When it comes to cleantech investment, famously cold Canada might seem like an unlikely hot spot. Recent funding trends, however, indicate its star is on the rise.
So far this year, nearly a billion dollars (US$) in seed through growth-stage funding has gone to Canadian startups in sustainability-focused industries tracked in the Crunchbase dataset. Standout sectors include carbon capture, geothermal energy and utility-scale solar.
With two months still left, 2023 is on track to top last year’s record-setting totals. For a sense of how investment is trending, below we charted out sustainability-focused Canadian startup investment for the past six calendar years.
Largest Canadian cleantech investments
The upward momentum in Canadian cleantech funding is especially notable given that global venture funding has fallen sharply since the 2021 peak. Moreover, some of the rounds are conspicuously large.
Last week, Calgary-based Eavor, a developer of technology for accessing clean geothermal energy, picked up the biggest round of the year, closing on a $186 million Series B led by chemicals company OMV.
Another plus-sized round went to Dartmouth, Nova Scotia-based CarbonCure Technologies, which landed $80 million in July for carbon removal technologies that introduce recycled CO₂ into fresh concrete to reduce its carbon footprint.
OYA Renewables, headquartered in Toronto, is also scaling up. The company, which develops distributed and utility-scale solar projects, picked up $71 million in March from Monarch Private Capital in what it described as a tax equity investment, along with $145 million in debt financing.
We’re also seeing quite a bit of action at earlier stages, which bodes well for future growth.
More than half of Canadian cleantech investment this year, per Crunchbase data, went to companies at seed through Series B. Although not all recipients were newer companies, many larger rounds did go to startups founded in the past four years.
Among these is Cyclic Materials, a developer of processes for recovering rare-earth elements from hard-to-recycle products. The Kingston, Ontario, company raised $27 million in an April Series A. Others include Calgary-based Orennia, a provider of analytics for investment in clean energy and decarbonization that raised $25 million in a July Series B, and Novisto, a sustainability software provider that closed on $20 million in a May Series B.
Not a fluke
While Canadians account for just 0.5% of the global population, they punch above their weight class when it comes to clean energy. Per Cleantech Group, Canada ranked fifth among nations for cleantech investment between 2021 and Q3 2023, behind the much more populous U.S., China, U.K. and Germany.
Canada’s relative strength doesn’t look like a fluke. By land mass, Canada is the largest country on Earth not controlled by Vladimir Putin. Building and maintaining infrastructure for that enormous territory, while simultaneously sustaining one of the world’s highest living standards, speaks volumes about the talents and diligence of those who call it home.
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Illustration: Li-Anne Dias
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