VALIDATING YOUR BUSINESS THROUGH GRANT FINANCING W. GEORGE PALIKARAS – 62
Updated: May 2
There are millions of dollars in government grants, tax credits, and R&D subsidies available for your business. But how do you access that money properly? Done right, it can be a powerful source of fund that won’t dilute your shareholders. Done wrong and it can be a disastrous waste of time and energy.
George Palikaras shares with us how he was able to attract world-class partners, raise millions in grant funding, and finance his R&D with non-dilutive capital. There is a significant level of due diligence and scrutiny required, but government funding can provide valuable validation for conventional debt or equity investors.
George Palikaras is the founding President and CEO of Metamaterial Inc., which is listed on the CSE under MMAT. George was able to finance much of the R&D and early commercialization of his company with non-dilutive capital. This type of funding is often overlooked as an opportunity to raise capital that doesn’t ever hit your cap table. This is very important because once a company share is issued, good luck getting it back!
In this episode, George Palikaras shares his perspectives on this topic. He also tells us where Canada stands and the programs our government makes available for research and development in the technology space. It is important to note that raising capital through grants, government agencies, and even partner organizations, doesn’t come without a lot of work and risks.
There are millions of dollars available for teams that demonstrate their potential. George explains how he was able to protect his IP, raise millions of dollars in grant money for research, development, and the commercialization of his company. He also shares a bit about his company, Metamaterials In.c, what metamaterials are, and the power of utilizing light and other forms of energy in new and amazing ways.
KEY POINTS FROM THIS EPISODE:
George introduces himself and his company, Metamaterials Inc. CSE: MMAT.
What metamaterials are – George explains how they manipulate the raw material of light.
The applications of metamaterials to solve long-standing problems, like blocking harmful lasers with a nanostructure film for windows.
How George was able to raise millions of dollars in non-dilutive capital for a new invention.
Inventing new technology is risky, so George and his team partnered with academic parties.
Moving the business to Canada to take advantage of the government support programs.
Choosing where to expand into, finding a prototype partner, and raising capital incrementally.
Spend time checking out the tech transfer offices of the university to choose who to partner with.
Having a strategic industry investor/partner/customer before approaching the university gives you leverage in the academic partnership.
Approaching a funding agency with a global partner gave George’s company a huge leg up.
Approaching SDTC and applying for a $17 million project grant – $5mm from Lockheed, $5.6mm from equity partners and investors, and the rest from the government.
The government doesn’t just give you money – you need a good business plan and solid, globally competitive technology.
Going through this process isn’t easy; private companies need to be prepared to be audited.
George’s opinion of SRED: It’s more money, but it’s not a validator of your business.
IRAP funding is a very focused investment that looks at smaller, more frequent projects.
Partner financing and the lessons George learned about the “gotchas” in different industries.
As a small company, you have to be able to push back if you have issues with your partner.
Large corporations with accelerator programs are great, but you have to have a competitive offering, otherwise, you’re just one of many who applied.
George talks about Metamaterials targeting the Indium Tin Oxide (ITO) replacement industry.
George Palikaras on Twitter George Palikaras on LinkedIn George Palikaras Email Metamaterial on Twitter Metamaterial on Facebook Metamaterial Business Development Program Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC)