Keith Gillard

Keith Gillard

General Partner, Pangaea Ventures Ltd. Keith has been making cleantech and advanced material venture investments since 2001, having managed Mitsubishi Corporation's Canadian VC activities and BASF Venture Capital America out of Silicon Valley.View Keith Gillard's profile on LinkedIn

Materials for the Masses, part 1

Posted by on in Advanced Materials

Recently, Pangaea has been working on a number of opportunities that might not only make our world better (in terms of sustainability), but also look like they can make our lives better (in terms of quality of life). And when I say "our lives", I mean everybody's lives. In this two-part blog, I want to provide a brief overview of some of the opportunities we are following that we think can help raise the standard of living for some of the poorest people on the planet.

You may have noticed we changed the website recently. Good opportunity to write a blog to explain in more detail!  Pangaea's been focused on advanced materials venture capital since its first fund launched. Every investment we've made since 2003 has been exclusively in advanced materials. However, the way we look at the sectors has evolved over time. For our third fund, launched in 2011, we had five different areas of interest, three of which were in energy (generation, storage and efficiency), with the other two being sustainable materials / processes and environmental. Now, four years into that fund, we can look at most of its portfolio (we still have dry powder to do a few more deals this year) and see most of the investments have been in the non-energy areas. Indeed, most of our deal flow has come from the non-energy sectors.

In May 2014, Pangaea Ventures hosted the Advanced Materials Commercialization Summit at the Vancouver Convention Centre. The invite-only event attracted over sixty major multinational corporations, research centers and investors to discuss key issues in the commercialization of products and technologies enabled by breakthrough innovations in the physical sciences. Key topics included energy, electronics, health, and sustainability.

Portfolio Spotlight: NewLeaf Symbiotics

Posted by on in Video

NewLeaf Symbiotics is an agricultural biotechnology company commercializing applications of naturally-occuring plant-associated bacteria for improved agricultural performance.

Portfolio Spotlight: Switch Materials

Posted by on in Video

Pangaea presents a Portfolio Spotlight on smart windows company Switch Materials, featuring an interview with CEO Doug Wiggin.

Portfolio Spotlight: Vestaron

Posted by on in Video

Pangaea presents a Portfolio Spotlight on sustainable agricultural pesticide company Vestaron Corporation, featuring an interview with CEO Dr. John Sorenson.

Neonicotinoids: Devastating The Food Chain

Posted by on in Health

June 24th’s indictment of neonicotinoids by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is by far the most conclusive evidence to date of the widespread destructive effects of this class of pesticide ever published. Based on a four-year analysis, bringing together over 800 peer-reviewed papers, the IUCN has recommended a global phase-out the use of all neonicotinoid and fipronil pesticides ("neonics" for short).

No NDAs, Please, We're VCs!

Posted by on in Venture Capital

This morning, a start-up company sent their first email to me after a warm introduction from a great former colleague of mine. I was quite positively predisposed to giving this opportunity some close attention, since I think quite highly of my buddy's judgment, and the company's technology put them well within Pangaea's advanced materials mandate.

Like a kid on Christmas, I didn't read the message, but immediately tore off the wrapping paper. The sole attachment to the email was a PDF, which I assumed to be their slide deck presentation, and I was eager to be blown away by the amazing technical and business innovation I hoped to find inside. What could it be!?!?

You know the Chinese finger trap? It's a tube of bamboo woven in such way that it tightens up if you pull on it. The idea is you put your fingers in, but the harder you try to pull them out, the tighter the trap will grip you. And it was the only thing my daughter wanted me to bring back as a souvenir of China.

Pangaea has been an investor into China for a few years now, having co-led the Series A into Cnano, now the world leading supplier of multi-walled carbon nanotubes, mostly used in battery or composite plastics applications. But when I heard the reciprocal might be possible – i.e. China investing in Pangaea – I had to check it out.

People often ask us, "Where does Pangaea find all its deals?" The answer is quite proprietary: We've developed channels to over 120 universities and research centers; we are reading patents daily; we follow the work of individual researchers sometimes for years before engaging with an eye to invest. The key is that we generate the majority of our dealflow proactively, and with good reason.