Keith Gillard discussed his interesting journey from being a startup, raising funds, and into becoming a venture capitalist (upperstage.ventures) helping entrepreneurs take their companies to the next level.
One key takeaway from this discussion is the importance of understanding the market fit. Keith shared personal startup stories that are sure to inspire.
As the current chairman for Foresight CleanTech Accelerator Center, Keith also shared some of their programs to help find the best solution to an existing industry’s pain point.
Keith Gillard is the CEO of Upper Stage Ventures Ltd., a hybrid venture capital / private equity investment firm leading Canadian companies to success in international markets. He is an entrepreneur and venture capitalist who has focused his past two decades on cleantech and advanced materials start-ups. Mr. Gillard has provided leadership on the board of directors of dozens of companies, funds, and not-for-profit organizations. He is a proven fund-raiser, deal-maker, and business development matchmaker with an extensive international network, having close relationships with multinational organizations across North America, Asia, and Europe.
From 2010-2020, Mr. Gillard was General Partner of Pangaea Ventures Ltd., driving fund raising efforts for Pangaea Fund III and IV, quadrupling capital under management, more than tripling the number of strategic limited partners to 25, and attracting Pangaea’s first international family office and first financial institution as LPs. Mr. Gillard worked to generate and evaluate hundreds of new advanced materials opportunities, and led Pangaea’s investment efforts in food and agricultural technologies.
From 2006-2010, Mr. Gillard served as President of BASF Venture Capital America. He was responsible for the establishment of the Silicon Valley office, as well as a dozen direct and fund investments. From 2001-2006, Mr. Gillard was with Mitsubishi Corporation and responsible for venture investment and business development activities with a specific focus on cleantech. Prior to joining Mitsubishi, Mr. Gillard began his career in investment banking, structuring mergers and acquisitions as well as manufacturing technology joint ventures into China. For most of the ’90’s, he was a serial entrepreneur in software and media.
Mr. Gillard is chairman of the Foresight Cleantech Accelerator Centre, a director of Keela and the Canadian Venture Capital Association. He has served as chairman of Vestaron Corporation, and director of Hazel Technologies, NewLeaf Symbiotics, Advanced BioNutrition, Sciona, SDC Materials, and other companies. He served on the advisory boards of ARCH Venture Partners Fund VII, Chrysalix Energy Fund I and Fund II, and NGEN Fund I and Fund II. He is an advisor to the World Economic Forum on sustainability and collaborative innovation in chemicals and materials, speaking at Davos in January 2020. He is the co-author of “Inside the Minds: Energy Venture Capital Best Practices”. Outside of work, he is a high-energy father of three, a cyclist, and a twice-nominated Canadian Independent Music Award winner.
Canadian Independent Music Award winner.