MaRS Innovation forms strategic partnership with TandemLaunch

Montreal-based venture capital fund and entrepreneurship program brings over $20 million in funding and deep expertise in consumer electronics to MI members; first deal in speech recognition

TandemLaunch logoTORONTO and MONTREAL, (May 3, 2016) — MaRS Innovation, the commercialization agent for fifteen of Toronto’s top academic institutions, and TandemLaunch, a Montreal-based venture capital fund and startup incubator that specializes in consumer electronics have formed a strategic partnership (see the Areas of Interest chart below for examples). The partnership will co-develop promising technology emerging from MaRS Innovation’s members in consumer electronics through either company creation or intellectual property agreements.

Interested in working with MaRS Innovation and TandemLaunch? Both partners are co-hosting a breakfast session on May 16, 2016. Individual inventors may sign up for a limited number of one-on-one consultation sessions with the TandemLaunch and MaRS Innovation staff following the event. If you wish to sign-up for a consultation, contact your local technology transfer office.

During the partnership’s first year, TandemLaunch and MaRS Innovation have targeted to develop up to four new ventures. TandemLaunch offers up to $500,000 in seed financing per venture, drawn from its 50 investors and $20 million in capital. MaRS Innovation will additionally invest up to $250,000 in each venture.

TandemLaunch will gain opportunities to review and offer market-driven feedback on relevant technologies emerging within MaRS Innovation’s portfolio. In the last five years, TandemLaunch’s expertise and resources have resulted in six graduated ventures collectively valued at over $60 million. Inventors working with MaRS Innovation gain the opportunity to access TandemLaunch capital, as well as a potential future investment from MaRS Innovation.

TGeraldPennhe partners are already negotiating their first deal for Professor Gerald Penn’s speech recognition technology. His novel acoustic model, developed in his lab within the Department of Computer Science at the University of Toronto, significantly improves voice-enabled technologies by making them better at understanding different speakers in noisy environments. The technology is being licensed to fluent.ai, an incubating venture within TandemLaunch’s portfolio.

“Through the partnership with fluent.ai, brokered by MaRS Innovation and TandemLaunch, my technology has a much stronger chance of reaching the market,” said Penn. “MaRS Innovation filed my patent, which has now been issued in the United States. They helped me understand what needed to be done to work with TandemLaunch and with fluent.ai’s team.”

TandemLaunch’s Areas of Interest for Venture Creation with MaRS Innovation

Signal Processing Data Analysis Smart Homes and IOT
Source localization/isolation Text processing and analysis Indoor geopositioning
RF signal processing Sematic image and video analysis Domestic robotics
Context recognition Object recognition and segmentation Wireless backscatter
Multi-signal correlation Text summarization and generation Low power and energy harvesting sensors
Machine learning and neural networks Context awareness
Human-Computer Interaction Materials and Manufacturing Speech and Audio
Haptics Flexible electronics Audio transduction
Activity recognition 3D printing Advanced sound manipulation
VR/AR Novel actuators and sensors Audio event detection
Non-optical sensors/Re-purposed sensors Sustainable/Transient electronics and novel recycling methods Speech generation and transformation

“MaRS Innovation has had considerable success forming strategic partnerships with multinational pharmaceutical and diagnostic companies,” says Dr. Raphael Hofstein, president and CEO. “This is our first partnership in the consumer electronics space. Working with TandemLaunch will enrich the expertise within our network while giving our inventors access to a co-investment partner with significant funding for early-stage electronics companies. I wish to acknowledge Dr. Fazila Seker and Joel Liederman from our team for their leadership on building this partnership.”

Dr. Helge Seetzen, CEO and General Partner at TandemLaunch adds, “The inventiveness and ingenuity embodied by the MaRS Innovation member network is tremendous and we are excited to explore the opportunity represented by this collaboration. While the path from academic invention to commercialization is treacherous, the challenge is made surmountable by connecting inventors with ambitious founders and industry leaders in an environment of mentorship. With MaRS Innovation and its member network we look forward to witnessing the great success that ventures developed by this partnership achieve.”

torontoHow to Apply

MaRS Innovation and TandemLaunch welcome applications from individual inventors developing intellectual property that is directly or indirectly relevant to consumer electronics. Applications are welcome regardless of whether the IP is owned by the inventors or by a MaRS Innovation member institution on behalf of the inventors. Contact your local technology transfer office and reference this announcement or the MaRS Innovation/Tandem Launch joint venture development program during the technology disclosure process.

To kick off the partnership, MaRS Innovation and TandemLaunch are hosting a breakfast session on May 16, 2016. Individual inventors may also sign up for a limited number of one-on-one consultation sessions with the TandemLaunch and MaRS Innovation staff following the event. If you wish to sign-up for a consultation, contact your local technology transfer office.

Contact Details

If you are unsure of the impact of your work on the consumer electronics industry, the funding program requirements or your eligibility, contact Dr. Fazila Seker at fseker@marsinnovation.com.

If you’d like to learn more about the TandemLaunch program and its portfolio, you can contact them directly at info@tandemlaunch.com.  Students obtaining graduate degrees in science and engineering who are interested in entrepreneurship are also welcome to directly contact TandemLaunch at the same email address to find out how they could become the next founders of a high-growth technology startup.

About MaRS Innovation

MaRS Innovation LogoMaRS Innovation (MI) is the commercialization agent for 15 of Ontario’s leading academic institutions. It provides investors and licensees with a single point to access the technology assets emerging from MI’s members, who receive $1.4 billion in annual research and development funding. Supported by the Government of Canada through the Networks of Centres of Excellence, by the Government of Ontario through the Ontario Centres of Excellence, and by its members, MI is a transformational partnership that turns research strengths into commercial opportunities through industry partnerships, licensing and company creation. Learn more at www.marsinnovation.com or follow us on Twitter @marsinnovation.

About TandemLaunch Inc

TandemLaunch logoTandemLaunch is a startup incubator and entrepreneurship program that accesses over $20 million dollars in capital to empower entrepreneurs to spin out ground-breaking university research. By connecting them with networks of academic, financial and industry experts, entrepreneurs and inventors are given unprecedented access to invaluable mentorship and market insight. Learn more at www.tandemlaunch.com or follow us on Twitter @TandemLaunch.