EDC Launches Co-Investment Program to Support Early-Stage Cleantech

Any kind of program that helps early-stage startups succeed is welcome in the tech world, and a new one targeted at cleantech companies has just launched.

Export Development Canada (EDC) has unveiled their Cleantech Co-Investment Program (CCIP) to help connect niche private-sector investors inject capital into small and innovative companies that have the goal of sustainability and saving the environment. EDC has a historic past of investing in cleantech—ion 2017 alone, they gave $1.5 billion in financing and support to nearly 200 cleantech companies in Canada.

The first benefactor of CCIP is Montreal’s Pyrowave, a startup that uses its tech to process plastic waste. The company can increase the range of materials that can be recycled and create high-value end products, thereby reducing overall logistics and resources put into the process. Pyrowave was named as one of the 20 most innovative companies in Canada last year by CIX.

Pyrowave will receive $1 million through CCIP. The money is coming from EDC as well as Ecofuel and another European investor.

“Plastic products continue to deliver a number of uses and benefits in our modern world, but plastic waste is a major problem,” said Jocelyn Doucet, CEO of Pyrowave. “At Pyrowave, we believe the future of plastic is circular. Our technology combined with existing industrial processes can help reduce waste, providing both environmental and economic benefits for communities. We know there is a demand for our system globally, and EDC’s CCIP investment was a key element in attracting additional strategic investments to strengthen our leadership position in the new circular economy.”

The overall idea behind CCIP is that many of the companies that approach EDC are early-stage with a negative cash flow, but still boast customer traction and other kinds of market validation. Thus, the only thing really stopping them from scaling successfully is access to capital. CCIP will look to fill that gap and help out companies with around $1 million in revenue. If these smaller startups don’t have to think about accessing capital, they can move onto the stage of their growth that will see them access international markets and scale.

“EDC has proven its commitment to supporting cleantech in Canada for the past six years, becoming the largest provider of financial solutions for companies in the sector looking to export,” says Carl Burlock, SVP of financing and international growth capital at EDC. “CCIP is another solution that sees EDC leverage private sector capital to support promising new companies at a critical stage in their development, so they can move ahead and take advantage of a growing global market.”

Canada’s cleantech sector has experienced massive growth over the past few years, spurred on by some of the country’s leading tech organizations funding accelerators and bringing the sector to the forefront. Aside from EDC, MaRS has been a big cleantech champion, providing $5 million to women in cleantech and creating a partnership with the largest cleantech incubator in the U.S., Boston’s Greentown Labs.

The federal government has been making investments as well. In April, $14 million was given to five companies, while in May $26 million was given to four companies. Combine that with the fact that four Canadian companies (out of ten total) are currently vying for a combined $15 million Carbon XPRIZE, and the cleantech sector is really taking off.