of them is just getting to work now," he told Taproot after this week's expo in Banff showcasing what the companies have to offer. "You've made the connection. You've got the interest of one of our corporate partners, and now as a startup founder, you need to execute on those pilots."

Plug and Play Alberta helps later-stage startups and scaleups connect with corporations that are "looking to supercharge their innovation," Dahl said. Partners include TD Bank, EECOL Electric, Boehringer Ingelheim, Pathways Alliance, and now WestJet, which joined to leverage AI and machine learning across its business. Those partners identify the challenges they want to address, "and we go out and source startups around the world that are solving that problem," Dahl said.

Seven of the startups chosen this time around were from Edmonton: DrugBank in the health stream; Aurora Hydrogen, Swift Charge, and element 4 in the sustainability stream; and AlignVR, Trust Science, and Spontivly in the sector-agnostic stream.

"These seven companies from Edmonton all stood shoulder-to-shoulder with peers around the world," Dahl said.

The oldest of those businesses is Trust Science, Evan Chrapko's fintech company that helps lenders identify creditworthy borrowers who are screened out by the traditional credit bureau system. Given that Trust Science made this year's list of Canada's top-growing companies, it may not seem like a candidate for an accelerator program. But Dahl said it's precisely the kind of company Plug and Play wants in its global network of scaleups ready to offer solutions to problems that its corporate partners face.

"For us, Trust Science is a company that has really done a great job of building out their customer base. They are growing, they have a team, they're not just an idea," Dahl said. "They're at that point where they're looking to grow and scale globally."

Most of the accelerators that started under the Alberta Scaleup and Growth Accelerator Program (Scaleup GAP) wouldn't be a good fit for a company the size of Trust Science, but Plug and Play was, said Colin Tran, the company's vice-president of corporate affairs.

"An enticing piece of joining the Plug and Play accelerator for us (was) being able to connect with not only the Alberta ecosystem, but also the broader corporate ecosystem across Canada and across North America," he told Taproot.

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Headlines: Dec. 2, 2022

By Kevin Holowack and Mariam Ibrahim

A red-panda-shaped decoration festooned in lights on a snowy night at the zoo

Weekend agenda: Dec. 2-4, 2022

By Debbi Serafinchon

This weekend, you can enjoy the beauty of holiday lights among the animals, take in a little Sondheim, pick up a used book or a new cookbook, acquire some Ukrainian goodies, or celebrate art.

Find even more things to do in the Arts Roundup.

Photo: Zoominescence, the Edmonton Valley Zoo's annual celebration of light, love, and conservation, opens this weekend and continues on various dates throughout December. (Wild Times)