VentureLink Investments Provide Returns to Ontario Universities



    TORONTO, Feb. 6 /CNW/ - Four of Ontario's leading research universities
will receive $960,000 today from VentureLink LP, manager of the VentureLink
Group of labour-sponsored investment funds (LSIFs).
    McMaster University, Queen's University, the University of Toronto and
the University of Waterloo will each receive a portion of the payment. The
funding is the result of a successful "exit" from (or sale of) VentureLink's
investments in Ventus Energy Inc. Ventus is a privately-held developer of wind
farm projects founded by two University of Waterloo alumni.
    While the universities have yet to decide what they will do specifically
with the funding, representatives of each institution say they will use their
funds to support ongoing research and commercialization activities.
    In 2003, VentureLink Balanced Fund invested $1.4 million in Ventus
through funds created under Province of Ontario's Community Small Business
Investment Fund (CSBIF). The CSBIF program was created in 1997 to encourage
"community sponsors" to develop partnerships that provide greater access to
capital for small, local businesses. Community sponsors may be a municipality,
a First Nations Council, college, research institute or, in this case,
universities.
    "Ventus demonstrates the benefits of early stage investing in Ontario,"
said John Varghese, Managing Partner of VentureLink and Chairman of Ventus.
"We invested in a pure start-up company. Working with the founders and a
strong board that included leaders such as former Ontario Premier David
Peterson, we were able to be a part of this made in Ontario success story."
    VentureLink Balanced Fund has worked with universities to commercialize
nine opportunities through both the CSBIF and LSIF (an investment fund
sponsored by labour organizations) programs. These projects have included
patented biodiesel process developed by Dr. David Boocock at the University of
Toronto, the reactive iron barrier water treatment solution developed by
Professor Bob Gillham at the University of Waterloo, solar energy innovations
developed by Dr. Stephen Harrison at Queen's University.
    "VentureLink is delighted to have had the ability under the CSBIF and
LSIF programs to help these institutions commercialize their research," said
Geoff Horton, also Managing Partner at VentureLink. "Now, as the investments
mature, we are equally delighted that the sponsoring institutions are getting
a second benefit of participating financially in their eventual success. We
look forward to making similar payments to sponsoring institutions in the
future."

    About VentureLink

    With over $255 million under management, VentureLink Funds is a diverse
group of labour-sponsored funds ("LSIF"). VentureLink Funds give investors
access to well-diversified portfolios of established companies operating in
traditional industries such as financial, manufacturing and service industries
as well as dynamic industries like alternative energy and information
technology. For more information, please visit: www.venturelinkfunds.com.

    About McMaster University

    McMaster University, a world-renowned, research-intensive university,
fosters a culture of innovation, and a commitment to discovery and learning in
teaching, research and scholarship. Based in Hamilton, the University, one of
only four Canadian universities to be listed on the Top 100 universities in
the world, has a student population of more than 23,000, and an alumni
population of more than 130,000 in 128 countries. For more information visit:
www.mcmaster.ca

    About PARTEQ Innovations Inc.

    PARTEQ Innovations was founded by Queen's University at Kingston,
Ontario, in 1987 to commercialize intellectual property (e.g. inventions)
arising from university-generated research. A not-for-profit organization,
PARTEQ provides Queen's researchers with the business and financial expertise
that is needed to advance their discoveries to the public, while returning the
proceeds from those activities to researchers and the university. Since its
inception PARTEQ has returned more than $20 million to the university and its
inventors. For more information visit: www.parteqinnovations.com

    About University of Toronto - The Innovations Group (TIG)

    TIG brings together researchers and businesses to capitalize on the ideas
developed at the University of Toronto and the hospitals affiliated with the
university, where more than $2 million worth of research is conducted daily.
The TIG team advances promising projects in key areas of expertise: Physical
Sciences & Engineering, Life Sciences and Information Technology. For more
information visit: www.utoronto.ca

    About University of Waterloo

    Founded in 1957, the University of Waterloo is this year celebrating 50
years as one of Canada's most innovative universities. Its accomplishments
include introducing co-operative education in Canada; launching a unique
master of business, entrepreneurship and technology program; and creating one
of the world's first quantum computers. The University of Waterloo Research
and Technology Park, located on UW's north campus, is designed to eventually
house thousands of researchers, create new technology jobs and generate
billions of dollars in economic impact. For more information visit:
www.uwaterloo.ca




For further information:

For further information: John Varghese, Managing Partner, VentureLink
LP, (416) 681-6371

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VENTURELINK LP

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