October 18-20 | Tucson, AZ

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McMaster and Celesta partner to accelerate deep tech innovation and commercialization

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October 18-20, 2023 / Tucson, AZ
The annual summit for research institution gap fund and accelerator programs, including proof of concept programs, startup accelerators, and university venture funds

The Story

A new partnership between McMaster University and Celesta Capital will cultivate the next generation of deep tech innovations at McMaster and in the broader Canadian research and startup ecosystem.

Headquartered in Silicon Valley, Celesta Capital is a global multi-stage deep technology venture capital firm, with a portfolio of more than 100 early-stage technology investments.

The partnership will allow the university to tap into Celesta’s expertise and accelerate the commercialization of deep tech — cutting-edge technologies built on science and engineering innovations — developed by McMaster researchers.

Nicholas Brathwaite, founding managing partner of Celesta Capital, says he’s excited to embark on this venture with McMaster, with a long-term goal to foster a vibrant deep tech ecosystem in Canada.

circular headshot of Nicholas Brathwaite “As a McMaster alumnus, it is a great honour to establish this partnership and build upon the strength of a renowned research institution,” he said.

“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.”

Celesta will support McMaster-affiliated startups and researchers in commercializing their intellectual property (IP). They will also facilitate increased interactions and opportunities between the technology and venture capital hubs of Canada, Silicon Valley, India and beyond.

The collaboration will help the university move its research out of its labs and into the hands of those who can put it to work out in the world, says 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.”

Key initiatives include access to emerging companies, co-judged pitch competitions, mentorship for entrepreneurs, ecosystem development and advice on intellectual property strategies and invention optimization.

This is a new model of cooperation between a venture capital fund – whose stated goal is company building – and a public sector university, says Andy Knights, vice-president, research (acting).

“It’s a big win, not only in terms of financial support for our start-up companies, but the enormous benefits that come through mentorship opportunities. I can see the potential to roll out similar programming across the country which would be benefit the whole university sector.”

The collaboration was announced at the “Partnering to Accelerate Deep Tech Commercialization in Canada” forum, held at McMaster Innovation Park, attracting some 100 industry, investment, academic and government leaders.

Panelists included Hamid Arabzadeh, president & CEO of Ranovus; Frantz Saintellemy, president & CEO of LeddarTech; Sanjay Tugnait, president & CEO of Fairfax Digital Services; Rajiv Anand, founder & CEO of Quartic.ail George Xereas, CEO of Stathera; as well as professor of engineering and co-founder of HARvEST, James Cotton; and entrepreneur and professor of surgery and biochemistry Sheila Singh.

Filomena Tassi, MP for Hamilton West-Ancaster-Dundas, and Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario, delivered opening remarks, noting the importance of research and innovation in advancing Canada’s economy.

“McMaster University is at the forefront of innovation in Hamilton,” Tassi said. “They are bringing entrepreneurship and research together so that Canada’s brightest ideas can reach around the world.

The Government of Canada is pleased to support McMaster University, their research, and their students.”

The partnership will be game changing for McMaster researchers engaged in deep tech, says Leyla Soleymani, associate vice-president, research (Commercialization & Entrepreneurship), who is leading the initiative.

“Celesta can really open doors for McMaster entrepreneurs, offering that critical next step for researchers pursuing commercialization and building on our existing support services and programs led by the Office of the Vice-President, Research, and the McMaster Industry Liaison Office (MILO),” she said.

The first wave of initiatives will include the joint judging of a pitch competition at McMaster, followed by an entrepreneurship residency in Silicon Valley for McMaster Professor Entrepreneur Fellows and a co-hosted advisory summit for McMaster researchers and entrepreneurs focused on intellectual property development.


Full story: McMaster and Celesta partner to accelerate deep tech innovation and commercialization   – Brighter World

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