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

Black Spots On The Green Revolution

Posted by on in Health

In 1968, William Gaud, director of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) coined "the Green Revolution" as a term for the massive impact new technologies were having on agriculture: Synthetic fertilizers, hybrid crops, improved irrigation and the introduction of synthetic pesticides. The Green Revolution had actually begun twenty-five years earlier in Mexico with the work of Norman Borlaug, and established an era where crop yields would increase by 50% per decade.

Why We Say No

Posted by on in Venture Capital

Chances are, some of you have pitched to Pangaea in the past. We probably said "no". Although we invest at a good pace, saying "yes" to the most compelling opportunities, we don't like to waste our time, or yours. So, if we're going to say "no", we'll try to do so as quickly as possible.

I'd like to summarize some of the reasons we say no, grouping them in 4 basic areas: Fit, Management, Momentum and Exit.

The numbers are in, and they ain't pretty. They tell us that 2012 represented the worst year for cleantech investment since the dark days of 2009. Depending on whose numbers you accept, investments in cleantech declined 28%, from $4.6 billion in 2011 to $3.3 billion in 2012 (PWC Moneytree, or MT for short), or 29% in the case of the Cleantech Group’s (CG) numbers. Meanwhile, the venture industry as a whole contracted by only 10%.

Way back in 2006, Bill Aulet, now Managing Director at the Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship, invited me to be part of a panel discussion on corporate venture capital (CVC) as part of the 9th Annual MIT VC Conference. Bill gave a wonderful and detailed presentation, showing how CVC worked, adding the financial returns to strategic value. His model suggested that the financial returns might be insignificant compared to the strategic impact for the greater corporation. In the spirit of his pre-panel suggestion to be contentious and confrontational, I spoke up: "Bill, that's a good model if you want your CVC to fail."

Biopesticides: The next crop of cleantech home runs

Posted by on in Health

Can you name a cleantech subsector that has generated five or more grand slam VC exits (>10x, >100% IRR) in the past 2 years? Tough, isn't it? But there is an answer: Biopesticides. Biopesticides are pesticides derived from natural organisms, although the EPA definition also allows for substances derived from natural minerals.