In January, Vancouver-based Evok Innovations launched a new $100 million cleantech fund, uniting the BC Cleantech CEO Alliance with Cenovus Energy Inc. and Suncor Energy, each of which committed up to $50 million in funding over the next 10 years to provide early-stage funding to accelerate development and commercialization for cleantech entrepreneurs in the oil and gas sector.
Today, Evok Innovations revealed the five initial recipients of investments from that fund: Mosaic Materials, Metabolik Technologies, DarkVision Technologies, Rotoliptic Technologies Corporation Inc., and the Institute for Breakthrough Energy Technology.
“This portfolio demonstrates how investing in the commercialization of clean technology can support economic growth and protect the environment,” says Evok chief executive officer, Marty Reed. “Working closely with entrepreneurs and our strategic partners, we will continue to commercialize innovative technologies that both reduce costs and provide solutions to major environmental challenges faced by the oil and gas sector.”
Each of these five companies addresses some aspect of modernizing Canada’s fossil fuel sector, which for decades tended to ignore research & development and innovation, and now has no choice but to innovate in order to survive in a climate typified by the collapsed price of oil, squeezing new efficiencies out of resource extraction and transport to become cleaner and profitable again.
“We’re in a global innovation race to achieve the clean energy future we all want, so we need to be globally competitive on cost, environmental performance and agility,” said Evok board member and Cenovus Executive Vice-President, Business Innovation, Judy Fairburn. “We’re pleased to see this first round of investments from Evok enabling smart entrepreneurs who are developing technologies that could bring substantial environmental and economic benefits to our industry.”
Berkeley, California-based Mosaic Materials is focused on carbon capture, using proprietary metal-organic frameworks to selectively remove impurities, such as CO2, from gas mixtures.
Rotoliptic Technologies Corporation Inc. has developed a patented watering system, applicable to 15% of the $65 billion global pump market and designed to move high viscosity fluids with high solids content, with a focus on pumping crude oil and bitumen in crude truck transfer and electric submersible pump applications.
North Vancouver’s DarkVision Technologies Inc., founded in 2013, has developed an ultrasound-based imaging technology used to image the inside of oil and gas wells, allowing oil and gas operators to reduce operating costs, increase production, improve well integrity and minimize environmental impacts.
Vancouver-based Metabolik is developing a bioremediation platform that allows microbes to treat hazardous compounds found in oil sands tailing ponds.
The Institute for Breakthrough Energy Technologies (IBET) is a community contribution corporation dedicated to efficiently sourcing and accelerating the commercialization of innovative technologies, and evaluating alternative methods of hydrogen supply options that can utilize existing bitumen resources, thereby reducing costs and greenhouse gas emissions of oil sands operations.
“These first investments show how our partnership with Evok is supporting valuable innovation to the Canadian energy sector,” explains Evok board member and Suncor Executive Vice-President, Business Services, Eric Axford. “We are excited to see the progress from these companies whose technologies support our goals in environmental performance and cost reduction.”
Canada’s oil and gas sector, despite the downturn in its financial fortune, remains the country’s largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, accounting for 26% of Canada’s GHGs.
In February, the BC Cleantech CEO Alliance released an open letter, signed by the heads of 51 technology and finance companies and addressed to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, articulating their proposal for developing British Columbia as a global hub of cleantech innovation.
The added value of the Evok Innovations cleantech fund lies in the fact that it’s entrepreneur led, it offers flexible capital which includes equity investments, convertible notes and project focused grants, its capital qualifies for 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 it’s agile in the sense that there’s a minimum of bureaucracy.