Turning the Canadian cleantech dial up to 11
Canadian cleantech had a great 2014! And joy and cheer came early for five ventures that were originally seed-funded by the MaRS Investment Accelerator Fund and our colleagues at ArcTern Ventures. Combined, the following five ventures secured $70 million in additional capital this fall.
- The wax and recycling industries met with a $17-million follow-on investment for GreenMantra Technologies.
- SPARQ Systems secured $11 million to get its long-life microinverter into the hands of the solar industry.
- 3M New Ventures invested $5.6 million in Smart Energy Instruments, enabling the company’s efforts to measure electron phase angles on the grid with a tiny chip.
- REGEN Energy’s swarm logic technology brought in another $12 million.
- Ranovus took in US$24 million to dramatically improve data centre energy use and cost with its multi-wavelength quantum dot and photonics breakthroughs.
We aren’t only seeing capital flow to help boost cleantech in 2015, we’re also starting to see its impact in conventional markets—true infrastructure disruption. Perhaps most notable was an announcement at the end of November that E.ON, Germany’s largest utility, was restructuring to “respond to dramatically altered global energy markets, technical innovation, and more diverse customer expectations with a bold new beginning.” The announcement sent shockwaves through the utility industry worldwide.
All signals point to a cleantech rally in 2015, and MaRS Cleantech venture services has three big picture objectives to help make the rally louder.
- Build an army. MaRS Cleantech hopes to expand its existing partnerships and to build new ones to help Canadian ventures gather the teams they need to mobilize for global markets.
- Strengthen supply chains. We want to help capture the waterfall effect of job creation that comes with revenue growth. To do so, we will reach out to experienced integrators and manufacturers from adjacent industries to show them the opportunities and get them excited and involved in cleantech.
- Break the barriers. The regulated and infrastructure-dominated industries that cleantech serves have some systemic barriers to innovation that we all need to collaborate on to remove. We will continue to bring diverse stakeholders together to have the tough conversations needed to facilitate the transition to new technologies.
Throughout 2015 we will continue to explore, participate in and keep you posted about ambitious international efforts that are at the forefront of industry developments. We’re turning up the dial to 11—bringing you news and updates on those developments that are just starting to emerge and those that already have enough traction to show they are here to stay. Many efforts in energy, agriculture and transportation involve entirely new business models with the proliferation of measurement, control and connectivity.
Customers’ expectations are changing, and so are the expectations of our Canadian cleantech industry. In 2015, as consumers’ attitudes continue to shift and they begin considering themselves as market participants rather than simply bill payers, our industry incumbents can embrace cleantech to do the same.