Scientist and entrepreneur, Dr Harry Destecroix, has unveiled Science Creates, the deep tech ecosystem that offers specialised incubator space, a £15 million investment fund and a comprehensive network of strategic partners to nurture science and engineering start-ups and spin-outs. The world-class hub, in partnership with the University of Bristol and located in the heart of the city, is set to become the ‘new West Coast’, transforming disruptive discoveries through impactful commercialisation.
Dr Harry Destecroix, founder of Science Creates, explains: “Where a discovery is made has a huge bearing on whether it’s successfully commercialised. While founding my own start-up, Ziylo, I became aware of just how many discoveries failed to emerge from the lab in Bristol alone. No matter the quality of the research and discovery, the right ecosystem is fundamental if we are going to challenge the global 90% failure rate of science start-ups, and create many more successful ventures.”
Science Creates grew out of the original incubator, Unit DX, that Harry set up in collaboration with the University of Bristol in 2017 to commercialise companies like his own, Ziylo, which aimed to develop one of the first smart insulins to help people suffering with diabetes. In 2018, Ziylo was purchased by pharmaceutical giant Novo Nordisk in a deal potentially worth $800 million and Harry saw the opportunity to expand his incubator into an ecosystem that invests in and supports other exciting deep tech innovations.
The Science Creates ecosystem comprises:
Science Creates Incubators: Today, Unit DX houses 37 scientific and engineering companies working with technologies that will help improve healthcare, the environment around us and quality of life. The opening of a second incubator, Unit DY, close to Bristol Temple Meads train station, will enable the ecosystem to support 100 companies which could provide 450 jobs and brings Science Creates’ physical footprint across the two units to 45,000 sq ft.
Science Creates Ventures: Science Creates Ventures launches with its first fund, a £15 million venture capital fund offering start-up investment. The fund is supported and backed by successful Bristol-based entrepreneurs behind some of the South-West’s biggest deep tech exits. Despite being a new fund and the challenging fundraising environment, the Science Creates Ventures EIS Fund has raised significantly more than many other EIS Funds, according to figures from www.taxefficientreview.com.
Science Creates Network: Network is a portfolio of strategic partners, mentors and advisors specifically tailored to the needs of science and engineering start-ups. The breadth and depth of these circles of expertise will continue to grow and flourish, creating a connected community of support that adds value to deep tech companies and a sustainable platform for teams to partner with Science Creates in the future.
Harry continues: “The start-ups we bring into Science Creates need more than Wi-Fi and strong coffee. They need well-equipped lab space as well as sector-specific business support, qualified talent and investment from sources that understand what it takes to build a successful deep tech business that will disrupt markets and change the world. We have lived in this space, understand the innovations we support, and know what our ecosystem needs to deliver to build from the discovery upwards. It makes us better equipped to spot and nurture the winners. What’s more, we believe Bristol has the economic potential to become a global deep tech hub with its location, talent and its unique blend of diverse, pioneering and rebellious ingredients to change the world.”
The U.S. stronghold on deep tech innovation has shifted in recent years, with investment in science and technology hubs around the world. Bristol has a long history of academic and industrial research, which makes up a world-class research base predominantly centred around the University of Bristol. Some of this research – particularly early-stage technologies requiring science-focussed incubator facilities and large amounts of venture capital – have faced significant challenges in their journey to commercialisation.
Science Creates is part of this global shift, contributing a world-class deep tech ecosystem that supports new entrepreneurs, the local community and budding scientists and engineers in commercialising ground-breaking innovations.
Professor Hugh Brady, Vice-Chancellor and President at the University of Bristol, adds: “We are delighted to support the vision and help Science Creates to build a thriving deep tech ecosystem in our home city. Great scientists don’t always know how to be great entrepreneurs, but we’ve seen the impact specialist support can have in helping them access the finance, networks, skills, and investment opportunities they need. Working with Science Creates, we aim to support even more ground-breaking discoveries to progress outside the university walls, and thrive as successful commercial ventures that change our world for the better.”
The University of Bristol, one of the UK’s leading academic research institutions, is a critical anchor for Science Creates, providing access to scientific talent and innovations.
Carolyn Porter, CEO, at discovery-stage biotech company Cytoseek – a spin-out from the University of Bristol – said: “The people, their conviction and the vision behind Science Creates convinced me that Bristol has the potential to rival other technology hubs in the UK and worldwide.”
Frederic Garzoni, Director and co-founder of Imophoron, an innovative vaccine technology start-up based in Unit DX, added: “Science Creates is a perfect match for Imophoron. It has an excellent ecosystem of people who’ve been there, done that, and outstanding facilities built for – and by – scientists. The balance between great science and proactive business is the essence of Science Creates and I immediately knew it was the perfect home for Imophoron.”