Earlier this week General Fusion secured a $27 million (CAD) investment with the closing of our biggest round of financing to date. This funding puts us in a very strong financial position and will allow us to continue the development of our Magnetized Target Fusion (MTF) technology: the fastest and most practical approach to commercial fusion energy production. Since Dr. Michel Laberge founded General Fusion in 2002, we’ve become the global leader in MTF and have made tremendous technical progress. We’ve also raised $100 million in order to make this happen.
General Fusion couldn’t have made it to this stage without the support of many people along the way. Each member of our diverse team of investors, directors, advisors, physicists, employees and partners has contributed towards our mission of creating abundant, clean, safe and affordable energy.
Today, though, we want to recognize the critical assistance we have received from the Canadian government, specifically through Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) and the National Research Council’s Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP). SDTC funds ground-breaking and pre-market Canadian cleantech projects, while IRAP provides technology assistance to small and medium-sized companies at all stages of the innovation process. Both of these programs support projects with significant technology risk.
In 2009, General Fusion was awarded a $13.9 million grant from SDTC in order to demonstrate various components of our power plant. Over the last six years we have worked with SDTC to define relevant technical milestones and have provided deliverables against these milestones. In the same period of time we have also executed eight innovative projects, in areas ranging from pressure wave propagation in liquid metals to behaviors of plasma during compression, with assistance from IRAP totaling over $1 million.
Without the assistance provided by SDTC and IRAP, General Fusion would not be in the position that we’re in today. Yes, these funds represent a significant portion of the total that we have raised, but the true value is much more than the cash value. This support has been and continues to be a catalyst for bringing private capital into General Fusion, capital which makes up the vast majority of that $100 million figure mentioned earlier and the entirety of the $27 million we just raised.
When investors look at a company like General Fusion, financial support from government has a very real impact on their assessment. Non-dilutive, non-participatory funding from government means that we will be able to stretch private investment further, making it easier for investors to take on technology risk. It also shows that there is strong alignment between government and industry.
SDTC and IRAP conduct substantial validation of a company’s or project’s technical merit and market potential prior to funding. To potential investors, strategic industry partners, and other government agencies, qualifying as a recipient of these programs instantly speaks volumes about our company and the merits of the technology we’re developing.
The benefits aren’t solely General Fusion’s, however. Supporting innovative, ground-breaking and commercially viable Canadian cleantech projects translates into economic and environmental benefits for all of Canada.
General Fusion is a Canadian company based in Vancouver, British Columbia. The majority of dollars spent are spent here in Canada. In fact, we’ve spent several times more in Canada from foreign investors than we’ve received in assistance from SDTC and IRAP.
General Fusion employs over 60 people in Vancouver. As one might expect, developing fusion technology requires highly trained professionals: physicists, engineers and other technical staff make up most of the company. As the Globe and Mail’s Report on Business Magazine discussed in March, Vancouver has a prominent technology sector with a strong talent pool which General Fusion is privileged to be able to draw from. But we’re also contributing to it, with the help of SDTC and IRAP. On the academic front, we regularly offer co-op work terms to Canadian university students, and we fund project work with Canadian universities such as McGill University, the University of Saskatchewan and the University of Victoria.
Every time an innovative project receiving such government assistance brings a new technology to market, that translates into further domestic growth and into export opportunities for Canada. Clean technologies also bring environmental and health benefits to Canada.
With this latest round of private investment, General Fusion will have the resources to continue making ground-breaking achievements. When we look back at the last few years, we’re proud to say that assistance from SDTC and IRAP has been critical to getting us to the present, and we look forward to continued support from these programs in our future.