Bringing Canada’s leading corporations and some of Canada’s most innovative early-stage ventures to create new economic opportunities and business growth, the University of Toronto (U of T) is joining forces with MaRS to further address the Canadian startup commercialization challenge like never before.

U of T and MaRS will collaborate on the First Adopter Network (FAN), a network that provides a digital space for corporate innovation champions to source cutting-edge business solutions. FAN will foster new relationships between startups and Canada’s largest corporations and help companies find the products and ideas they need. Sourcing homegrown solutions will also connect corporate leaders with the next generation of talent and new ways of addressing challenges.

This collaboration enables Canadian startups to scale and will drive productivity gains for medium and large-sized companies, boosting their competitiveness in the face of the demands of the innovation economy. FAN is a win for Canada’s innovation economy and overall economic prosperity.

MaRS and U of T bring complementary expertise to the table. Together, we’ll work to simplify companies’ connections to the latest research, IP, and innovative technologies.

said Yung Wu, CEO of MaRS Discovery District.

The partnership will ensure that FAN can address the commercialization challenge  in Canada seen in the gap between R&D spend and realized earnings on IP.  This includes:

  • Increasing exposure for promising technologies, early-stage IP, and research by leveraging U of T and MaRS’ substantial startup and scale-up networks,
  • Accelerating the breadth and depth of research into urgent / relevant business challenges in key sectors to drive commercialization with technology developers and improve business outcomes,
  • Generating momentum around technology and business model adoption in the innovation economy by connecting researchers, startups, and innovation champions in key sectors.

The first phase of the FAN program will feature MaRS and U of T using their climate expertise to drive cleantech partnerships. U of T’s cleantech startups have raised over $300-million in the past decade.

The combination of UofT and MaRS’ networks will accelerate some of Canada’s top innovators, technologies and scale-up companies under one program,” said Leah Cowen, Vice President of Research, Innovation and Institutional Strategic Initiatives at U of T. “You can’t find this kind of opportunity anywhere else.

Learn more about FAN here: