MaRS clients were in the spotlight this week as Premier Dalton McGuinty announced equity investments in eight promising technology ventures.
The companies will each receive up to $500,000 from the $29 million Investment Accelerator Fund, a seed fund that is co-managed on behalf of the province by MaRS and the Ontario Centres of Excellence.
The IAF investments (typically made through convertible debentures) are designed to bridge the funding gap faced by many fledgling companies trying to scale up operations. Similar government-backed funds are at work in tech-boosting jurisdictions around the world, the aim being to “de-risk” early-stage investment and attract further private equity or venture capital to follow the lead.
“Through the IAF, the province also recognizes that timing is everything and with their support we have every indication that we’ve hit the window to build leadership and scale in our fast-growing (marketing) category,” said Wendy Robertson, Co-Founder and CEO of Toronto’s Kneebone Inc., which offers proprietary software and related services to corporate clients seeking to make their marketing efforts more effective.
The other companies funded span a range of cleantech sectors from water and energy to software and hardware solutions: C2C Link of Hamilton, IPeak Networks of Ottawa, and Toronto’s Echologics, Nulogy, Skymeter, Sysomos and Regen Energy.
“MaRS is very pleased to have helped these companies ready themselves for the marketplace – either with market intelligence or hands-on advisory services and, in one case, incubator space at the MaRS Centre,” said MaRS CEO Ilse Treurnicht, who attended the funding announcement at Centennial College with the Premier and John Wilkinson, Minister of Research and Innovation. (Centennial College is a test site for Regen Energy’s efficiency control products.)
“Each of these companies has created a technology with the potential to compete on the world stage,” said Mark Romoff, President and CEO, Ontario Centres of Excellence. “IAF allows them to take that crucial next step, whether through product development, the recruitment of staff or the execution of a commercialization plan so they come out of the gate ready to thrive in their markets.”
Read more about the announcement and the companies funded at www.ontario.ca