Jobber, DrugBank or Darkhorse Analytics.
Edmonton may be infamous for its -40 winter temperatures, but things are starting to heat up this winter — not so much in the weather department, but in the city’s tech and innovation sector. Edmonton’s startup scene has enabled the development and growth of many companies that are starting to gain recognition for their groundbreaking work across the globe. Here are three companies that have put Edmonton’s startup scene on the map with their innovative ventures.
DrugBank was launched in 2005 at the University of Alberta, as a research project in Dr. David Wishart’s Computing Science lab. Today Drugbank’s database is used by pharmaceutical companies, medical software companies, university researchers, health professionals, and the general public across the globe.
While there are other databases that carry similar information, DrugBank in unique because it covers information on not just approved drugs, but also drugs that are still in clinical trial or at the very early stages of research. It includes a lot of the molecular level information on drugs, shedding light on information regarding what the drugs do in our body and what proteins they interact with. This level of detailed and up-to-date information is made possible due to the existence of a team dedicated solely to researching and finding the most recent information.
In 2013, co-founders Craig Knox and Michael Wilson saw an opportunity to commercialize DrugBank and develop it to meet the needs of the pharmaceutical and medical software industries. Although commercial users have to purchase a license to use the data, a large amount of the data is still available for free for researchers and the general public as “It’s in [their] DNA to make information available,” says Knox. What started as a university project has now become the most popular drug database in the world with over a million users visiting the site each month. Over the past three years, DrugBank has grown from two founders to a team of 18 and, through incredible hard work, saw a 300% year-over-year increase in revenue.
In 2011, Sam Pillar and Forrest Zeisler co-founded Jobber, a cloud-based software that helps service-based businesses be more efficient in their operations. In their own words, Jobber helps “home service businesses quote, schedule, invoice, and get paid — faster.” What started as two people coding out of coffee shops has now taken over three floors of a downtown office building with, powering “$100 million a month worth of service delivery in industries from lawn care to maid services, HVAC, plumbing, and electrical all over the world.”
The last five years has been a period of tremendous growth for Jobber, but this is just the beginning for them. CEO Sam hopes to keep growing the company into a big, meaningful, standalone company headquartered in Edmonton. With a team of dedicated employees sharing the mission of helping small businesses become more successful, Jobber is marching ahead to keep disrupting industry norms and using innovation and tech to better the industry as a whole.
Launched in 2008, Darkhorse Analytics is a team of scientists and information designers that use data analytics to help businesses make smart decisions.
The Darkhorse team uses analytics to help businesses reduce costs, increase revenues, and mitigate risks.
The Darkhorse team takes immense pride in their work, and approaches data-analysis from a decision-maker perspective. Rejecting the notion that data analysis is just numbers and stats, it visualizes data so that it is clear and engaging, making it easier for the decisions makers to understand and make use of. Darkhorse also believe that “the right answer is only half the answer.” Instead of just giving clients the facts, it embraces an adoption-focused process. As a result, instead of just providing analysis on a specific decision, it is a “part of the entire problem-solving process.”
The company that was birthed out of a research lab at the University of Alberta is today helping businesses from a multitude of industries make smarter business decisions.