News

Alumni donate $2 million to support UBC startups

Published on Friday, November 25, 2016

seed fund infographic

Originally posted on the Vancouver Sun

Two successful entrepreneurs who attended the University of B.C. have donated $1 million each to help fledging businesses hatched at the university get to market.

Greg Peet, a technology entrepreneur who attended UBC’s Sauder School of Business, and Glenn Walsh, who founded the mining construction company Tercon Group and is an alumnus of the faculty of applied science, donated the money to a seed fund run by entrepreneurship@UBC.

The fund, known as e@UBC, “provides startup programs, industry mentorship, office and maker space, and seeding funding to help UBC student, alumni, faculty and staff entrepreneurs take their ventures from idea to market,” said UBC in a release.

The donations will help “drive innovation and job creation in B.C.” and “strengthen connections between research and industry,” said UBC president Santa J. Ono.

“Early stage funding is critical for a new venture to make the transition to a thriving enterprise,” said Peet, principal of technology investment bank GrowthPoint Capital Corp.

“It’s crucial that there be practical outcomes and rewarding jobs for B.C. university students,” said Walsh, whose companies build railways, highways, mines and other projects in Canada and abroad.

The e@UBC seed fund was started in 2013 with contributions from the B.C. Innovation Council, alumni and others, and has invested $1.35 million in 12 new ventures, the release said. Those businesses have raised $37 million in additional funding.

The 12 ventures employ more than 140 and “are projected to generate combined revenue of $8.6 million” this year, the statement said. They include a company that produces bio-pesticides and another that invented a robotic laser sensor to detect pipeline leaks and a low-cost portable UV water-purifier that uses light-emitting diodes.

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