How an idea over drinks turned into a company that invests in local business

Startup TNT hosts Summit V, a competition that brings the business community together

By Emma Boyne | July 15, 2022 |5:00 am

Startup TNT recently hosted Summit V as a way to invest in local startups including Calgary's YR Plans Inc.

Photo: Submitted

Startup TNT began three years ago as an idea between friends meeting over drinks as a “Thursday night tradition.” It would become a company that supports and invests in local businesses. 

Startup TNT recently hosted its fifth summit — Summit V — to help invest in local startups across Alberta and Saskatchewan.

With three competitions, the summit raised money for companies in Edmonton, Calgary, and Saskatchewan, naming three winners and seven side deals, with five of the deals worth more than $100,000.

Since its inception, the organization has raised over $6 million for startups across the Prairies, while investing in 42 companies. 

Paying it forward 

The summits have been massively successful in creating a cycle of support, according to Zack Storms, the founder and chief organizer of Startup TNT. 

Having seen what connections in entrepreneurship can do, Storms hopes that people continue to engage in these types of opportunities. 

“We run a standard summit process, which is a combination of a deal screening and due diligence process for investors that they do together as a team,” he says, adding that includes a variety of fun public events that showcase the content.

“It’s about learning how the investing works for the investors, building relationships that last years, and building a great community overall.” 

An opportunity like no other 

Summit V saw five deals over $1 million, with each region bringing in over $300,000: Edmonton earned $313,000, Calgary earned $342,000, and Saskatchewan earned $391,500. 

With 100 companies applying and about 80 investors participating, Storms says each person who attends the summit gets an experience like no other. 

“People from all over the community can tune in, they can go in person, they can meet the companies, they can offer support,” Storms says. 

“Maybe they’re potential customers, maybe they’re potential partners, maybe they’re potential team members.”

Despite some companies not getting deals, there are endless possibilities for all who are connected to the TNT summits. Storms wants local companies to grow larger each day. 

“There’s also a bunch of companies that didn’t raise money from TNT, but went on to be very successful and raise money elsewhere,” Storms says. “It’s that whole community process.”

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Emma Boyne

Emma Boyne is an intern at Calgary Citizen.

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