FU­TURE OF STOR­AGE

NiCk Cow­ley of ATTABotiCs InC. Builds ro­Bot CAn­is­ters on Wednes­dAy, As the teCh Com­pAny wAs se­leCted By the Op­por­tu­nity CAl­gAry In­vest­ment Fund to re­Ceive up to $4.5 mil­lion to Cre­Ate joBs And help di­ver­sify the lo­CAl eCon­omy.

Calgary Herald - - FRONT PAGE - AMANDA STEPHEN­SON astephen­[email protected]­media.com Twit­ter.com/Aman­daMsteph

A Cal­gary-based com­pany that wants to rein­vent the sup­ply chain with its 3-D robotic goods stor­age and ware­hous­ing sys­tem has been awarded up to $4.5 mil­lion from a city fund that aims to help di­ver­sify the lo­cal econ­omy.

ATTAbotics Inc. — which em­ploys 115 peo­ple at its north­east Cal­gary of­fices — is the sec­ond re­cip­i­ent of grant fund­ing from the $100-mil­lion Op­por­tu­nity Cal­gary In­vest­ment Fund, which was es­tab­lished by city coun­cil to ben­e­fit com­pa­nies and non-prof­its propos­ing projects that will cre­ate jobs, spur di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion and ex­pand the prop­erty tax as­sess­ment base.

The com­pany will use the money to ex­pand its op­er­a­tions in Cal­gary, hir­ing 150 more em­ploy­ees and con­struct­ing a new pro­duc­tion fa­cil­ity at the YYC Global Lo­gis­tics Park at Cal­gary In­ter­na­tional Air­port.

It also in­tends to even­tu­ally build a new cor­po­rate head­quar­ters and re­search cam­pus at the site.

ATTAbotics has seen ex­plo­sive growth since its found­ing in 2016, and cur­rently has 60 open job post­ings. Many of its em­ploy­ees are for­mer en­gi­neers and project man­agers who used to work in the oil and gas sec­tor.

“I believe what Cal­gary has been look­ing for is a new pur­pose for its tal­ented peo­ple,” said ATTAbotics founder and CEO Scott Grav­elle. “We wouldn’t have been pos­si­ble had there been a re­ally strong oil and gas in­dus­try in Cal­gary … To com­pete as a startup tech­nol­ogy com­pany in this mar­ket against oil and gas, his­tor­i­cally, was al­most im­pos­si­ble.”

ATTAbotics de­signs and man­u­fac­tures a ro­bot­ics au­to­mated stor­age and re­trieval sys­tem used to store, ac­cess and move goods around a fa­cil­ity. The com­pany says its scal­able de­sign cuts en­ergy costs and re­duces space re­quire­ments in ware­houses by 85 per cent, and is al­ready be­ing used in sec­tors such as e-com­merce, lo­gis­tics, re­tail, gro­cery and ad­vanced man­u­fac­tur­ing.

Barry Munro, chair of the Op­por­tu­nity Cal­gary In­vest­ment Fund, said the board was struck by ATTAbotics’ abil­ity to com­pete in a sec­tor that is ripe for dis­rup­tion and was also aware that ATTAbotics was be­ing courted by U.S. ju­ris­dic­tions that were will­ing to of­fer vary­ing in­cen­tives as well as a com­pet­i­tive tax struc­ture.

Grav­elle ac­knowl­edged Wednes­day that the OCIF grant was a fac­tor in the com­pany’s de­ci­sion to keep its ex­pan­sion in Cal­gary.

“We (the board) de­bated a bit if that is the role of the fed­eral govern­ment, to level the play­ing field, or the provin­cial govern­ment, and then we just said, ‘we’ve got to take this into our own hands’ be­cause we wanted Cal­gary jobs here,” Munro said.

Munro said the money will be paid out in in­stal­ments and is de­pen­dent on ATTAbotics meet­ing its stated tar­gets around job cre­ation and cap­i­tal in­vest­ment.

He said the board be­lieves the com­pany has the op­por­tu­nity to not only be suc­cess­ful in a very mod­ern in­dus­try, but also to in­spire a host of other in­no­va­tive, tech­nol­ogy-based com­pa­nies in Cal­gary.

“The peo­ple of Cal­gary need you (ATTAbotics) to be suc­cess­ful,” Munro said. “We’re lev­er­ag­ing their money to help trans­form Cal­gary, this great place that we all love and call home, to be com­pet­i­tive in the next phase in a glob­ally dis­rupted world.”

“We know ATTAbotics is go­ing to change the world of e-com­merce and how you re­ceive the goods that you or­der ev­ery day,” said Mayor Na­heed Nen­shi. “OCIF has made what I call a small but sur­gi­cal in­vest­ment … to give them just that lit­tle bit of a spring­board they need to get to that next level of growth.”

The Op­por­tu­nity Cal­gary Fund awarded its first grant of $1.5 mil­lion in Oc­to­ber to MobSquad, a startup that has opened an of­fice in down­town Cal­gary. MobSquad, which is promis­ing to cre­ate 150 en­gi­neer­ing jobs, matches tal­en­thun­gry Sil­i­con Val­ley star­tups with soft­ware en­gi­neers and data sci­en­tists who can work re­motely from Canada.

The fund, which has re­ceived more than 175 ap­pli­ca­tions since its launch, ex­pects to an­nounce ad­di­tional suc­cess­ful grant re­cip­i­ents in Jan­uary.

DAR­REN MAKOWICHUK

DAR­REN MAKOWICHUK

Scott Grav­elle, Co-founder and CEO of ATTAbotics Inc., says a grant from the Op­por­tu­nity Cal­gary In­vest­ment Fund in­flu­enced the com­pany’s de­ci­sion to stay and grow in Cal­gary.

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