TORONTO, March 26, 2012 /CNW/ - MaRS is pleased to announce the launch
of Canada's first dedicated early-stage cleantech venture fund. The MaRS Cleantech Fund LP ushers in a new model in early-stage technology investing by leveraging
the strength of a non-exclusive, but strategic relationship between MaRS Discovery District and the private sector.
With the first close of the $30-million goal already secured solely from
private investors, the Fund is pleased to announce its first two
investments: GreenMantra, which has developed a proprietary technology platform to convert
plastics into chemicals and other fuels; and Smart Energy Instruments (SEI), which is on track to create low-cost energy sensors that form the
backbone of a smarter grid by providing real-time, highly granular data
measurements. The Fund will draw from a strong portfolio of MaRS client
companies that target the large and growing global cleantech market,
and will co-invest with angels and other institutional funds, including
the Investment Accelerator Fund (IAF), Ontario's seed stage investment
The Fund managers, Dr. Tom Rand and Murray McCaig, will contribute a
significant portion of their proceeds to MaRS to ensure that it can
continue its mission to support the development of promising technology
"We have great companies here at MaRS. They've got strong intellectual
property, and many have a real chance at global leadership if they can
get to market fast enough. Finding that first million or two has always
been a challenge in Canada, and we intend to fill that gap," said Dr.
Tom Rand, Managing Director of the Fund, and Senior Advisor to the MaRS
The Fund has attracted capital from a number of private investors,
including Greg Kiessling, co-founder of Bullfrog Power and founder of
private investment company, Up Capital Ltd. "Early-stage investing is
potentially very rewarding, but also extremely risky. The MaRS
relationship mitigates some of the risk. There's a huge pipeline of
investing opportunities, as well as support in getting those companies
into growth mode. Up Capital is pleased to act as a lead investor in
"Over the past five years, MaRS has built a unique platform to support
high-growth new economy firms, upon which major funding opportunities
like these can now develop," said Dr. Ilse Treurnicht, CEO, MaRS
Discovery District. "With remarkable growth in the global cleantech
market, we need to capitalize on this momentum and provide our most
promising cleantech entrepreneurs with the critical early-stage funding
they need to become tomorrow's market leaders, driving economic growth
here at home."
According to Ottawa-based Analytica Advisors, the global cleantech
market is expected to reach $3 trillion by 2020. "If Canada captures
just 2 per cent of the cleantech market by 2020, which also happens to
be our share of carbon emissions, we'd build a $60-billion industry.
We're investing in the next generation of global leaders in this
sector," said Murray McCaig, Managing Director of the Fund.
About the MaRS Cleantech Fund
The MaRS Cleantech Fund (www.marsvf.com) is a private venture fund focused on early-stage cleantech investing.
The Fund will invest in capital-efficient companies with strong
intellectual property, a global market opportunity and experienced
management teams. Portfolio companies will be encouraged to seek
maximum support from MaRS. The fund is managed by two experienced
entrepreneurs: Dr. Tom Rand (Twitter: @tomrand, website www.tomrand.net) and Murray McCaig (Twitter: @murraymccaig).
MaRS Discovery District (www.marsdd.com) (Twitter: @MaRSDD) is a mission-driven innovation centre located in Toronto. MaRS works
with partners to catalyze, accelerate and amplify innovation. MaRS
supports entrepreneurs building Canada's next generation of growth
SOURCE MaRS Discovery District
For further information:
Chris Stevenson Director, Communications