Alumni donate $2 million to support UBC startups

Thanks to two $1-million contributions from alumni Greg Peet and Glenn Walsh, University of British Columbia ventures now have access to additional early-stage seed capital to help build their businesses.

Peet, a UBC Sauder School of Business alumnus and technology entrepreneur, gave $1 million to a seed fund run by entrepreneurship@UBC (e@UBC), equalling a $1-million donation from Walsh, a faculty of applied science alumnus and founder of mining construction company, the Tercon Group.

e@UBC provides startup programs, industry mentorship, office and maker space, and seed funding to help UBC student, alumni, faculty and staff entrepreneurs take their ventures from idea to market.

“Greg Peet’s and Glenn Walsh’s generosity enables e@UBC’s seed fund to drive innovation and job creation in B.C.,” said UBC President Prof. Santa J. Ono. “And this is just the beginning—we look forward to working even more closely with our partners to strengthen connections between research and industry.”

The e@UBC seed fund began operating in 2013 and has received contributions from the B.C. Innovation Council, UBC alumni and others. Since its inception, the fund has invested $1.35 million in 12 new ventures, which have gone on to raise $37 million in additional funding.

“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. “That’s why I welcomed the opportunity to support the e@UBC seed fund, which will give our young inventors that head start.”

“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. “It’s a pleasure to work with UBC to help innovators build new ventures and create jobs for themselves and their peers.”

The 12 e@UBC seed fund ventures that have been funded to date together employ more than 140 people in B.C., and are projected to generate combined revenue of $8.6 million in 2016. These startups include:

  • Encepta Corp. developed a popular auditing software for managing services mounted on utility poles
  • Terramera Inc.’s bio-pesticides reduce the environmental impact of agriculture
  • Acuva Technologies’s low-cost, portable UV water purifier uses light-emitting diodes
  • Aspect Biosystems developed a new way to 3D print living tissue, providing a better way to test drugs
  • Illusense’s laser sensor, mounted on a robot, detects pinhole cracks and leaks in pipelines
  • Nanozen developed a wearable dust monitor that improves workplace health and safety

e@UBC is part of a wider network of support for entrepreneurs and innovators at UBC that includes the seed-stage program Creative Destruction Lab-West, the HATCH maker space and the University-Industry Liaison Office. For more information, visit entrepreneurship.ubc.ca and entrepreneurship.ubc.ca/seed-fund/

Lou Corpuz-Bosshart

Lou Corpuz-Bosshart
UBC Public Affairs
604.822.2048
604.999.0473
lou.bosshart@ubc.ca