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McMaster U, Celesta Capital partner in developing Canadian deep tech start-ups

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Cultivate new generation of deep tech companies from McMaster’s academic entrepreneurs

McMaster University and Celesta Capital announced a new collaborative partnership to spur the development of an emerging and sustainable ecosystem of Canadian deep tech entrepreneurs.

The collaboration will foster innovation at McMaster, support McMaster-affiliated startups and researchers in commercializing their intellectual property (IP), and facilitate increased interactions and opportunities between the technology and venture capital hubs of Canada, Silicon Valley, India, and beyond. The partnership was announced at the inaugural joint event – Partnering to Accelerate Deep Tech Commercialization in Canada – held at McMaster Innovation Park.

The partnership will advance the commercialization of deep tech – cutting-edge technologies built upon advanced science and engineering innovations – at McMaster and within the broader Canadian research and startup ecosystem. As one of Canada’s most research-intensive universities, the long-term partnership will allow McMaster to tap into Celesta’s expertise as a leading deep tech venture capital investor and business builder.

McMaster University and Celesta Capital announced a new collaborative partnership to spur the development of an emerging and sustainable ecosystem of Canadian deep tech entrepreneurs. From left to right: Susan Tighe, Provost and Vice-President (Academic) at McMaster University, Sriram Viswanathan, Founding Managing Partner at Celesta Capital, David Farrar, McMaster President, Nicholas Brathwaite, Founding Managing Partner at Celesta Capital, Leyla Soleymani, Associate Vice President Research Commercialization & Entrepreneurship at McMaster University, and Andy Knights, Vice-President Research (Acting) at McMaster University.

Key initiatives and areas of collaboration will include:

  • Access to Emerging Companies: Close engagement with McMaster’s researchers and entrepreneurs working in relevant tech sectors, including potential investment opportunities and partnerships with Celesta’s existing portfolio of companies.
  • Pitch Competition with Access to Capital: Celesta representatives to serve as judges at McMaster’s start-up pitch competitions, mentoring these entrepreneurs and opening doors to additional potential investment opportunities.
  • McMaster Entrepreneurship Academy (MEA): Celesta representatives to serve on the MEA Advisory Council and provide mentorship to MEA fellows working to establish and grow startup companies.
  • Ecosystem Development:Celesta will connect researchers, tech industry leaders, and venture investors through bi-annual “Industry Summits” at McMaster designed to enhance the commercial viability of research and startup projects, particularly in the Energy, Cleantech, and Life Sciences sectors.
  • IP Strategy: Celesta’s bench of technical commercialization experts will assist the McMaster Industry Liaison Office (MILO) in navigating IP procedures, maximizing startup competitive differentiation, and advising on invention optimization.

“McMaster is committed to moving research from the lab and into the hands of those who can put it to work out in the world,” said McMaster President David Farrar. “This partnership with Celesta Capital allows us to combine our research, talent, and intellectual property with their entrepreneurial expertise and vast network of investors to create companies that benefit both the Canadian economy and broader society.”

“We are excited to embark on this venture with McMaster University with the long-term goal to foster a vibrant deep tech ecosystem within Canada,” said Nicholas Brathwaite, Founding Managing Partner of Celesta Capital. “As a McMaster alumnus, it is a great honor to establish this partnership and build upon the strength of a renowned research institution. We believe Celesta will add tremendous value to McMaster’s budding entrepreneurs, helping to nurture their innovations into successful companies and supporting them with investment, intellectual capital, network connections, and more.”

The first wave of activations in the partnership will include the joint judging of an April 2024 pitch competition at McMaster, followed by an entrepreneurship residency in Silicon Valley for MEA fellows and a co-hosted advisory summit for McMaster researchers and entrepreneurs focused on intellectual property development.





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