The Pulse: Jan. 10, 2023

Here's what you need to know about Edmonton today.

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  • -7°C: Mainly cloudy. Fog patches dissipating in the morning. Wind up to 15 km/h. High minus 7. Wind chill near minus 13. (forecast)
  • 3-6: The Edmonton Oilers (21-18-3) lost to the Los Angeles Kings (24-14-6) on Jan. 9. (details)

Founder Jackson Payne wearing a Deeleeo T-shirt

Deeleeo offers same-day delivery to help local businesses compete

By Stephanie Dubois

As a former member of Canada's men's gymnastics team, Jackson Payne knows what it's like to start small and go big. So when he started his delivery service company Deeleeo in the fall of 2020, he welcomed the challenge to grow it from an idea into a multimillion-dollar business.

"The act of starting your own business and the challenge that it is, the adrenaline you get doing something pretty risky and feeling the highs and lows, it compares quite a lot to being a professional athlete," the founder and CEO told Taproot.

Part of the journey for Payne was learning and gaining support from a series of programs set up to help startups grow.

He joined Edmonton Unlimited's 12-week Propel program in May 2022. At that time, the company already had more than $60,000 in monthly recurring revenue.

Just a few months later, Deeleeo was one of 18 startups in Batch 2 of the Alberta Accelerator by 500, a program powered by venture capital firm 500 Global as part of the suite of accelerators brought to Alberta through the Scaleup GAP initiative. By October, when Deeleeo pitched at Startup TNT's Top 20 Pitch Night for Investment Summit VI, Payne said annual revenue in 2022 had exceeded $1 million, and the company was on track to do $10 million in 2023.

Now he's in the Alberta Innovates Revenue Accelerator powered by GrowthX, which focuses on helping startups win customers and grow revenue.

"We've seen some pretty encouraging results for the last couple of months with some of our software, so we're pretty excited," Payne said.

The company, which coordinates independent contractors to provide same-day delivery for businesses and individuals, has also raised roughly $1.5 million from private investors.

It's the behind-the-scenes technology that makes Deeleeo different from other delivery companies, Payne said. Deeleeo's software allows it to coordinate pickups and drop-offs "in an extremely efficient way."

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Headlines: Jan. 10, 2023

By Kevin Holowack

  • Environment Canada issued a poor air quality warning for Edmonton, St. Albert, and Sherwood Park. The poor air quality, caused by pollutants built up from stagnant weather conditions, was expected to be at its worst on Jan. 9 but persist through the week. Alberta Health Services has more information about staying healthy during air quality events.
  • TransEd is almost done repairing the cracked elevated support piers on the Edmonton Valley Line Southeast LRT, and testing on the line is ongoing. On Dec. 20, CEO Ronald Joncas said the company finished 94% of the structural repairs on the 45 cracked piers identified last year, but provided no timeline for when the line will be in service. It was originally scheduled to start running in December 2020.
  • Drivers who have used the city-run EPark system may have had their personal information compromised after the Calgary Parking Authority, the vendor for the software used by the EPark mobile parking app and kiosks, experienced a privacy breach in which details such as names, addresses, license plates, validation tags, and emails were publicly accessible from May-July 2021. Neither the Calgary Parking Authority nor the City of Edmonton proactively notified the wider public of the breach after first learning about it. In correspondence with Postmedia, both deferred responsibility for disclosing the breach to each other.
  • More than 300 people filled the Centennial Centre for Interdisciplinary Science at the University of Alberta to honour the victims who died on Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752, which was shot down by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps on Jan. 8, 2020. Those killed included 13 people from Edmonton and ten with ties to the University of Alberta. The event was organized by the Iranian Heritage Society of Edmonton and the Iranian Students' Association. A joint statement from the groups said the victims' families are "seeking truth, pleading for justice and trying to bring those responsible before a court."
  • Postmedia columnist Keith Gerein thinks city council will regret its decision in December not to fund the first phase of operations for the Edmonton Metropolitan Transit Services Commission, putting an end to its plan to develop regional transit. "(Regional) trust has been seriously damaged with this decision, and I suspect it will take a long while for the group to find the confidence to resume serious work on big joint projects," wrote Gerein. Council's move was also criticized by former councillor Michael Walters in a piece for Urban Affairs.
  • A University of Alberta delegation led by president Bill Flanagan is in India to promote the university's research strengths, particularly in renewable energy and climate change mitigation, and to expand collaboration with Indian academic institutes. The university's partnerships with several Indian Institutes of Technology, which are among the top technology institutions in the country, are "unique in the world," said Amit Kumar, an energy researcher with the delegation.
  • Ashwini Gadtoula, a recent University of Alberta grad and urban planning enthusiast, wrote an article for Canadian Architect about how Edmonton's suburbs can attract new immigrants as the city's population grows to two million over the next 45 years.
  • The province's inflation relief payments will be distributed starting this month. Seniors over 65 and parents who make $180,000 a year or less can apply online or in person starting Jan. 18. Albertans supported by Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH), Income Support, the Alberta Seniors Benefit, or the Persons with Developmental Disabilities (PDD) program will automatically receive payments beginning Jan. 31.
Sharon Yeo and Freya Fu lead a group of people down a wide sidewalk in Edmonton's Chinatown

Chinatown Dining Week returns with inflation-friendly deals

By Mack Male

Chinatown Dining Week is back for the sixth year in row, featuring 15 food businesses in Edmonton's Chinatown area from Jan. 26 to Feb. 5.

The participating businesses — all returning from past years, spanning both Chinatown North and South — have prepared special menus for $10 or $20 that will be offered for in-person dining and/or takeout.

The event has grown significantly since it began in 2018 with just five restaurants participating, aided in part by social media and other online channels, co-founder Sharon Yeo told Taproot. The wide variety of cuisine available in Chinatown has also helped the area punch above its weight, making the event something to look forward to each January.

"Chinatown has always been known for value-oriented food," Yeo said. "But particularly now, in the current climate of inflation, it's almost unheard of to be able to purchase a full meal for $20."

She added that "the breadth of cuisines available at that price point, ranging from regional Chinese to Vietnamese and Korean, or those who can accommodate vegan and vegetarian diets, is vast in a small area."

Restaurants such as 97 Hot Pot, King Noodle House, and Padmanadi, bakeries Hong Kong Bakery and Shan Shan Bakery, and grocery store Kim Fat Market (which offers prepared food for takeout) are among the businesses participating.

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