Evok Innovations has launched a new $100 million cleantech fund in Vancouver, uniting the BC Cleantech CEO Alliance with Cenovus Energy Inc. and Suncor Energy, to provide early-stage funding to accelerate development and commercialization for cleantech entrepreneurs in the oil and gas sector.
Cenovus and Suncor have committed up to $50 million each in funding over the next 10 years.
Billing itself as “a first-of-its-kind investment partnership fueling the next energy transition”, the fund launches just one month after the provincially backed $100 million B.C. Tech Fund to be aimed at start-ups, signalling a provincial commitment to technology as key to British Columbia’s economic future.
“Evok is uniquely placed to fuel the transition to a cleaner energy future,” said Evok CEO Marty Reed. “Using the extensive insights offered by our oil and gas partners, Evok can identify and fund promising cleantech innovations and accelerate the commercialization of those technologies.”
Evok will connect entrepreneurs with flexible capital, mentorship and industry leaders to accelerate the scalability, range and quality of early-stage innovations that are focused on the oil and gas industry.
“The oil and gas industry is undergoing a fundamental transformation that will require a new generation of cleantech solutions to minimize impact, lower costs and deliver cleaner energy products to consumers,” said BC Cleantech CEO chair and Axine Water Technologies CEO Jonathan Rhone. “Evok is a unique partnership designed to find, finance and accelerate disruptive technologies to meet the challenges facing Canada’s energy industry. As a driving force in the global cleantech ecosystem, Evok can leverage billions in new investment, create thousands of new jobs and help expand Canada’s cleantech industry.”
Especially at a time when oil is trading at a value lower than the cost of production, it’s incumbent on resource companies to innovate technological solutions to prepare for the eventual day that the commodity returns to values that will reward companies that pushed beyond the status quo.
“As British Columbia continues to grow as a clean technology innovation hub, creating opportunities for entrepreneurs to flourish, Evok is at the tip of the spear,” said Premier Christy Clark. “This partnership aligns perfectly with our new BCTECH Strategy, particularly the venture capital fund to help bolster the technology industry and diversify British Columbia’s economy.”
The added value that this fund promises hinges on several characteristics: that it is entrepreneur led; it offers flexible capital which includes equity investments, convertible notes and project focused grants; its capital qualifies and industry funding that can be matched with non-diluted sources; it provides access to customers already in contact with companies tied in to the Cleantech CEO Alliance; there are no strings attached with respect to intellectual property or exclusive rights; and its agile in the sense that there’s a minimum of bureaucracy.
Entrepreneurs with an early-stage company seeking funding can apply here.