The Chrysalix RoboValley Fund will be on the hunt for startups in areas such as industrial 3D printing, robotics, artificial intelligence, and internet of things (IoT) that are seeking to reinvent production methods.
Founded in 2001, Chrysalix has long been focused on making manufacturing greener and more innovative. But according to fund cofounder Dr. Wal Van Lierop, the landscape for such startups has accelerated in recent years as big corporate players have become more willing to working with entrepreneurs.
“There’s been a dramatic shift from relying on internal innovation to external innovation,” he said.
This is Vancouver-based Chrysalix’s fourth fund. While the first two focused on clean tech, this will be the second fund aimed more specifically at production innovation. Van Lierop said larger industrial players recognize that they need to embrace more IT and harness such breakthrough technology as data analytics, cloud services, and robotics.
But it’s often a challenge to sift through pitches for corporate leaders who lack experience in these fields. Part of Chrysalix’s approach is to raise money from large corporate partners and then invest in a range of startups while working in tandem with those partners. To date, Chrysalix has backed companies developing AI solutions, sensors, IoT, robotics, and blockchain.
As the startups progress, those corporate partners often invest in later rounds, and ideally also become clients. Chrysalix also works closely with a network of universities to develop technologies without an immediately commercial value.
The firm invests globally, with Van Lierop noting that it has been more active in Europe and Asia in recent years.
Investments to date span smart mining, 3D printing of steel, fast charging electric vehicle infrastructure, emissions-free solar steam, and nuclear fusion.