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Breakthrough Energy Solutions Canada Forum 2020

The Breakthrough Energy Solutions Canada Forum 2020 was held on January 14, 2020, where the 22 finalists from across Canada pitched their clean energy technology ideas and solutions to significantly reduce GHG emissions.

The Forum brought together some of the top clean technology investors, innovators and experts under one roof to take part in thought-provoking panel discussions, fireside chats and networking opportunities, including:

  • Gates Ventures
  • Breakthrough Energy Ventures
  • Business Development Bank of Canada
  • Export Development Canada
  • other key stakeholders in the energy investment and innovation ecosystem

This was how the day went:

January 14: live pitches and panel discussions



8:00 – 9:00

Registration and Refreshments

9:00 – 9:15

Opening remarks

9:15 – 9:30

Eric Toone (BEV), Keynote speaker

Eric Toone received his doctoral degree in Chemistry from the University of Toronto in 1988 and completed post-doctoral studies with Professor George Whitesides at Harvard University. He began his independent career at Duke in 1990, and retired from Duke in 2017 as Professor of Chemistry and Professor of Biochemistry.

During his academic career Dr. Toone authored nearly 300 original papers, reviews, book chapters and abstracts in physical organic and biophysical chemistry. He is also listed as an inventor on more than 30 patents in a range of biomedical fields and is a scientific founder of three research-based pharmaceutical companies, including Aerie Pharmaceuticals, a publicly-traded ophthalmology (glaucoma) company.

From 2009 to 2012 Dr. Toone was detailed to the US Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E). During that time, he served as Program Director and Deputy Director for Technology before leading the Agency in 2012. Dr. Toone returned to Duke in 2013 as Vice Provost and Director of the Duke University Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative, an initiative designed to foster entrepreneurship across the entire university community.

9:30 – 10:30

Plenary One: Business Venture Support Services Overview with Q&A

Discussion: Across the country, incubators and accelerators have launched programs focusing on clean energy to help early-stage innovators overcome the valley of death. Accelerating the tech-to-market pathway requires more than direct injections of capital. Entrepreneurs need to develop a business strategy, build a strong team, and determine their intellectual property needs, among other considerations. This panel seeks to highlight the critical services, strategies and tools that incubator/accelerator programs can provide to entrepreneurs to bridge the tech-to-market gap.

Panelists for Plenary One: Alice Reimer (Creative Destruction Lab), Jeannette Jackson (Foresight Cleantech), Tyler Hamilton (MaRS), Meredith Adler (Student Energy), Moderator: Sandra Odendahl (Scotiabank)

11:00 – 12:15

Morning Pitches

12:15 – 13:30

Networking Lunch

13:30 – 14:30

Plenary Two: Investor expectations and clean energy investment trends Overview with Q&A

Discussion: From direct investments to off-take agreements, early-stage clean energy entrepreneurs seek to develop a deeper understanding of what investors and adopters are looking for in a deal. The panel aims to unpack the different asset classes, investor types, and adopter perspectives to provide entrepreneurs with a holistic understanding of the current and future clean energy investment landscape.

Panelists for Plenary Two: Christina Karapataki (BEV), Susan Rohac (BDC), Regine Clement (CREO Syndicate), Josee Guibord (Evolugen), Andrea Course (Shell Ventures) Moderator: Andy Chisholm (Expert Panelist on Sustainable Finance)

14:30 – 15:00

Coffee Break and Transition into pitches

15:00 – 16:30

Afternoon Pitches

16:30 – 16:45

Closing remarks

16:45 – 17:00

Closing Fireside Chat with Michael Denham (BDC) and John Stackhouse (RBC)

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