Harvest Venture Builders adopts AI focus with new climate and energy vertical

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Leaders from energy, FinTech sectors appointed to support Harvest’s new vertical.

Calgary-based venture studio Harvest Venture Builders is adopting an artificial intelligence (AI) focus for its new climate and energy vertical.

Harvest said the new vertical will focus on the implementation of AI operations for energy infrastructure, with the aim of positioning Calgary as a global hub for “energy AI.”

As part of its new energy AI vertical, Harvest made several appointments to its leadership team.

Harvest had an initial focus on startups working in the financial-services space.

The energy AI vertical will be led by Dan Chapman as head of climate and energy, who brings over a decade of experience in the clean electricity sector.

Chapman led the development of a number of marquee Canadian energy projects, including the first hybrid solar and battery project in Alberta, as well as the largest battery project in Canada.

Harvest also tapped Tevi Legge as its head of innovation, who has several years of experience in the field of product development. Legge has led several projects in the areas of digital finance and services, and previously served as the vice-president and head of digital product at ATB.

The financial technology category has been a focus for Harvest Builder as well. Created by SkipTheDishes co-founder Chris Simair, the venture studio supports several FinTech startups, including Neo Financial, which was created by fellow SkipTheDishes founders Andrew Chau and Jeff Adamson.

Harvest launched two startups operating in the areas of financial technology in 2021: OneVest and Propra. With an initial focus on making deals in the financial-services space, the venture studio launched a $14-million CAD investment fund in the same year.

According to Harvest, its new vertical focused on energy will address the barriers limiting the “innovation, capitalization, and commercialization” of technologies by building infrastructure designed to support cross-industry collaboration.

In addition to hiring a leadership team for the energy vertical, Harvest also appointed a group of advisors who share backgrounds at the intersection of energy and tech.

Harvest’s advisory team includes Dan Preston, senior vice-president of strategic initiatives at Lemonade, and former CEO of car insurtech startup Metromile. It also includes Chris Foster, former chief innovation officer at TC Energy, and Jordan Balaban, president of Greengate Power Corporation.

RELATED: Harvest Builders launches venture fund to build on Neo Financial, SkipTheDishes success

In the “upcoming months,” Harvest said it plans to launch a number of new projects aimed at supporting its climate and energy vertical, with partners from across North America and beyond.

Harvest has secured multiple rounds of funding in recent years to expand the resources it offers to startups in the Prairies.

Earlier this year, Harvest received a $3-million investment from PrairiesCan to build its online talent platform. The venture studio also secured $4-million in 2020, which was dispersed over the course of three years from Opportunity Calgary.

Featured image courtesy Unsplash.

Charlize Alcaraz

Charlize Alcaraz

Charlize Alcaraz is a staff writer for BetaKit.

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