RUSNANO (Russian Corporation of Nanotechnologies) executives Mr. Alexander Losyukov, Mr. Kyrill Frolov and Mr. Rail Rafikov have signed an agreement with John Varghese, CEO and Managing Partner of Toronto based venture capital firm, VentureLink Funds. RUSNANO first visited and surveyed the Canadian nanotechnology scene in April 2009 (noted in my April 14, 2009 posting). From the Sept. 13, 2010 news item on Nanowerk,
During their visit [Sept. 7,2010], the delegation successfully concluded in-depth discussions with Mr. Varghese that commenced early in 2010. The goal of the meetings was to establish the basis on which to create a Canada-Russia Nanotechnology Venture Capital Fund co-founded by RUSNANO and Mr. Varghese in Canada. The Fund’s investment interests will mainly focus on nanotechnology based products and applications in the areas of information technology for Nano based applications, energy production and storage, (including renewable and clean energy sources), advanced materials, biomaterials, and other select sectors. The Fund will not be seeking out defense related projects.
Subject to certain conditions, RUSNANO has signed a ground breaking Memorandum of Understanding committing to be a very significant lead order and partner in this new Nano Fund. Final corporate approvals are expected prior to the end of 2010, allowing this Fund to be operational in 2011.
Richard Blackwell writing for the Globe & Mail newspaper notes (from his Sept. 13, 2010 article),
VentureLink managing partner John Varghese said Rusano is searching the world for advances in the field – a rapidly advancing technology that engineers materials at the atomic and molecular scale to create new products for medicine, electronics and energy production – and will provide most of the fund’s initial capital.
High net worth individuals in Canada will also be approached to invest, and the goal is to create a fund in the $100-million to $200-million range, Mr. Varghese said.
The advantage for Canadian companies in the sector is that Rusnano will help them find markets for their products in Russia.
According to the Nanowerk news item, Professor Roman Maev, at the University of Windsor (Ontario), was instrumental in developing this partnership. From Dr. Maev’s University of Windsor web page,
Dr. Roman Maev is the Chairholder of the NSERC/Chrysler/University of Windsor Industrial Research Chair in Applied Solid State Physics and Material Characterization. He came to Canada in 1994, through Inter-Governmental Canada-Russia technology exchange program. One year later Dr. Maev was appointed as a Full Faculty Professor in the School of Physical Sciences at University of Windsor and in 1997 he established the Center of Imaging Research and Advanced Material Characterization at University of Windsor.
In addition to some federal support, there appears to be substantive support from the province of Ontario (from the Sept. 13, 2010 news item on Azonano),
During their visit, RUSNANO also met with the Honourable Sandra Pupatello, Minister of Economic Development and Trade and with senior officials of the Ministry of Research and Innovation, to discuss this new initiative supporting the development of technology transfer partnerships between RUSNANO and Canadian companies. …
Those activities will be based upon regular consultations and coordination with various departments and agencies within the Federal and Provincial Government, including the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development & Trade and the Ministry of Research and Innovation.
“During our meetings, Minister Pupatello stated that Canada wants to go global. Well, Russia also wants to go global, thus we have a good platform to be partners. A partner that shares similar goals allows for unification of efforts. Political will, combined with the appropriate business environment and the right team makes this the ideal time to start this initiative” proudly stated Losyukov.
I was a little surprised that I found no mention of this development on the Nano, Nanotechnology Network of Ontario website as it seems quite a feather in the province’s, if not the organization’s, cap.