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June Updates: Loads of Member & Alumni Profiles, Fresh Job Postings, and Meet Ben - Our New Community Manager

June Updates: Loads of Member & Alumni Profiles, Fresh Job Postings, and Meet Ben - Our New Community Manager

Last month, I shared three ways you could help build our startup community. All I can say is - wow! In May, we saw our busiest Hack Day of the year; you shared the stories of incredible Edmonton startup companies and cheered them at Collision, North America's fastest growing tech conference; welcomed more than 20 new student entrepreneurs to the Student Summer Program; and helped us find a great new team member. 

Thank you for the vital role you play in building our startup community and encouraging even more people to connect.

More than fun and games at Trajectory IQ

More than fun and games at Trajectory IQ

Jason Suriano wrote the book on game-powered learning. Literally.

In 2017, he delved into 15 years of research, consulting and production experience to demystify this often-misunderstood discipline in a book titled Office Arcade: Gamification, Byte-Size Learning, and Other Wins on the Way to Productive Human Resources.

“A lot of people might not take what we're doing seriously,” says the bright-eyed founder and CEO of Edmonton-based e-learning company, Trajectory IQ.

While many companies understand that game-powered learning is more engaging and can, in turn, lead to higher retention of information, they simply don’t see the value in investing in what they perceive as fun and games, explains Suriano.

“[They think] ‘Yeah it's more engaging or interactive, but what is that going to do for the company?’”

Meet the Company: ThirtyThree Games

Meet the Company: ThirtyThree Games

RunGunJumpGun started off as a fun parting gift to an old workplace.

The team behind the popular indie game met while working at a local marketing firm. When it was time for programmer Logan Gilmour and artist Matt Satchwill to move on from the company, they wanted to do something special for their co-workers.

“Originally it was going to be this super simple thing — just, you know, maybe stick our co-workers' faces on the characters so they can play as themselves. Just a totally tiny stupid game,” explains Gilmour, co-founder of Edmonton-based game design studio, ThirtyThree Games.

But when they came up with an innovative twist on a classic Nintendo-style platformer they realized they were on to something much bigger than a simple gag game.

Machine Learning in Action: PFM Scheduling

Machine Learning in Action: PFM Scheduling

Shift scheduling sounds like a deceptively simple problem until you have to do it in a large organization like a hospital, with many shifts over several weeks, with many rules dictated by collective agreements.

Maybe not so simple after all. The multi-dimensional aspects of shifts and the millions of variables involved require a computer program at least as smart as a human. And that's where machine learning, a field that involves computers able to learn and improve without being specifically programmed with the data, comes to the table.

Like several firms in the artificial intelligence and machine learning field in Edmonton, PFM Scheduling was born to solve a problem.

Frettable | Note-worthy app brings AI to the masses

Frettable | Note-worthy app brings AI to the masses

Like so many inventions, Frettable was born out of necessity.

Greg Burlet dreamt up the artificial intelligence-driven music transcription service after his bandmate moved to B.C.

Still wanting to write music together, the duo started emailing audio files back and forth. The lack of visuals made collaborating difficult, so they tried pointing webcams at their fretboards instead. This too was unsuccessful.

“There was so much lag and the audio quality wasn’t great,” Burlet says.

A University of Alberta undergrad at the time, Burlet had recently taken an introductory class on machine learning and thought: what if a program could recognize the notes played and automatically transcribe them into sheet music or tabulations? It would work like speech recognition, but for music.

AI and Machine Learning: Testfire Labs

The first inkling of Testfire Labs entered Dave Damer's head on Day 6 of a 10-day meditation retreat.

A couple of months before he had exited ThinkTel, the successful telecom company he founded in early 2003. He had some ideas "in his back pocket," a favourite place he stashes inspirations that come up on his path through business.

The retreat was a great experience that brought "great clarity," Damer says.
His inspiration? "We would take some recent developments in speech-to-text and machine learning and natural language processing and we would make a companion for business people so they wouldn’t have to, in my initial iteration this, stress about all the mental to-do lists we have.... They would be better at staying on top of things and prioritizing their daily activities."

With some consultation and working through the idea, the first product was narrowed down to Hendrix.ai, an intelligent companion who helps make meetings more productive.

Testfire Labs is one of a growing number of AI and machine learning companies setting up in Edmonton. AI and machine learning involves computers and machines that do tasks that would normally be considered to require human-level intelligence, dealing with complex data sets and in the case of machine learning, able to learn and improve without specific programming in a data set.

November Update: Preflight Sessions, Take Advantage of Ad-tech, and Edmonton Startup Week Recap

November Update: Preflight Sessions, Take Advantage of Ad-tech, and Edmonton Startup Week Recap

After an incredible Edmonton Startup Week in October, November is a chance for us to get back to the basics of supporting our city's startup and tech community the best way we know how: programs & mentorship, workspace, student activities, and fostering community events day-in-and-day-out. 

Preflight is our most comprehensive program offering support to founders of early-stage tech-enabled companies. We have our 5-week sessions on Customer Validation and Telling Your Story coming up next week. There is no better time to start than now! Scroll down for highlights from one of our current members. If you have any questions or requests, drop me an email anytime.

Cheers! 

Member Update & Recommended Reading: Edmonton startup Pogo expands to Camrose

Member Update & Recommended Reading: Edmonton startup Pogo expands to Camrose

Member company & Launch Party alumni, Pogo CarShare shares exciting expansion news with Metro Edmonton yesterday. Check out the article below & congratulations to the entire Pogo team! 

Edmonton startup Pogo expands to Camrose, becomes Alberta's first small-town car share

Metro Edmonton | By: Kashmala Fida Metro Published on Thu Oct 05 2017

Small town life usually means owning a car to get where you need to go, but an Edmonton-based startup wants to change that.

Pogo, a local car-sharing app, is hitting the road and expanding service to Camrose, becoming the first rideshare in Alberta available in a small town.

Public transit can be a challenge in cities without a huge population base--roughly 19,000 people live in Camrose--and Pogo Co-founder Kieran Ryan says ride shares can fill a significant gap.

“In a lot of small towns, public transit is pretty difficult and car sharing can really enhance the public transit system,” he told Metro.

Stephanie Update | Volunteering & SXSW Accelerator Pitch Event

Stephanie Update | Volunteering & SXSW Accelerator Pitch Event

I have the honour of working with hundreds of founders, entrepreneurs, and community builders in my day-to-day work here at Startup Edmonton. It's an amazing opportunity to help shape my city while supporting passionate people as they tackle problems, large and small, using technology. Before coming to Startup Edmonton, I was lucky enough to find a professional home in Edmonton's thriving arts community. I'm still surprised how similar the process, risks, and unrelenting drive is for artists and founders.

In addition to my work at Startup Edmonton, I squeeze in time to volunteer - it's where I met some of my closest friends and fell head-over-heels for Edmonton. Currently, I'm helping the Centre for Family Literacy on a social enterprise project and with the SXSW Accelerator Pitch Event as a member of the Global Advisory Board.

Founder Update: DrugBank

Founder Update: DrugBank

In celebration of our 5th anniversary at the Mercer Warehouse, we had the opportunity to chat with some of our alumni founders about how things have changed for their companies since our downtown community hub opened. We're thrilled that our milestones often coincide with exciting news from our alumni companies! Over the next six weeks, we'll be sharing updates from some of Edmonton's hardest working founders.

In this episode, we hear from Micheal Wilson, CEO - DrugBank.