Posted tagged ‘innovation’

Why Edmonton is better than Vancouver and Toronto

November 25, 2008

It’s funny how Toronto and Vancouver always seem to be suggested as a couple of the best places to do business in Canada, at least when it comes to technology companies.

What everyone doesn’t realize is that it’s actually Edmonton. This city far outstrips those other two cities in terms of quality of life and a number of other factors.

If you’re thinking of starting any kind of technology company, the Edmonton tech community is the perfect place to set up shop.

Why not Vancouver?

Quality of life is one thing. Resources are another. Sure the mountains are great, but Vancouver is a polluted valley with terrible traffic problems. And do you really want an office looking out at those mountains? Your employees will either want to climb them or ski them. They won’t be focused on work. Oh, on those rainy days they might want to work. So, that will account for half the year. And if you want to live in a shoebox, go for it. That might be all you can afford there with Vancouver’s real estate prices!

Toronto? Puh-lease!

Where do I begin? If you would like to be a human air filter to clean up the big brown smog dome over the Greater Toronto area, go for it. You’ll be doing it while you’re stuck in traffic or recovering from a car accident. Toronto might think it’s the centre of the universe but it’s go less going for it than Vancouver.

So Edmonton is better?

Yes, I am being a little tongue in cheek, but Edmonton really is a great city. From a quality of life perspective, the air quality is far better in Edmonton. If you’re looking for an attractive city, Edmonton is. Yes, a prairie city can be beautiful. The city is full of beautiful architecture, it’s nicely treed, there are great walking trails throughout the river valley and other parts of the city and if you like festivals, Edmonton has more than its fair share.

Who wouldn’t want to live in one of the 21 smartest cities in the world? Edmonton is on the cutting edge when it comes to developing its high tech infrastructure. Governments are on board when it comes to supporting and developing the high tech community in the province, and the Edmonton tech community is the province’s technology hub.

With world-leading educational institutions like NAIT (Northern Alberta Institute of Technology) and the University of Alberta, life sciences discoveries and other technological achievements are announced regularly. Both of these institutions provide a steady stream of creative and energetic grads that are eager to work and contribute in the Edmonton tech community. Angel investors should take note of this. Edmonton has a strong tech community with great investment opportunities.

Economic fundamentals are good

From an economic standpoint, Edmonton has experienced an incredible boom that is still continuing. The slowdown felt in so many places hasn’t really been felt here yet and will likely not affect the province as much as other jurisdictions. Unemployment has remained stable. The same can’t be said for many other places.

While the boom has led to increases in real estate prices, the market is still strong, but prices are still better than in places like Vancouver.

The province is blessed with abundant energy and other natural resources and Edmonton, Alberta’s capital, is an important hub that services the energy and other industries. Edmonton’s growth prospects remain strong for the foreseeable future.

The Edmonton tech community is vibrant, the economy is strong, Edmonton has great educational institutions, many successful tech companies and more. Why wouldn’t you want to come here?

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Angel Investors say, “Out with the Old, in with the New.”

November 20, 2008

In 2007 the angel investment market experienced a growth in investment activity, according to the Center for Venture Research. However, it is noted that angel investors are taking a more cautious approach to investing. But a cautious approach does not necessarily mean that investors are not looking for the “new.” According to the CVR, investors have a preference for new rather than follow-on investments.

So when Bruce Johnson released Semanti, a search tool that sets on top of Google to enhance and personalize the searching process, angel investors took notice. It was the dream angel investor scenario. After all, larger corporations such as Google are already a favorite of angels by providing them with a sense of stability. And Semanti brought out the new that so many angels are seeking. But what does new really mean?

It has been common in the past for angel investors to remain fairly close to their investments in order to maintain a hands on approach in the decision making process. But with all the innovations coming out of Edmonton, angels are beginning to realize that being close to their investment is nothing more than an “old” theory that now no longer applies.