Canadian Government Names 5 Startups for Seattle-based Blockchain Business Accelerator
April 2020 – Calgary AB
“A new business accelerator focusing on blockchain startups has kicked off in Seattle with support from the Washington Technology Industry Association (WTIA) and the Canadian government, signalling that interest isn’t fading in a technology most closely associated with unregulated financial speculation on cryptocurrencies like bitcoin.” GeekWire.com
Calgary is getting international attention at this blockchain accelerator in Seattle, thanks to a local startup that’s focused on scaling the largest certification validation network for workers across all industries.
TerraHub has developed a verification platform for workers, products and processes. With its roots in the energy industry, it is now growing into other complex industries such as healthcare, construction, and manufacturing, to bring verified worker data and verified, sustainable product data. In the case of the verified worker, TerraHub creates an irrefutable audit trail for worker training, authorizations and health self-assessments. Through this platform, employers will always know the full history of every worker, before they show up on a work site. This is an important standard operating procedure for ensuring safe and secure working conditions.
In times of COVID-19, it becomes an essential tool for managing critical worker data and controlling the spread of this virus.
The startup was founded in 2017 and is the only company from the prairies taking part in the Canadian Blockchain Market Accelerator in Seattle. The company was originally flagged as a prime participant by Global Affairs Canada, and after applying, was accepted into the program.
“We were really excited for the opportunity to be in a room full of our peers who understand, have experienced and solved some of the challenges we’re having,” says TerraHub co-founder Elena Dumitrascu. “This also became a great sales and scale up opportunity in a market that is new to us, thanks to the people in Seattle from WTIA who are committed to introducing us to the right organizations there.”
The accelerator is meant to connect the Canadian startups with U.S.-based companies that could become potential customers. It’s split into two parts – the first wrapped up in January, and is now continuing online as a result of COVID-19. TerraHub isn’t new to expansion – while the company’s home base is Calgary, it also has a team set up in Houston, this accelerator offered an additional expansion opportunity.
Dumitrascu says accelerators can provide startups with the right resources, knowledge and networks they need to scale up. However, she adds that there are a few things entrepreneurs should consider before applying.
“You should not go into an accelerator if you’re not ready to scale,” she says. “If you’re still figuring out your business model or your product, if you don’t know how to legally structure your business, if you don’t know much about accounting and raising capital – learn those things before going into an accelerator.” Dumitrascu says programs that help companies scale can sometimes be opportunities that only come around once, so it’s best to be prepared before participating in them.
A good way to do the groundwork, according to Dumitrascu, is to tap into the resources available right here in Calgary, whether it’s organizations like Startup Calgary and Platform who provide core education to entrepreneurs and have mentorship programs, to leadership courses offered by post-secondary institutions such as Haskayne School of Business at the University of Calgary and Bow Valley College.
“There is endless amount of support in the city right now to help the tech community and to help entrepreneurs accelerate, make connections in the industry and prepare for growth beyond the city borders.” Dumitrascu says. “It’s exciting to be a tech company in Calgary right now. Calgary is a city that really cares about enabling this economy.”
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