The Evolution of a Startup Community

Ken Bautista
Oct 19, 2014 · 6 min read
The first ever DemoCamp in Edmonton in 2008. Photo: Mack Male
Launch Party 1 was unlike anything in the community before, with a party atmosphere and the ten hottest startups in town.
An early Startup Hackathon + Game Jam at the University of Alberta.

Taking the long-term view

In 2011, we saw momentum start to build, not only with Startup Edmonton, but all around us in the city. Other groups like Edmonton NextGen, InterVivos, artsScene, TEDxEdmonton, and JCI were hard at work on community building, and together we were engaging with thousands of Edmontonians, young and old, to think a little bit bigger around what they’re working on and what our city could be.

Announcing our new campus and home in the historic Mercer Warehouse.
Ladies Learning Code, one of the many meetups and events happening at Startup Edmonton. Photo: Jody Bailey

The rising tide mentality

Since then, Startup Edmonton has grown to over 160 resident members, 45+ companies, 20+ meetup groups, and a staff of 5. We’ve seen companies like Poppy Barley and Localize grow from 1–2 founders to teams of 8+ people; Alieo Games and Mover evolve from hackathon projects into fully fledged companies; Student startup hubs open up on campuses; and, Launch Party startups like Granify, Jobber, Login Radius, Yardstick, and Showbie, crack into scale up mode backed by venture funding and real customers. All building up in Edmonton.

Localize founder Meghan Dear and Pablo Herrera at Launch Party 4. Photo: FO Photography

Startup Week is all about community

Edmonton’s startup community isn’t about Startup Edmonton. What’s exciting for us today is that more community leaders are stepping up, organizing initiatives and building spaces like Unit B (Lisa Hagen), YEGRB (Mark Bennett, Michael Deering), Ladies Learning Code (Bree Emmerson, Dana DiTomaso), GameCamp (Logan Foster, Dave Chan), eHUB at the University of Alberta (Qasim Rasi, Tony Briggs, Michael Lounsbury, Matthew Grimes), Hatch at NAIT (Sandra Spencer), Makerspace at the Edmonton Public Library, and so much to come.

We loved this recent story in Alberta Venture featuring a few of other startup community leaders.

    Ken Bautista

    Written by

    Partner at Makespace. Building Factory, a retail campus for modern creators and consumers. Co-founded Startup Edmonton.

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