Tags: CATA, Kauffman Foundation, Olav Sorenson, venture capital, Yozma Program
In late March the Federal Government announced $400-million to help increase private sector investments in early-stage risk capital, and to support the creation of large-scale venture capital funds led by the private sector.
On June 5, the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance (CATA), with the leadership of CEO John Reid and Sir Terry Matthews, released a recommendation of how to best deploy the $400M promised so as to maximize the potential to re-start large scale private sector VC Funds in Canada, pointing to a Canadian styled Yozma inspired model that would seem to lead to four new $200-million funds to be 50% private sector funded, each with a pre-determined separate theme.
Yet in early May the Kauffman Foundation released an indictment of the traditional venture capital industry based upon its twenty years of investing experience and Israel’s Yozma program was conceived and first implemented over two decades ago.
Few would argue that the venture capital industry is not experiencing rapid change due to the emergence of low cost startups (supported by cheap computing and bandwidth), the resulting explosion of angel investors and the slashing of regulations by governments desperate to kick start growth (witness the legalization of crowdfunding in the United States and Canada’s recent changes to Section 116).
Please take this opportunity to add to the quality conversation about Canadian venture capital. Share your opinion either confidentially or for the record. We will be sure to incorporate all views.
To ensure that we place our conversation in a contemporary global context, we are grateful to welcome Olav Sorenson, Frederick Frank ’54 and Mary C. Tanner Professor of Management, to lead this small invitation only, casual dinner exchange (http://www.olavsorenson.net).
Before moving to Yale’s School of Management, Olav was the Jeffery Skoll Chair of Technical Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the Rotman School of Management so his return to Toronto is somewhat of a home coming. He has also taught at the University of Chicago, UCLA, and London Business School.
His most extensive line of research examines how social networks affect transactions, thereby shaping the geography and evolution of industries and he has most extensively studied the entertainment and venture capital industries.
Coral CEA and the Digital Media Zone build on an ecosystem to expand Ontario’s software capabilitiesFebruary 21, 2012 at 8:21 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
Ottawa and Toronto, ON – February 14, 2012 – Ottawa-based Coral CEA has invested $120,000 in four companies located at Ryerson University’s Digital Media Zone (DMZ), and Coral CEA is reviewing possible investments in even more firms at the DMZ. “We are attracted to teams who are ‘getting it done’ versus talking about innovation and we want this type of collaboration to set a new standard in Ontario,” says Brian Forbes, Executive Director at Coral CEA. Forbes believes the DMZ has taken a hands-on approach with entrepreneurs that is a perfect fit with Coral CEA.
At the DMZ Coral CEA has invested in:
- ARB Labs Inc. designed a software application that that allows any video display to create an immersive 3D effect – without the need for goggles or glasses
- Greenguage Inc. developed a software tool for smartphone and Web that blends mobile technology with the green movement allowing monitoring of Corporate Social Responsibility efforts
- HitSend Inc. offers an online platform to enable and enhance community-based change by tapping into the community’s collective voice
- ViaFoura Inc. created a cloud-based plug and play user engagement and gaming platform for online content sites
The DMZ launched in the spring of 2010 with over 6,000 square feet of downtown Toronto office space. In just over a year and a half, the DMZ has almost doubled in size and has assisted more than 190 innovators to incubate and accelerate 38 startups, launched more than 61 projects and fostered over 350 jobs. The DMZ is a centre for creativity, collaboration and innovation that acts as a catalyst for cross-pollination of skills. The focus is on the commercialization of software applications.
Ryerson students use the DMZ as a home base to establish new companies. “Young people work in a business realm that never existed before and they naturally embrace collaboration and open innovation like never before. Coral CEA brings the Open Innovation ecosystem to our companies and that is a crucial addition,” says Valerie Fox, Director of the DMZ.
“Ontario’s creative environment, world-class education system and proven business experts are second to none,” says Brad Duguid, Ontario Minister of Economic Development and Innovation. “Collaborations like this are the key to success. That’s why we helped establish Coral CEA and why we’ve made it easier for entrepreneurs across the province to get the help they need to succeed; while creating jobs and prosperity for all Ontarians.”
The Conference Board of Canada rates Canada 14 out of 17 nations for innovation. Innovation is the ability to turn knowledge into new products and is the crucial factor that will allow Canada to compete in the global economy. “Canada is a resource-rich nation, including knowledge resources. We also have a rich history of innovation, especially in communications. Communications innovation helps refine knowledge resources, adding value for global export,” says Forbes. Coral CEA has assisted more than 50 companies to capitalize on innovation.
Ryerson University President Sheldon Levy became aware of Coral CEA and encouraged collaboration with the DMZ. In a recent speech Levy called on universities to better educate young people on how to create their own businesses and take their innovations to market. “Youth are the primary users of digital media but lack the skills to turn ideas into reality,” says Levy. He believes schools must to do three things
- Connect innovators to each other, and to business, at the earliest stages
- Teach innovators how to be their own bosses
- Support research that leads directly to markets and economic benefit
“We need to embrace Open Innovation and collaboration,” says the study’s primary author Professor Wendy Cukier, Vice President of Research and Innovation at Ryerson University. “The DMZ at Ryerson fosters innovation with a lean methodology and small teams that are very focused on going to market. Ontario will see action from our collaboration with new jobs, companies and applications,” says Forbes.
About Coral CEA
Coral CEA is a not-for-profit Open Innovation Network composed of member companies and organizations focused on the commercialization of Communications Enabled Applications (CEAs). Coral CEA was founded by the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation, Carleton University, IBM, GENBAND, Eclipse Foundation and ITAC. The mandate is to create sustainable companies and jobs by supporting members in the commercialization process of new products and services. This includes business development, distribution and brokering of alliance and capital relationships.
About Digital Media Zone and Ryerson University
The DMZ is a multidisciplinary workspace for young entrepreneurs. It is a hub of digital media innovation, collaboration and commercialization that is home to both entrepreneurial startups and industry solution-providers. With access to overhead and business services, students and alumni can fast track their product launches, stimulating Canada’s emerging digital economy through spending and job creation. Ryerson University is Canada’s leader in innovative, career-oriented education with more than 100 undergraduate and graduate programs. Distinctly urban, culturally diverse and inclusive, the university is home to 28,000 students.