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Start-ups pounce on TEC Edmonton office space

Incubator TEC Edmonton says it is close to filling up its new co-working space just weeks after launching.

Good Glucos founder Elliot Gatt speaks to TEC Edmonton CEO Chris Lumb at the incubator's new co-working space on Jasper Avenue.

Matt Kieltyka/Metro

Good Glucos founder Elliot Gatt speaks to TEC Edmonton CEO Chris Lumb at the incubator's new co-working space on Jasper Avenue.

You may not know Good Glucos now but Edmonton entrepreneur Elliot Gatt hopes that changes soon.

Describing the health start-up as “the Dollar Shave Club-slash-Tom’s shoes of diabetic test strips,” Gatt, 33, is one of the tenants of TEC Edmonton’s new downtown co-working space for daring new tech companies on the rise.

“We hope to be that company people in Edmonton recognize and talk about,” said the young executive.

Good Glucos, which launched in January around the same time TEC’s co-working space on Jasper Avenue opened, works by offering diabetics test strips at a reduced price: $45 a month, instead of an average of $80 elsewhere.

For every 12 subscribers, the company gives a low-income diabetic a free supply of strips for a year.

Gatt came up with the idea because of his own experience.

He was diagnosed as a Type 1 diabetic at the age of 17 and said his parents – both “starving artists” – struggled to pay for his testing equipment.

“The Canadian Diabetes Association put out a stat that 57 per cent of Canadians with diabetes don’t follow their prescribed therapy due to cost,” Gatt said. “So what we’re doing is trying to address that problem. The goal is to make everyone be able to have the ability to manage their disease.”

The company currently employs four people and is one of six start-ups that now occupy the incubator office space at 10230 Jasper Ave.

As TEC Edmonton adds more furniture to the space and screens applicants, its CEO Chris Lumb expects up to 10 fledgling companies to call the office home until they’re big enough to move on.

Gatt said the space gives him a prime downtown address with a subsidized rent and access to experts that can propel his company forward.

“This is my first time starting up anything like this, so when it comes to something like TEC Edmonton, they have consultants that can help you and offer training,” said Gatt. “You have access to people that can connect you to [Alberta Health Services], for example. So as a start-up launching into that space and literally trying to disrupt Big Pharma, that’s key for us, having the expertise that we lack.”

The new space specifically caters to companies smaller than TEC Edmonton typically helps.

The companies may be small now, but Lumb said start-ups like these are critical to diversifying the province’s economy.

“We work with about 120 companies per year. They have $600 million in revenue, have invested several hundred million dollars in research and development and employ about 2,500 people in the region,” said Lumb. “It’s not just sort of a few little companies here and there. It’s a lot of activity. This is creating a more healthy future.”

And everyone loves a success story.

“I think there are some really cool companies coming out of it,” said Lumb. “It’s exciting and fun, too.”

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