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Invent. Inspire. Innovate. Ignite.

Leveraging leading edge research and innovation, we transform some of the world’s biggest challenges into opportunities to benefit Albertans and global communities; fostering economic growth and economic prosperity.

We invest in leading-edge technology startups to bridge the funding gap, empowering brilliant minds to pursue new ideas that solve the most pressing issues of our time and contribute to the province's prosperity.

All returns are reinvested back into the fund for a sustainable pay it forward model made possible by philanthropic support, strategic ecosystem partnerships, and key alumni advisors.

Join our community

Sector focus areas


The University of Alberta is one of the world’s leading Artificial Intelligence institutions, which is reflected by the Innovation Fund’s focus on AI.


We are pioneering cutting edge approaches to health and wellness that leverage technology to detect and treat diseases.


Can the world be powered without endangering it in the process? We firmly believe that it can, and are striving to do so through the Innovation Fund.


From fields to laboratories, we strive to pioneer new methods that increase food production while reducing energy consumption in order to strike a balance between the economy and environment.

Are you looking for funding?
Apply here
We are now accepting expressions of interest. Our team is currently reviewing deal flow, so get in early. We are looking for:
Diverse teams.
Diverse teams with a U of A connection.
Sustainable solutions.
Solutions that create sustainable solutions with global impact in AI, Health, Energy, and/or Agriculture.
Early startups in pre-seed or seed stages.

Our Board

  • Darin Rayburn

    Darin Rayburn

    Board Chair

    President KV Capital

  • Bill Flanagan

    Bill Flanagan


    U of A President and Vice Chancellor

  • Douglas Goss

    Douglas Goss

    Board member

    Q.C., AOE. Counsel

  • Paul Verhesen

    Paul Verhesen

    Board member

    Venture Partner, Clark Builders


  • Sheetal Mehta Walsh

    Sheetal Mehta Walsh


Sheetal Mehta Walsh has extensive global executive leadership experience in investing, technology, and social enterprise. She is a founder, investor in several startups and serves on various boards. Currently she serves as CEO of the University of Alberta Innovation Fund, an AI fund focussed on health, energy and agriculture with a mission to solve some of the world’s most pressing challenges. Highlights of her career include: serving as Chief Strategy Officer, Ministry for Jobs, Economy and Innovation, Gov’t of Alberta Canada; Deal Maker, UK Government’s Global Entrepreneur Programme where she facilitated 1 billion GBP in fundraising and mentored 900 global companies by presenting master classes in entrepreneurship in EMEA and the Americas; created and implemented the first Global VC Relations mission at Microsoft; President of Shanti Life a global microfinance not-for-profit assisting vulnerable people with financial literacy and entrepreneurial skill sets for sustainable living; Director, WestLB Investment Bank, UAE and Gulf Region.

She is a two-time TEDx speaker on entrepreneurship and has provided keynotes at the House of Lords (UK), Doha Forum, Berkeley Haas Business School, Stanford, University College Dublin and completed her MSc. at London School of Economics and her BA at the University of Alberta. In addition, she has attended MIT Management Sloan School and has received the ICD.D designation.

Sheetal, a Canadian and British citizen, l has been recognized for social entrepreneurship by the now King of England, and Cherie Blair; Management Today Top 35 Under 35 UK; Women in Business by Her Majesty The Queen and Alumni Award of Excellence University of Alberta.


  • Tarek Ahmed

    Tarek Ahmed

    Chief Financial Officer

Tarek Ahmed, CPA is a seasoned financial executive with an exceptional track record within the Canadian startup and scaleup ecosystem. As an alumnus of the University of Alberta, he co-founded BRNT Group and served as CFO, deftly securing over $10 million in early stage capital. His leadership was pivotal in propelling BRNT Group to rapid expansion, with a presence spanning 8 countries across North America, Europe, and Oceania.

Tarek's unwavering dedication to nurturing startup success is further exemplified through his role as a mentor with VMSA and 500 Global, a distinguished venture capital firm managing assets exceeding $3 billion. He has imparted invaluable guidance to emerging founders globally.

As Founder of Cronos Advisory, a leading fractional CFO practice specializing in high growth startups, Tarek has overseen operations and transactions extending from North America to Europe, and Australia, among other regions. He has led transactions exceeding $100 million, specializing in early-stage capital raises, mergers, and acquisitions.

Student-Led Operations Team

    The Innovation Fund is powered by a multidisciplinary team of students from the University of Alberta. Thank you to the following students who make the Fund’s operations possible.

    • Nolan Zurek

      Nolan Zurek

      Technology Lead

      Faculty of Science

    • Jenna Allarie

      Jenna Allarie

      Marketing and Communications

      Faculty of Business

    • Mariia Valiieva

      Mariia Valiieva

      Marketing and Communications

      Faculty of Business

    • Jillian Suess

      Jillian Suess

      Marketing and Communications

      Faculty of Business

    • Jude Barros

      Jude Barros

      Ecosystem Analyst

      Faculty of Arts

    • Ryan Hiscock

      Ryan Hiscock

      Deal Flow Scout

      Faculty of Science

    • Mahek Seth

      Mahek Seth

      Financial Advisor

      Faculty of Business

    • Ishan Arora

      Ishan Arora

      Financial Advisor

      Faculty of Business

    Research and Innovation at the U of A

    President Bill Flanagan

    World-changing discoveries are not new to the U of A, and we know that market-ready ideas need funding and supports to succeed. The U of A Innovation Fund ensures the world doesn't miss out on advancements that will power tomorrow's industries and improve our daily lives.

    - President Bill Flanagan

    Want to learn more about Research and Innovation on campus? Check out the office of the Vice President of Research and Innovation here.

    Get Involved

    For all graduates and community members connected to the U of A, we offer an opportunity to contribute as donors or mentors to our fund. By connecting with us, you will actively help us bridge the gap and enable startups with innovative ideas to develop and succeed.