Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi at the ZSC launch.

Photo courtesy: Matt Saunders

Zone Startups Calgary launches

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By Jaclyn Tansil

Zone Startups Calgary (ZSC), a company incubator program focused on industrial internet and energy-related startups, launched in Calgary on March 30.

Ryerson Futures announced the launch in partnership with GE Canada. “GE is … transitioning into becoming more of a software company … and they are looking for technologies that can run off of a platform,” said Matt Saunders, president of Ryerson Futures. “Part of our role is to help companies build fast. If they come in saying they want to work on this particular area and need help connecting to these customers and help build a business, then we help them connect with those customers, and learn [if] the market is interested in that particular kind of solution.”

The ZSC program is application-based and requires that the startup companies, if selected, move into the space provided by Ryerson Futures and GE Canada. The space is, according to Saunders, “roughly a 5,000 square foot space inside GE’s customer relations center within Calgary,” where mentors and advisors are available for guidance.

“[We provide] connections to customers, connections to potential service providers that could help run the business, connections to new employees and new hires, and even connections to investors,” said Saunders.

Like several incubators based in Toronto and Zone Startups India in Mumbai, companies will also be provided with access to a seed fund. The only difference is that seed funding for ZSC companies will be provided by a number of partners and investors, which is in the process of being set up. “We were talking to some partners that were out there last week, so that is something that we are working on,” said Saunders.

Since its official launch, four startup companies — Golden Environmental Mat Services, FREDsense, Stream Systems and True Site View have already been approved into the accelerator program and have begun moving into the space.

Saunders said, “there is an opportunity to expand the new space and I think within the first year we expect to have 10-15 good quality companies that can grow in scale, and as we turn over companies we can bring more in.”

Saunders said that Ryerson Futures received offers from private investors to open new locations for zone startups.

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