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 fund.
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 companies.
"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 Cleantech Practice.
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 this Fund."
"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 companies.
For further information:
Chris Stevenson Director, Communications