Chris Erickson

Chris Erickson

General Partner, Pangaea Ventures Ltd. Chris is the founder of Pangaea and has been working with cleantech and advanced material companies since 1997. Chris is a lawyer by training and served as a partner with Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt.View Chris Erickson's profile on LinkedIn

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner and the Airbus A350 airplanes are two early examples. What sets these planes apart from older planes is that their body and wings are made of composite materials rather than aluminum. They are more fuel efficient and fly farther. This reduces the cost of travel and opens up new routes. Passengers also enjoy benefits like increased humidity and cabin pressure. Humidity is increased from 4% to 15% and cabin pressure is increased from the equivalent of 8,000 feet above sea level to 6,000 feet above sea level. The bottom line is that these planes cost less to operate and provide passengers with ground level comfort and less jet leg.

NASA in Your Pocket

Posted by on in Electronics

For half a century, Moore's Law has charted semiconductor development with incredible accuracy. In 1965, Gordon Moore quantified the scaling principle for semiconductors by predicting that the number of transistors that can be etched on a computer chip would double every one year. He revised it to every two years in 1975. His initial belief was that this would hold for a decade. But five decades later, Moore's Law has held up surprisingly well. However, there is now a belief among many semiconductor engineers and scientists that we will hit a miniaturization wall unless there are major breakthroughs in advanced materials innovation.

Oil: The Biggest Economic News of 2014

Posted by on in Energy

The precipitous drop in the price of oil and an almost equal sell off in oil stocks has been the most significant financial and perhaps industrial event of 2014. Even bigger than Alibaba’s IPO in September.

In my opening remarks at the Advanced Materials Commercialization Summit on May 13, 2014, I discussed several “giga goals” facing advanced materials in the energy, electronics, health and sustainability markets.

Earlier this year I wrote about medical imaging and how advanced materials are improving CT and nuclear imaging. That is, semiconductor sensors using CZT materials are lowering x-ray and photon dosages while at the same time improving image quality. This blog expands on the health theme by providing three more examples of how advanced materials will impact human health. Biosensors can help people monitor their health and seek treatment when necessary. Nano-particles can carry and target drug treatment inside a patient’s body, and antimicrobial coatings can substantially reduce the rate of infection.

It is often said that an ideal market for venture investing is a large market on the verge of massive disruption. It is for this reason that the medical imaging market recently came onto my radar. It is a multi-billion dollar market that is on the verge of massive technology and market disruption.

The core technology for radiation-based medical imaging cameras are scintillators. This detector technology was first adopted around 1985 and is comprised of scintillator crystals that convert x-rays and radiation into visible light and a photodiode or photomultiplier tube that converts the light to an electric signal. Sounds like old technology.

Pangaea is one of twenty original venture capital funds designated under the new Canadian Startup Visa program. We are excited at the prospects of helping entrepreneurs with world-class advanced materials innovation locate their companies to Canada.

The Startup Visa program was launched on April 1, 2013 by Citizenship and Immigration Canada to help recruit innovative entrepreneurs to Canada. The program provides what I would call a fast track visa process for entrepreneurs with world-class innovation who desire immigration to Canada.

Smartphones and NFC Intelligence

Posted by on in Electronics

Samsung Electronics unveiled its new Galaxy S4 in New York last week to great fan fare and high expectations. One key feature of the new phone is its near-field communication (NFC) capabilities.

NFC-enabled smartphones allow the user to interact with products at a local and retail level. The user can now use his or her phone to get product level intelligence simply by tapping the phone on a product. The phone can redeem coupons by tapping a coupon tag at the front of a store and then enable the customer to purchase the item via secure payment systems.

As a venture capital investor we see hundreds of entrepreneurs each year. Our objective is to find a few that we can support. But, along the way, there have been some notable standouts who have stumbled before leaving the first meeting. I thought it would be fun to share with you some stories and suggestions on what not to do between the first contact and end of the first meeting.

1. Send separate e-mails to all the partners

Recently we had a company send the exact same pitch e-mail to all the partners at Pangaea. I can understand the entrepreneur’s desire to increase his or her odds of getting a response but this can cause confusion at our end and we ended up passing on the deal partly as a result of the entrepreneur’s stumble out of the gate.

Green Buildings Are Energy Savers

Posted by on in Energy

Last week, my partner Andrew posted a blog about the LED market and discussed some emerging technologies that will revolutionize the lighting market. I want to expand on that topic and provide some insight into energy efficient green buildings.

Buildings are huge consumers of energy. The US Department of Energy estimates that, in the US alone, buildings use nearly 40 quadrillion Btu of energy for space heating and cooling, lighting and appliances. This represents approximately 39% of the total energy consumed in the US and 38% of a building’s energy is consumed for heating and cooling. The Building Technology & Urban Systems Department at Berkeley Labs states that buildings consume 71% of US electricity, 53% of US natural gas and emit 40% of US greenhouse gases. There is clearly room for improvement.