The CIX Cleantech: 2015 Game Changers event was exactly that, a meeting place for groundbreaking companies that do not shy away from a challenge. Held at MaRS on October 15, the inaugural event was a collaboration between the Canadian Innovation Exchange (CIX) and MaRS Cleantech. Featuring panel discussions with industry experts, first-rate networking opportunities and exclusive company exhibits, CIX Cleantech was more than just a showcase of companies working in Canada’s fastest growing industry, it was a celebration of the incredible technology that is to come in the near future.
As discussed in the day’s first panel, the cleantech industry has incredible potential and is growing at a faster pace than most people are aware of. Tom Rand, managing partner at ArcTern Ventures, noted that cleantech may not be a trendy subject right now in Silicon Valley—arguably the world’s centre of entrepreneurship and innovation—but that ultimately does not matter because the cleantech industry is a necessary part of the solution to the world’s existing and continually increasing environmental problems.
Although North America has been slow to adopt this industry when compared to Asia and Europe, it is predicted that Ontario will operate on 50% renewable energy within 10 to 20 years. Audrey Mascarenhas, the president and CEO of Questor Technology, started her company in 1999 when she was told that the green sector would never take off and that being sustainable was not profitable. Today, cleantech is one of the fastest growing industries in the world.
Cleantech has seen significant growth in the last 10 years. Still, the entrepreneurs and startups dedicated to the industry’s movement can only continue to flourish through events like CIX Cleantech. By connecting budding companies with industry veterans and investors, events like this one offer ways for new companies to grow by forging key relationships, sharing knowledge and creating awareness.
The event also showcased 10 of the most game-changing cleantech companies from across the country, giving each the opportunity to present an 8-minute snapshot of their solution to a crowd of over 300 investors and peers in the cleantech ecosystem, highlighting the most innovative aspects of their technology and business model, and outlining their go-to-market strategy. One of these companies was Nanoleaf, makers of the world’s most energy efficient light bulb (a 60-watt equivalent that uses a mere 7.5 watts of energy).
Gimmy Chu, the co-founder and CEO of Nanoleaf, presented the company’s newest connected LED lighting product at the event, the soon-to-be-released Smarter Kit lighting system (stay tuned for the related Indiegogo campaign on October 26!). It will make the most energy efficient light bulb even smarter by allowing you to turn on the lights with your voice, marking the beginning of the future of smart home automation.
“Light is not merely illumination. Light is atmosphere. It wakes you up after a night of sleep and it keeps us safe and content just as much today as it did two million years ago when our ancestors learned to control fire,” explains Gimmy. “We built the world’s most energy-efficient light bulb in 2013, but why stop there? I am incredibly proud to see our diverse team innovate beyond the boundaries of convention. We bring you today the first look at the future of lighting.”
These cloud-connected bulbs will be interoperable with popular existing smart home hubs and are iOS compatible (Android compatibility coming soon), ensuring that the Nanoleaf Smarter Kit is future proofed. With their Internet connectivity, the lights can adjust based on external data, such as cost of electricity, time of day or weather. They can also be adjusted via wearable devices, which will help to further promote the adoption of energy-efficient technology. The kit includes two Smart Ivy bulbs and one Nanoleaf Smart Hub (the gateway that connects the bulbs to your phone).