MaRS Discovery District in Toronto has launched Canada's "first dedicated early-stage cleantech venture fund." Called the MaRS Cleantech Fund LP, it "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," according to a statement released by the organization.
The fund has secured an impressive $30 million for its first run. And it's already made two investments: GreenMantra, which has developed a proprietary technology platform to convert plastics into chemicals and other fuels, and Smart Energy Instruments, which is "on track" to create low-cost energy sensors that form the backbone of a smarter grid through real-time, granular data measurements.
The MaRS Cleantech Fund LP will target the global cleantech market and will co-invest with angels and the Investment Accelerator Fund, Ontario's seed stage investment fund, MaRS says. The fund managers are Dr. Tom Rand and Murray McCaig.
"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 inCanada, and we intend to fill that gap," said Dr. Tom Rand, Managing Director of the Fund, and Senior Advisor to the MaRS Cleantech Practice.
"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."