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Cleantech Economics pipeline. The fund is a reaction to the risk adversity of investors, and we’re using the fund to help solve that problem.” In 2012, Rand and McCaig formally launched the $30 million MaRS Cleantech Fund LP. The fund sits outside of but is in partnership with MaRS, a new model for collaboration between MaRS and the private sector. The privately backed fund will focus on early-stage cleantech companies in the MaRS Cleantech Practice pipeline. Already, the fund has some wins, providing support to cleantech companies such as Green Mantra, developers of a proprietary catalytic process to economically produce commercial quality waxes and fuels by recycling plastics, and Smart Energy Instruments, developers of game-changing measurement technologies for the burgeoning “Smart Grid” to address energyenvironment challenges.

Rand and McCaig acknowledge that they have a couple of strong advantages with the networks they bring with them as well as their relationship with MaRS. They are able to take advantage of a pipeline that is ready to go while relying on the assistance of MaRS in nurturing the company, essentially de-risking the investment.

Tom Rand is Senior Cleantech Advisor at MaRS Discovery District and author of Kick the Fossil Fuel Habit: 10 Clean Technologies to Save Our World. He has also helped to build North America’s greenest hotel, Planet Traveller. Rand talks to Canada Now about the current climate situation, why no one is listening and how change will arrive. “We are facing the potential heat death of our planet. We are currently on track for six degrees of warming in this century. The experts are talking about it, but nobody is listening with much attention or interest. The question is why? The reality is that it is hard to take on a real belief because it gives us no pleasure or comfort in admitting the truth. Our fundamental belief is the world of tomorrow will be better; climate change threatens that belief. The mind will look for any and all ways it can to avoid beliefs that make it uncomfortable. That natural human inclination is amplified by a well-paid and sophisticated industry using PR to whitewash the truth about climate change. It is not difficult to understand that sowing seeds of doubt falls on fertile minds. But even when we open our eyes to the truth, the problem in front of us is so deep and so endemic that fixing it will be the hardest thing we have ever done. Once you realize how big and difficult it is to solve - considering the capital and coordination required to change a fossil fuel-powered society throwing your hands in the air and choosing to ignore the situation seems a fitting response.

Where to start? Climate change is a systemic problem that will impact everything including current economics. And the traditional economic model deeply embedded in everything is a system incapable of dealing with the situation. Economic models have not caught up to the big problem. It is complex and non-linear. It is our generations’ turn to make the world a better place. There are not two sides to this story; decarbonizing our economy is not optional. We have to make moral decisions about our future. With enormous problems come enormous solutions and incredible new economic possibilities. Innovative companies with research and IP can be the sources of enormous economic possibilities and the solutions we need to clean up the world. Those organizations who understand the value of new markets in a cleantech space are where and how we will start to build the solutions.”

Tom Rand, Senior Cleantech Advisor, MaRS

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Canada NOW 2012  

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