RBC Generator, the impact investing arm of RBC’s Social Finance Initiative, has committed $500,000 to MaRS Cleantech Fund, a $30 million private partnership founded last year by Toronto-based innovation hub MaRS Discovery District. MaRS Cleantech Fund, profiled in July by peHUB Canada, provides early-stage funding to companies developing next-generation cleantech technologies. RBC’s Social Finance Initiative was capitalized with $20 million in 2012 to promote Canadian social and environmental change through private investment activity.
RBC inks first deal for its Social Finance initiative, investing $500,000 in MaRS Cleantech Fund
Toronto, August 21, 2013 – MaRS Discovery District today announced that the RBC Generator, the impact investing arm of RBC’s Social Finance initiative, has invested $500,000 in the MaRS Cleantech Fund, Canada’s most active dedicated early-stage cleantech venture fund. This is the first deal announced through the RBC initiative.
Launched in 2012, the MaRS Cleantech Fund aims to provide early-stage funding to companies developing next-generation clean technology breakthroughs with global markets, deep intellectual property and capital-lean business models. The Fund also leverages the strength of a non-exclusive, strategic relationship between MaRS and the private sector.
The RBC Generator provides financing for enterprises that address clean water, energy efficiency, or employment opportunities for youth or disadvantaged groups.
“RBC’s investment speaks to the momentum that is building around the impact investing agenda both in Canada and globally,” said Tom Rand, co-managing director, MaRS Cleantech Fund. “The MaRS Cleantech Fund targets technologies that will change the energy game. This investment from RBC will help these ambitious and talented entrepreneurs become global leaders.”
The MaRS Cleantech Fund will invest in 10-12 cleantech companies that aim to provide solutions to pressing challenges such as rising energy prices, resource scarcity and carbon emission constraints. The Fund is able to mitigate early-stage investment risks by leveraging its relationship with MaRS, which provides access to a leading network of innovators developing clean and sustainable technologies. According to Ottawa-based Analytica Advisors, the global cleantech market is expected to reach $3 trillion by 2020.
“RBC is proud to support MaRS in its efforts to help ignite entrepreneurship and innovation in Canada by funding businesses that deliberately seek to make positive contributions to the community,” said Sandra Odendahl, head of RBC’s Social Finance initiative. “Our investment in the MaRS Cleantech Fund is the first made by the RBC Generator, and we hope that others in the business community will make similar commitments to help create positive social and environmental change.”
Today’s announcement is part of RBC’s multi-million-dollar commitment to help drive social and environmental change through private investment activity. This commitment includes the $10 million RBC Generator—a pool of RBC capital designed to finance enterprises addressing social and environmental challenges—and a $10 million investment of RBC Foundation assets into socially responsible investment funds.
About the MaRS Cleantech Fund
The MaRS Cleantech Fund (www.marsvf.com) is a private venture fund focused on early-stage cleantech investing. The Fund invests in capital-efficient companies with strong intellectual property, a global market opportunity and experienced management teams. Portfolio companies are encouraged to seek maximum support from MaRS. The Fund is managed by two experienced entrepreneurs: Dr. Tom Rand (Twitter: @tomrand, www.tomrand.net) and Murray McCaig (Twitter: @murraymccaig).
About MaRS Discovery District
MaRS Discovery District (Twitter: @MaRSDD) is a mission-driven innovation centre located in Toronto. MaRS works with partners to catalyze, accelerate and amplify innovation. MaRS supports entrepreneurs building Canada’s next generation of growth companies. In the last three years, MaRS startup clients have raised over $750 million in capital, earned over $375 million in revenue and hired well over 3,500 workers into knowledge economy jobs.
Royal Bank of Canada (RY on TSX and NYSE) and its subsidiaries operate under the master brand name RBC. We are Canada’s largest bank as measured by assets and market capitalization, and are among the largest banks in the world, based on market capitalization. We are one of North America’s leading diversified financial services companies, and provide personal and commercial banking, wealth management services, insurance, and investor services and wholesale banking on a global basis. We employ approximately 80,000 full- and part-time employees who serve more than 15 million personal, business, public sector and institutional clients through offices in Canada, the U.S. and 44 other countries. For more information, please visit rbc.com.
RBC is recognised among the world’s financial, social and environmental leaders and is listed on the 2012-2013 Dow Jones Sustainability World Index, the DJSI North American Index, the Jantzi Social Index and the FTSE4Good Index. RBC is one of Canada’s Greenest Employers, one of Canada’s 50 Most Socially Responsible Corporations and among the Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World. Learn more about RBC’s commitment to communities and environmental sustainability at www.rbc.com/community-sustainability .
For more information, please contact:
Manager, Media & Community Relations
MaRS Discovery District
416-673-8100 ext. 2710
Director, Brand & Corporate Citizenship Communications
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.