Foresight is pleased to introduce a new report focused on the Alberta cleantech sector. Based on research conducted in 2020, the Alberta Cleantech Report 2021 is a revealing look at a sector that is growing in size, impact, and importance.
In late 2020, the Alberta Clean Technology Industry Alliance (ACTia, now Foresight Alberta) and MaRS Data Catalyst, with a constellation of partners, took an updated snapshot of the province’s pureplay clean technology ventures. This included companies developing novel services, processes, and products that improve economic performance and reduce environmental footprint.
A 50-question survey was sent to Alberta cleantech ventures in Fall 2020 requesting metrics from the 2019 calendar year. From over 100 responses, we distilled insights from 72 respondents who met these criteria:
Based in Alberta
Have proof of technology or business model innovation
Indicate an environmental benefit as a core part of their value proposition
Derive a majority of their revenues from those specific products or services.
Responses were compared to similar studies we undertook in 2016 and 2018 that formed the basis of two reports: Alberta Clean Technology Sector 2016 and Alberta Clean Technology Sector 2019.
A dynamic pre-pandemic market: Roughly three-quarters of Albertan cleantech ventures in 2019 fundraised successfully.
COVID had a significant negative impact: Over half of responding ventures experienced a greater than 50% reduction in fundraising due to the pandemic, and many reported they lost investment deals.
Albertan optimism dominates: Over 80% of ventures have a moderately or substantially better outlook for the coming year.
Public funding is crucial: Each dollar of public funding mobilized a reported $2.73 in private investment during this period, a slight increase from $2.50 from our previous survey. Newer ventures (less than five years old) leveraged more private investment per public dollar ($3.20).
An experienced and diverse ecosystem:
Nearly half of Alberta cleantech ventures (49%) are led by experienced founders, a slight increase since 2017 (45%).
Roughly one-quarter of Alberta cleantech ventures have a founder who was not born in Canada, and one-third have a founder with a trades background.
22% of ventures have a female founder, exceeding the national average of 15.6% and consistent with the wider Alberta tech sector.
The energy sector dominates: Nearly three-quarters of Alberta cleantech companies seek to sell to the oil and gas industry. Nearly half target power and utilities, and about one-third seek customers in either “other manufacturing”, the agricultural sector, or mining.
The Alberta Cleantech Report 2021 provides a detailed look at an important growing sector of Alberta’s economy. BLG is proud to collaborate with Foresight Alberta, Canada’s leading cleantech accelerator, and their stakeholders to bring this innovative and competitive research to market.
The global energy sector is in transition, driven in part by climate change, consumer demand, and increasing government regulation. When it comes to clean technology, Alberta has the opportunity to be a true global leader—creating jobs for Canadians while working to reduce emissions, minimize waste, and effectively manage resources.
In this rapidly evolving landscape, it’s key to have practical, innovative and cost-effective legal advice and advocacy to help your business adapt and prepare for what’s next. As Canada’s law firm, BLG is well positioned to respond to the growing demands of the sector. Our team has an unparalleled understanding of the sector’s needs and we regularly advise all segments of the industry – from cleantech innovators and startups, to investors, and large-scale corporations.
BLG is proud to be part of the conversation on the state of cleantech in Alberta. We look forward to continuing to support the province’s cleantech ventures and contribute to the growth and advancement of this important sector.
Regional Managing Partner, BLG Calgary
Partner, BLG Calgary
Partner and National Business Leader, Intellectual Property, BLG Calgary
Jump to the next section:
1. Introduction | 2. The State of Cleantech in Alberta | 3. Funding & Growth | 4. Challenges & Risks | 5. Seizing the Cleantech Opportunity
This report was created by Andrea Bravo, Kie Gouveia, Sydney Kjellander, Jacob Malthouse, Marla Orenstein, Karen Speirs, Jason Switzer and Michelle Zazaluk.
Thank you to the Canadian Agriculture Partnership, Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, Alberta Innovates, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP (BLG), Calgary Economic Development, Delphi Group, Edmonton Global, Emissions Reduction Alberta, MaRS Discovery District, Platform Calgary, Prairies Economic Development Canada, and many individuals for contributing to the Alberta Cleantech Report 2021.
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