By Stephen Wilson, VP Acceleration

Foresight’s flagship Acceleration Programs support the growth of Canadian cleantech ventures. After focusing on early-stage startups for several years, we identified another need: helping cleantech companies scale. If you’re building a skyscraper that will tower above others and be visible from far away, you need a solid foundation. 

Drawing on our expert Executives in Residence (EIRs) and best-in-class training approaches, we launched Grow in late 2019, hoping to help 20 emerging cleantech ventures scale successfully. We quickly attracted 31 cleantech companies. 

Looking at our results 18 months later, we are pleased to report that the Grow program has exceeded expectations: $222M in revenue generated, $429M in capital raised, and 492 new jobs created.

Maybe you’ve seen some of them in the news. HTEC recently raised $217M for their hydrogen fueling solution. Clir Renewables raised $27M to grow their renewable energy monitoring solution. Axine Water Technologies signed a multimillion-dollar agreement for their wastewater treatment solution. Terramerra was awarded $7.9M to advance their agtech solution.   

Just imagine the impact if we offered this program nationally! Stay tuned….

Meeting the Challenge of Scaling Companies

Supported by Western Economic Development, Grow is a flexible, customized  menu of supports that help ventures address critical challenges and establish cohesion within their leadership so they can scale their business. The program includes:

  • 1:1 coaching from highly experienced EIRs and mentors
  • Access to leadership development tools for entire executive teams
  • Guidance from experts in critical areas such as market development, financing, operations, and HR 
  • Peer-to-peer mentorship with other C-suite executives through our CXO Growth program

Lessons Learned

  1. Cleantech companies continue to want support as they scale. The challenges of scaling a business are just as real and difficult as launching one. For Canada to have globally competitive cleantech companies, we must strengthen the foundations of the companies that have started to build. 
  2. Support needs to be customized to meet specific challenges. No “one size fits all” here – our Grow companies faced a broad range of challenges based on their tech solution, sector, target markets, and team. We match them with the right advisors and offer the resources they need to succeed.
  3. More significant support translates into magnified impacts with less risk. The solid foundation provided by Grow enables ventures to seize opportunities and scale rapidly with less chance of failure.  

Two aspects of the Grow program experience stand out to me as truly exciting. First, the results. We found more demand from companies than originally expected. Helping them resolve issues led to more funds raised, more new revenue generated, more products launched, and more new markets entered. Grow exceeded expectations for every metric we set.

Second, it was exciting that in working with companies, we identified new needs and gaps in support available to them. This led us to expand our CXO Growth program and continue to iterate our service offerings. 

This experience is all about turning a single family home (the startup with some traction and something visible above ground) into a skyscraper (a beacon of success visible for miles around) by creating a strong foundation. 

Congratulations to the relentless entrepreneurs who are building the Canadian cleantech skyscrapers that are capturing global attention (and capital!) and making a significant impact in our drive to Net Zero. It’s inspiring to Grow with you.

 

Written By:

Foresight Canada

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