Startup Weekend returns to Edmonton

Startup Weekend Edmonton is back! The weekend of February 11-13 is your opportunity to do something about that idea you’ve been thinking about – and that’s just one of the many good reasons to attend. Startup Weekend is a great opportunity to network with other people in the community, to learn something new, to gain valuable team building experience, and maybe even just to feel that sense of accomplishment we all love. Not to mention the rush of going from concept to working demo in just 54 hours!

Edmonton’s first Startup Weekend took place last June. About 30 local developers, designers, and other creative people got together and formed six teams that built some really interesting projects. You can read my recap of our last event to get a sense of how the weekend went, but here in a nutshell is the process:

  • Friday Night: Everyone shows up, we have some brief introductions, and if you have an idea you pitch it. It’s messy and fun but we then form teams out of all the ideas, and each team begins to plan and prepare for the rest of the weekend.
  • Saturday: Teams dive into building their project. Breaking it up into tasks and time management are key. Throughout the day there are lunch and dinner breaks with speakers talking about startup-related topics.
  • Sunday: It’s crunch time! Teams finish up their projects so that they can demo it in the evening. Around 6pm, all the work stops and the wider community gets to see what each team accomplished over the weekend.

Cam is going to cover all of that in more detail on the Friday evening as well. It’s a short amount of time, which is part of why it is so exciting!

One of the questions that people ask a lot is if Startup Weekend is only for programmers. The answer is no! In fact, teams need individuals with all kinds of skills to be successful. Anyone can have an idea and help flesh that out into a project. Artists and designers can help with the look and feel. Business people can help with the pitch or maybe even work on a business plan. Storytellers can help make the project compelling to customers. Of course someone needs to test the project out. I’m sure you can think of dozens of others skills that could be brought to the table. The most successful companies need more than just programmers!

There are Startup Weekend events happening all over the world. In fact, there are going to be 150 this year alone! If you’re unsure about the event, check out the Startup Weekend blog and read through some of the stories from other places. It’s really amazing what has been created, not to mention all of the relationships and other great things that have been formed as a result. Innovative ideas like Planely, which aims to make it possible to use the “lost” time we spend on airplanes to network and make friends. Also be sure to check out My Edmonton which was created at Edmonton’s first Startup Weekend has since grown and evolved into a really useful app!

Edmonton’s second Startup Weekend is taking place at the Computing Sciences Centre on the University of Alberta campus. Tickets are $99, but if you purchase yours today or tomorrow, it’s just $65. That includes food for the weekend and a Startup Weekend t-shirt. It’s a heck of a deal. You can see the event listing and other information on ShareEdmonton.

Stay tuned to Startup Edmonton (and on Twitter) for updates. We’ll be using the hashtag #SWEdmonton if you’d like to follow along on Twitter.

I hope to see you there!

Recap: DemoCamp Edmonton 13

Last night we held Edmonton’s thirteenth DemoCamp, our second in the larger space at the Telus Centre on the University of Alberta campus. It was another fantastic turnout, with close to 100 people eager to see what startups and developers in our city are working on. We had a great turn out at Original Joe’s afterward too (and if you’ve been to DemoCamp before, you know that’s where the magic happens). Snow can’t keep the local startup community down!

DemoCamp Edmonton 13

We had five demos:

  • Scott Montgomerie showed us My Edmonton, an app he originally developed with a few other people at Edmonton’s first Startup Weekend. It started life as a real estate app, but evolved to be more of a local utility, with information on events, news, property info, and nearby services. My Edmonton is available both on the web and as an iPhone app. You can learn more at the blog.
  • Our second demo was from Yegor Jbanov, who showed us Deckle, an online print job automation tool. Targeted at the professional printing industry, Deckle integrates with Adobe Creative Suite and supports precision printing, such as for cheques which have strict requirements on layout and positioning. Yegor said that if you can do it with InDesign, you can pretty much do with with Deckle.
  • Mo Hamdan was up next, to show us Promptu Manager, a tool for managing fixed assets. Promptu is a Windows application, with a user interface very reminiscent of accounting packages such as Simply Accounting or Quick Books. Unfortunately the demo didn’t go as smoothly as Mo had hoped. It’s difficult to make a series of data entry screens interesting, I guess.
  • Our fourth demo was from Trevor MacDonald, who showed us Pluggin.it. The idea is to leverage your social network to help you sell stuff. Let’s say you have a car that you want to get rid of. You can offer a reward and then get your friends to “plug” your listing, and if their assistance leads to an eventual sale, they can claim part of the reward. Pluggin.it is in beta (they are having a launch party tonight) but looks pretty polished and definitely has some potential. You can learn more at Brittney’s blog.
  • Our final demo was from Andrew Czarnietzki, who works at 3DI (here’s a profile I did in 2009). He showed us a game he developed in his spare time that makes use of some of the interesting technology available to him at 3DI, such as pureLIGHT. It was really interesting in that it used “weird geography” and light as its unique features. When you fired your weapon, for instance, the light would bend around the geometrical shapes in the game. Looks like it would be a fun game to play on Xbox Live or something like that!

DemoCamp Edmonton 13As a fan of open data and local apps, I really enjoyed My Edmonton. If you haven’t seen it before, check it out. I think Pluggin.it is a neat concept as well, and everyone really seemed to enjoy the demo. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of uptake it gets. My favorite demo was probably the game though – I love it when developers experiment with stuff just because they love it. Who knows, maybe one day Andrew’s game will be available on Xbox Live!

A few announcements:

Thanks to everyone who came out to lucky number 13. See you at DemoCamp Edmonton 14!

Recap: Launch Party Edmonton 2

Tonight we held the second Launch Party here in Edmonton at the old Art Gallery space in Enterprise Square (you can read my recap of Launch Party 1 here). With over 200 people in attendance, awesome startups, and that signature Startup Edmonton vibe, I’d say the event was a big success!

Launch Party 2

If you haven’t already done so, I strongly recommend you check out Doug’s preview of the companies at Launch Party tonight. It’s a great rundown of what everyone is working on. Each company had a table tonight to demo their products and to chat with attendees. They also had the opportunity to make a short elevator pitch in front of the whole crowd (though due to the space configuration, I know some people couldn’t hear, sorry about that).

Here are the companies that participated tonight:

Some of these companies you may have already heard about, such as Fluik or Smibs.tv, both of which were recently written up in the Edmonton Journal. Others, such as Robot Rhythm, have been flying under the radar but are on to something really interesting. Either way, Launch Party is a great way for these companies to showcase some of the really innovative work that is happening right here in Edmonton.

Launch Party 2Launch Party 2

Launch Party is also a great opportunity for the companies to practice their elevator pitches. The space was a little tighter than it was at Launch Party 1, which made saying hello a necessity!

Launch Party 2Launch Party 2

Drinks, music, and great company made the evening an enjoyable one for everybody who braved the first onslaught of winter to attend. Thanks to everyone who came out tonight to support Edmonton’s thriving tech scene.

Launch Party 2Launch Party 2

For more on Startup Edmonton and to find out about future events, check out the website. You can also follow us on Twitter and on Facebook.

You can see the rest of my photos from the evening here.

Recap: Startup Weekend Edmonton

This past weekend was the first Startup Weekend in Canada, held right here in Edmonton! About 30 local developers, designers, and idea people got together at Enterprise Square for the event, organized by Startup Edmonton. As I mentioned last week, Startup Weekend’s mission is to teach entrepreneurship in a fun, interactive way. It’s also a great way to see first-hand the talent that exists in the local tech community.

The weekend got started on Friday evening with the pitches. Anyone with an idea for an application or product was invited to write it down on a flip chart. After all the ideas were collected, each one was given 60 seconds to make an elevator pitch, trying to attract people to the team. When that was done, everyone spread out and slowly but surely teams formed. In the end, six teams came together for the weekend.


The teams starting to form on Friday evening

For all of Saturday and most of Sunday the teams were hard at work on their ideas. There is no required deliverable at the end of Startup Weekend, but each team was working as quickly as possible to get as much done as they could in time for a demo. Startup Weekend forces teams to focus on bringing an idea to life quickly, which is an important skill to have. Ideas are a dime a dozen, but being able to execute on them is much more difficult. Starting with just the seed of an idea and less than two days later having something workable to show to others is incredibly valuable. Another great thing about Startup Weekend is that it provides an opportunity for individuals to work together, even if they had never met before. It’s amazing what can happen when two or more creative people get talking.

As the teams put the final touches on their prototypes on Sunday evening, members of the local tech community started to arrive. The final part of Startup Weekend was the demo, giving teams a chance to show off what they had worked on for the last two days.

Here’s what was built at Startup Weekend Edmonton:

  • HomeCricket, an iPhone application that utilizes Open Data from the City of Edmonton to help you find a house. It shows you assessment information, as well as the nearest police stations, schools, parks, and more.
  • Life Radar, a to-do application for the iPad that uses a points system to motivate you to get things done. Neat app, especially when you consider that no one on the team had ever built an iPad app before!
  • RightPath, a web-based Q & A style app that connects high school students with mentors from the business world. Students ask questions about careers, mentors answer.
  • PaxImperium, a social real-time strategy game for Facebook. With no developers on the team, they focused on a detailed product pitch instead, complete with financial projections.
  • GameGigs, a web-based app that connects game developers, designers, and players. It uses the Twitter API for authentication, which made for an interesting (and challenging) demo!
  • Green Planet, a Facebook-based app (with an iPhone app too) that builds awareness around environmental sustainability. As you complete real-life missions (like replacing light bulbs in your house with energy efficient ones) your virtual planet benefits.

I’m really amazed at what was created in such a short amount of time! The apps were all polished and well-thought out, and while there were some bugs in the demos as expected, every team completed enough to clearly convey their idea. Many of the ideas changed quite a bit from the original pitch on Friday, and it would be interesting to see how they’d change even more if the teams continued working on them. With the Apps4Edmonton competition now underway, I suspect some of the teams may do just that.

There are loose plans for another Startup Weekend in Edmonton, tentatively scheduled for the fall. Stay tuned to Startup Edmonton (and on Twitter) for updates. You can see the rest of my photos from Startup Weekend here.

Congratulations to the Startup Edmonton team and to all the participants for a very fun and successful weekend!

Startup Weekend comes to Edmonton

This weekend Edmonton will host an event called Startup Weekend (on ShareEdmonton), which brings together developers, designers, marketers, inventors, investors, and anyone else interested in startups to see what they can build in just 54 hours. Will the next big thing emerge out of Edmonton? Will the community create something small that positively impacts the lives of Edmontonians? Maybe both!

Startup Weekend has happened in dozens of cities around the world. Their goal is to hold 60 events this year, and 100 in 2011. Here’s some background:

Startup Weekend is a non-profit organization based out of Seattle, WA USA. Startup Weekend is a small team of three along with community leaders around the world. Startup Weekend’s primary mission is to be the most valuable and influential organization in startup communities around the world. Startup Weekend doesn’t have to teach entrepreneurship in a boring classroom setting, we model it in a fun, interactive, and results driven way. As a result, we have become one of the leading catalysts for startup creation, co-founder dating, and entrepreneurship education in startup ecosystems around the world.

You can download a one-pager on Startup Edmonton in PDF here.

The way the event works will be somewhat familiar to anyone who has attended a *camp. It starts with the pitch – ideas for new startup ventures. The favorites are selected, and teams of 4 to 10 people are formed to tackle each one. The rest of the weekend is spent trying to build a prototype, demo, or maybe even a finished product!

The Edmonton event, organized by Startup Edmonton, is taking place at Enterprise Square downtown. The weekend kicks off on Friday evening at 6pm, with introductions and idea pitches. Then the real work begins! Here’s what attendees get out of the event:

Startup Weekend provides an unprecedented level of networking, team building, learning, and life changes for its attendees and their communities. Don’t forget that there will be 6-7 meals and drinks provided. There is a reason that most attendees come back for every event – it’s just plain fun and provides amazing opportunities you can’t get anywhere else. Sometimes a company emerges, sometimes one doesn’t, but every time people leave with more experience, insight, knowledge, friends, and resources than they came with.

Startup Weekend should be a lot of fun! Tickets are $99, which includes meals and beverages for the weekend (there are a few available at half price if you hurry). You can follow @StartupEdmonton on Twitter for updates, as well as the #SWEdmonton hashtag. See you there!

Click here to register for Startup Weekend Edmonton!

Edmonton-based startup Edistorm continues to grow

edistorm One of the things we need to do more of in Edmonton (especially in the tech sector) is celebrate our successes (storytelling). Reg and I talk all the time, but not always about our respective projects. Recently though, I had the opportunity to ask Reg about Edistorm, his web-based, collaborative brainstorming solution. He first previewed it to the local community at DemoCampEdmonton4 back in October 2008, and has been steadily improving it ever since, demoing again at Launch Party in March. Reg said the feedback he received and introductions that he made at Launch Party were particularly useful. I asked him how the service has been doing since then.

Edistorm has been getting a lot of traction lately, largely from customers outside of Edmonton. In the last 30 days alone, Edistorm has had visitors from 103 countries and has signed up over 1000 new users. There are registered users from over 60 countries now (one of the great things about Edistorm is that it doesn’t contain a lot of text that needs to be translated…the short intro video on the website is enough for people in any language to get the idea and start using it).

For those of you new to the service:

Edistorm takes the metaphor of sticky notes on a boardroom wall and brings it online allowing anyone, anywhere to brainstorm with only a web browser.

After you login and create a storm, you’re presented with a nice blank canvas. You can add ideas (on sticky notes, natch) both manually and from “idea bots” that brainstorm with you, then you can organize and vote on them. If you invite others to join your storm, they can add ideas to the canvas and vote in real-time as well.

I asked Reg what was new with Edistorm. Turns out there’s a number of things the team has added recently:

  • You can now get daily email summaries to see which ideas have been added or commented on in your storms.
  • One of the coolest new features is templates, which help your organize your ideas on the storm canvas. When creating a storm, you can choose from SWOT analysis, pros vs. cons, domain names, and more. The team is open to ideas for more templates too!
  • Sharing storms is even easier – you can simply provide a key now, instead of having to invite via email.
  • A new iPhone app will be available in the app store within the next two weeks!

Brainstorming is something everyone does, and Edistorm makes it easy to brainstorm online with others. Reg sounds pretty excited about the growth he’s achieved so far (with very little marketing) and about where the service is headed feature-wise. Best of all, it sounds like some bigger organizations are starting to take notice. I think it’s great that another local startup is doing well, and I know Edistorm will continue to grow!

If you haven’t tried Edistorm yet, you can sign up for a free account here. Be sure to follow @edistorm on Twitter too!

Edmonton IT Community: What are your top 5 needs?

Along with a few other usual suspects I’ve been invited to take part in an informal IT Circle later this week. The goal is to come to some consensus about what the top 5 or 10 needs of local startups and growing IT companies are, so that we can start trying to address them. I feel very strongly that we need to be doing more for the tech community in Edmonton, particularly the part of the community that is often overlooked – web & software. I’ve written about this in the past, most notably here.

The meeting is being hosted by EEDC, who I openly criticized in that post. I’m encouraged by the progress I’ve seen them make over the last six months – I think they’re really making an effort to listen, to learn, and slowly to participate in the community. I hope to see that trend continue, through this meeting and other initiatives.

So now I need your help. If you’re a member of the local IT community, whether it’s biotech, public sector, startups, or something else, what are your top needs? What’s on your wishlist? How can we make the tech community in Edmonton better? Let me know, and I’ll bring that to the table this week. Thanks!

FWIW, here are a few on my list:

  • Micro/seed funding. Small amounts of money to enable entrepreneurs to try things out.
  • Exposure to external experience. How can we connect with people who in other places that could teach us a lot?
  • Storytelling. I talk about this a lot…how can we do a better job of telling local success stories to others?

Recap: Launch Party Edmonton 1

Tonight I attended Edmonton’s first Launch Party, and I’m happy to report that it was awesome! Including the presenting companies, investors, and media, there were about 250 people in attendance, a fantastic turnout and great show of support for Edmonton’s startup scene. There was food, drinks, a DJ, great conversation, and of course, some of Edmonton’s best and brightest entrepreneurs and developers.

Launch Party Edmonton

Ten local companies setup tables around the room, available to demo their products and to talk with potential investors and customers. Each company also got to do an elevator pitch in front of the entire crowd (and all of them did a great job). I wrote about the companies here, but once again, here are the ten that participated tonight:

Each company had a slightly different approach to greeting interested individuals, but Yardstick stood out. They had margarita machines at their table, and gave out free drinks all evening long! Overall, I’d say the event had the same kind of vibe as an artsScene party (for a quick look at what the evening was like, check out this video).

Launch Party EdmontonLaunch Party Edmonton

Launch Party EdmontonLaunch Party Edmonton

I asked as many of the companies as I could about their thoughts on the evening. All of them told me that the opportunity to meet so many people at once was truly valuable. And the opportunity to meet with such different people too – investors, techies, customers, etc. Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves while learning about the companies.

Launch Party EdmontonLaunch Party Edmonton

Like many of the people I talked to tonight, I was impressed with the diversity of the crowd. I feel like I know a lot of people in the local tech community, and there were a lot of people there tonight that I had never met before! It was like a bunch of different communities came together, which is really important for growing the local startup scene.

Launch Party Edmonton

Kudos to Mark, Ken, Cindy, and Cam for putting on an excellent event. Can’t wait for the next one! Stay tuned to the Startup Edmonton site, and follow them on Twitter for updates.

You can see the rest of my photos here. You can watch Ken welcoming everyone here.

Preview: Launch Party Edmonton 1

Edmonton’s first Launch Party is set to rock your socks off on Wednesday evening (on ShareEdmonton). There won’t be any formal presentations or panels, but the event will be a great opportunity to network with some of Edmonton’s best and brightest entrepreneurs and developers. It’s also a chance to celebrate the creative and interesting things happening here!

Ten local “startups” will be featured, as announced here. Here’s what you need to know about these companies and the people behind them:

  • Beamdog
    TWO WORDS: Game Distribution
    WHAT: A digital distribution service for games (think Steam).
    KEY PEOPLE: Trent Oster, formerly of BioWare.
    WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: This is the startup I know the least about! There are some amazing folks in the game industry here in Edmonton, and Trent is one of them. Video games continue to move further into the mainstream, and onto dozens of mobile devices. There’s lots of opportunity.

  • Connect13
    TWO WORDS: Youth Advertising
    WHAT: A social media advertising network targeting Canadian youth.
    KEY PEOPLE: Kevin Swan of Nexopia, Boriz Wertz of W Media Ventures (AbeBooks, Nexopia, Techvibes, others), and others.
    WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: The team’s experience with Nexopia (a social network focused on youth) is what gave birth to Connect13. They are web savvy, they know how to reach young people, and they’re using social media to create an innovative new advertising platform. Large, growing market that is currently being underserved.
    FOLLOW: Twitter

  • Edistorm
    TWO WORDS: Social Brainstorming
    WHAT: Online brainstorming service that lets you share with others in real-time.
    KEY PEOPLE: Reg Cheramy, serial entrepreneur (ZigTag, Book That Bet, One Clap, others).
    PREVIOUSLY SEEN AT: DemoCampEdmonton4, Start Me Up at ICE 2009
    WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: We brainstorm all the time, but typically we’re limited to sticky notes and whiteboards. Edistorm brings brainstorming to the web, so that you can brainstorm with people all around the world, in real-time. Lots of opportunity for decentralized teams, events, etc.
    FOLLOW: Facebook, Twitter

  • Empire Avenue
    TWO WORDS: Monetizing Influence
    WHAT: Measures influence online for monetization via advertising.
    KEY PEOPLE: Duleepa Wijayawardhana formerly of BioWare and Sun/MySQL, Tom Ohle, experienced marketer, Brad Grier, social media guru and blogger for Future Shop, and others.
    WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: People love rankings, and Empire Ave offers a fun way to see how you compare to others online. It’s also an interesting approach to online advertising, a welcome innovation in a world dominated by AdWords.
    PREVIOUSLY SEEN AT: Empire Avenue Launch Party
    FOLLOW: Blog, Facebook, Twitter

  • FotoJournal
    TWO WORDS: Photographer Blogs
    WHAT: Blogging platform built specifically for photographers.
    KEY PEOPLE: Kyle Fox, designer and web developer, formerly of Lift Interactive, currently at Yardstick Software, Jon Smelquist, designer and web developer.
    WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: The proliferation of digital cameras means there are more photographers than ever, making it harder for the pros to stand out from the crowd. WordPress is great for text, but not so great for photos – that’s the void that FotoJournal fills.
    FOLLOW: Facebook, Twitter

  • Mailout Interactive
    TWO WORDS: Email Services
    WHAT: Professionally designed email newsletters and management.
    KEY PEOPLE: Gregg Oldring, founder, Jon Larson, business development, and others.
    WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: Already eight years old, Mailout Interactive is well-established in Edmonton and elsewhere. Dozens of organizations use Industry Mailout, including the City of Edmonton, Original Fare, Homeward Trust, and others. They have a proven, powerful email platform, and email isn’t going anywhere.
    FOLLOW: Facebook, Twitter

  • PureInbox
    TWO WORDS: Information Synchronization
    WHAT: Information synchronization service, wirelessly to any device.
    KEY PEOPLE: Sam Huang, co-founder of Gennux Microsystems, and others.
    PREVIOUSLY SEEN AT: DemoCampEdmonton4
    WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: Email, contacts, calendars, task lists, files – we have more than ever, and we want to access them from any device, no matter where we are. That’s the heady challenge that PureInbox is tackling, with support for Windows Mobile, BlackBerry, the iPhone, and more.

  • Seek Your Own Proof
    TWO WORDS: Smart Entertainment
    WHAT: Online community for kids to investigate history and science.
    KEY PEOPLE: Ken Bautista, one of Edmonton’s Top 40 Under 40, Norman Mendoza of Redengine, and others.
    PREVIOUSLY SEEN AT: DemoCampEdmonton9
    WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: They won TEC VenturePrize, accepted financing from Foundation Equity, and recently signed a deal with Discovery Kids. An all-star team off to an incredible start – keep an eye on this one!
    FOLLOW: Facebook

  • SnowSeekers
    TWO WORDS: Winter Content
    WHAT: Highlights winter destinations in Alberta & British Columbia.
    KEY PEOPLE: Jim Barr, former journalist, and others.
    WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: Fresh off the Winter Olympics, winter tourism in Western Canada is booming. SnowSeekers takes the traditional destination guide to the next level, with in-depth information, mobile apps, and regularly updated content.
    FOLLOW: Blog, Facebook

  • Yardstick Software
    TWO WORDS: Web Testing
    WHAT: Web-based training and testing software and services.
    KEY PEOPLE: Chris LaBossiere, co-founder, Don Riep, co-founder, Greg Kureluk, business development, and others.
    PREVIOUSLY SEEN AT: DemoCampEdmonton8
    WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: Experienced team, active in the community, highly decorated, with a large, loyal customer base, and a culture tuned to change and fast growth. Yardstick surrounds itself with great people, and is well-positioned for additional success. A gem among Edmonton tech companies.
    FOLLOW: Twitter

You can follow all of the above organizations and individuals on Twitter here.

It should be a great evening. The festivities get underway at 6:30pm at the Matrix Hotel. If you don’t already have tickets, you can buy them here for just $10 (some will be available at the door for $15). Follow StartupEdmonton for updates. See you there!

Edmonton Tech in 2009

What another fantastic year for tech in Edmonton! I think 2009 had an excellent mix of events, product launches, company successes, and much more. Below I have tried to recap as much of it as possible. I did my first recap post like this last year – you can read it here.

STIRR in EdmontonCrazedCodersFree beer! London PrideDemoCampEdmonton9Start Me UpENTS Grand OpeningLeveraging Technical Expertise Locally

Events

Again we had a great year for DemoCamp, with five events (five, six, seven, eight, nine). The year started off with STIRR, a networking event for tech founders, funders, and others. In early March, the Alberta Entrepreneurs Bootcamp took place at the University of Alberta. Our second BarCamp event was held in June. In July, Edmonton’s first UXCamp took place. The annual Edmonton Code Camp took place in September. Though it wasn’t exactly a tech event, open data played a large role at ChangeCamp which took place in October. That same weekend, Flash in the Can (FITC) brought Flash developers together. November started with the annual ICE Conference, featuring a new startup focused event called Start Me Up. A couple of weeks later, the Leveraging Technical Expertise Locally open house took place – the pilot will get underway in Q1 2010. Also in November the City hosted an Open Data Workshop, another big step on the path toward open data in Edmonton. The month finished off with the iPhone Dev Camp. The year finished off with the first Startup Drinks, put on by Digital Alberta and Startup Edmonton. Watch for much more from them in 2010.

There were many active tech groups in Edmonton this year. The Social Web Meetup continued going strong. The Edmonton Flash User Group held a number of monthly events, in addition to FITC. Agile Edmonton had a great second year, with regularly monthly events. Other active groups included the Edmonton .NET User Group, the Edmonton Microsoft User Group, the Edmonton Web Design Meetup, and TechWing Wednesday.

With 2009 being the breakout year for Twitter, it’s no surprise that the service featured prominently in Edmonton’s tech scene this year. The first Photography Tweetup took place in April, and the group met a few more times later in the year. Also in April was EdmontonTweetup4, and in June we held EdmontonTweetup5. We held two Twestival events this year, in February and September. In November, the community once again got together to wrap gifts for Santas Anonymous. The last major tweetup of the year, the Holiday Tweetup, took place in December. There were many other smaller tweetups throughout the year. I’ll have more on Twitter in Edmonton in 2009 next week.

News

It’s hard to keep track of all of the news that happens in a year, but here are some of 2009’s most interesting Edmonton tech stories:

And here’s the collection of Edmonton Startup Index posts at Techvibes:

2010

I’m really excited for 2010. I think we’ll see accelerating growth and change in the tech community, based upon the strong foundation laid during the last two years. Here are a few things to watch for:

All the best in the new year!

Have another event, story, or link that should be included above? Let me know in the comments or via email. Thanks!