Leading VC partnerships to support engineering biology accelerator

UKRI funded Science Creates Accelerate announces a new partnership with globally recognised venture capitals (VCs) to support engineering biology entrepreneurs.

Accelerating engineering biology

Science Creates Accelerate, launched last year with a UK-wide, equity-free engineering biology accelerator in partnership with UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), has announced the second round of their flagship programme today.

The programme, funded through the UKRI Technology Missions Fund, delivered by Innovate UK, will also count on the support of leading European and US VC firms.

The accelerator programme is open to anyone with an existing engineering biology startup in its very early stages or anyone wishing to launch one.

Technology may be focused on the following topics:

  • biomedicine
  • environmental solutions
  • food systems
  • clean growth

The UK-wide hybrid programme will take place at Science Creates’ deep tech hub in Bristol, as well as remotely, over nine weeks starting on 17 June.

Participants will have access to a variety of training and workshops, as well as a network of investors critical to a startup’s journey.

As well as financial support while on the programme, there is the opportunity for selected candidates to unlock equity-free feasibility funding from UKRI for their startups to test the feasibility of their ideas and technologies.

Supporting engineering biology entrepreneurs

This second round follows the successful completion of a first accelerator programme in 2023 that supported 19 companies, eight of which were formed during the programme.

These companies focused on exciting deep tech solutions, such as:

  • engineering yeast to produce alternative food flavourings or textile dyes
  • developing novel targeted cancer therapeutics using synthetic biology
  • harvesting energy from waste using microbes

Companies were then provided with a further opportunity to apply for £50,000 of equity-free feasibility funding from the UKRI Technology Missions Fund and delivered by Innovate UK, to help take their ideas to the next stage.

Helping to connect UK scientists with industry experts

Dr Kedar Pandya, UKRI Technology Missions Fund senior responsible owner and Executive Director of Cross-Council Programmes at Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council said:

The engineering biology accelerator programme, funded through the UKRI Technology Missions Fund, is helping to provide vital training and support to engineering biology entrepreneurs looking to turn their technology idea into a business.

This second accelerator programme follows on the success of our first, helping to connect more UK scientists with industry experts to explore founding new engineering biology companies in the UK.

Shaping the future of UK biotechnology

Gordon Ford, Innovation Lead of Biomedical and Enabling Technologies at Innovate UK said:

This accelerator programme has succeeded in providing support for Engineering Biology entrepreneurs from across the UK in diverse applications and industries. It has brought together a much needed innovation ecosystem of industry and technology experts, as well as investors which will accelerate the development these cutting edge ideas from UK SME’s.

Innovate UK looks forward to continuing our partnership with Science Creates and shaping the future of biotechnology in the UK with the launch of the second Engineering Biology accelerator.

Dr Christopher Waite, graduate from the first accelerator programme, added:

Joining the Science Creates Accelerate programme has put me 9 months ahead in the development of my vision, venture, and founder skills. I might have given up by now if I were still alone on this journey. I can’t recommend the programme highly enough for anyone who has an idea or some technology and would like to seriously explore founding an engineering biology company.

Partnering with leading VCs

The upcoming engineering biology accelerator programme cohort will be the first to benefit from a new partnership between leading VCs and Science Creates Accelerate.

This unique partnership, where VCs take no equity and no right of first refusal in companies formed through the accelerator, seeks to find the best fit between companies and investors.

Amino Collective, Giant VC, Local Globe and Pillar VC are just a few of the firms who join Science Creares Venture Capital (SCVC), Science Creates’ official venture arm, in supporting Science Creates Accelerate.

Forging great investments

Dr Harry Destecroix, Science Creates Founder and SCVC Managing Partner, said:

Our objective is to build an internationally recognised accelerator programme that gives the direct training and mentorship that is so important when transitioning from scientist to entrepreneur. Neither SCVC nor our partners take any equity or option to invest, which is intentional because we believe the opportunity is both enormous and largely untapped.

For us, it’s about getting the best VCs together and developing the best founders to forge great co-investments that will lead to building a new wave of multibillion dollar startups that could move the needle in terms of healthcare and sustainability.

Applications open

Those interested in finding out more about how the programme works can visit the Accelerator Roadshows taking place throughout March in cities across the UK, including:

  • Edinburgh
  • Manchester
  • Southampton
  • London
  • Bristol

The event series will provide further information on the programme, showcase regional research commercialisation services and grow a nationwide network to support innovation in engineering biology.

There are up to 24 places available on the second accelerator programme and expression of interest applications close on 3 April 2024.

Further information

About Science Creates

Science Creates believes that deep tech startups are society’s most effective economic vehicle to deliver innovation and global impact for the health of people and the health of our planet. It empowers, supports and inspires people over three decades of their journey in becoming world-leading deep tech founders.

The team and their partners support a growing cluster of deep tech startups in the UK with research facilities, a venture capital arm (SCVC) and national deep tech accelerator programmes.

Their outreach charity is training the next generation of scientists and entrepreneurs, starting at age 10. The growing community is also supported by a network of carefully selected advisors and strategic partners. Since its inception, Science Creates has already incubated over 100 startups.

Find out more about Science Creates.

About UKRI Technology Missions Fund

The UKRI Technology Missions Fund is designed to exploit the UK’s global leadership in transformative technologies to help solve specific problems, while also helping cement that leading position. Overall, UKRI is investing £250 million in Technology Missions to enable new and existing capabilities and capacity in artificial intelligence, quantum technologies and engineering biology in the years 2023 to 2025 and beyond. With a further £70 million announced to support future telecommunications.

Top image:  Credit: Science Creates

This is the website for UKRI: our seven research councils, Research England and Innovate UK. Let us know if you have feedback or would like to help improve our online products and services.