MaRS Discovery District has partnered with KPMG Canada to launch the Climate Impact Accelerator.
“While large corporations and governments have the will and the financial resources to innovate, they sometimes lack the agility of startups.”
– Armughan Ahmad
The program aims to advance commercialization in Canada’s cleantech sector and build a stronger network between startups, corporations, and governments. The two organizations cited KPMG Canada’s client base and MaRS’ advisory expertise as a way to make that happen.
“Often, startups and corporates don’t talk to each other, and they tend to operate in silos,” says Yung Wu, CEO of MaRS Discovery District. “This collaboration brings together their complementary capabilities and helps bridge the gap in Canada’s innovation ecosystem.”
KPMG and MaRS noted that their collaboration can potentially be scaled to other areas such as financial services, healthcare, environmental, social and governance (ESG) and retail.
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KPMG and MaRS are taking a non-chort approach to this accelerator, choosing instead to work with companies as they sign-up for the program. A spokesperson for the companies told BetaKit, “it is a program that we can design and customize for large public and private sector players in Canada to help them access emergent cleantech ventures.”
To date, only one company has joined the program: Montreal-based startup BrainBox AI, which is a MaRS portfolio company. The company specializes in artificial intelligence (AI) software that optimizes HVAC Systems to make buildings more energy efficient and greener. In October, BrainBox raised $24 million CAD in Series A capital for continued global expansion.
The Climate Impact Accelerator is one of the latest programs that MaRS has launched with the aim to scale cleantech innovations.
MaRS has an existing cleantech network, working with cleantech companies to bring their products to market. MaRS provides advice, as well as connections to talent, capital and global markets.
The startups in MaRS’ cleantech network include the likes of BrainBox, EnPowered, ecobee, and GHGSat.
MaRS’s corporate accelerator partnerships also include the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), as the pair launched the RBC Women in Cleantech Accelerator last year. RBC is supporting the initiative through its RBC Tech for Nature initiative, a multi-year commitment to preserving the world’s natural ecosystems.
A spokesperson for MaRS told BetaKit that 10 ventures have participated in the Women in Cleantech accelerator to date.
Founded in 2000, MaRS said it supports over 1,400 Canadian science and tech companies with a focus on cleantech, health, fintech, and enterprise software. Since 2008, MaRS, claims that the companies it has supported has raised $10.6 billion in capital to date.
Most recently, MaRS appointed Canada’s chief information officer CIO (CIO) Catherine Luelo to its board of directors. Luelo is also the deputy minister at the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat.
Prior to her appointment as CIO in July last year, Luelo was the senior vice president and CIO at Air Canada. In that role, she was responsible for the company’s information technology systems and led its AI innovation efforts. She has also held executive roles at major Canadian companies, including Enbridge Inc., WestJet Airlines Ltd., and TELUS Communications.
In addition to Luelo, MaRS’ board of directors also include Allen Lau, former CEO and co-founder of Wattpad and Claudette McGowan, global executive officer for cybersecurity at TD Canada.
Featured image from The Canadian Club of Toronto via Flickr.