We spoke to Dr. Harry Destecroix, CEO at Science Creates Incubators and General Partner at Science Creates Ventures (SCV) to find out more about the initiative and the newly established fund.
Science Creates helps scientists and engineers build successful, disruptive businesses from scientific discoveries: “We want to establish Bristol as a global centre for deep tech by combining our specialist incubator facilities (Unit DX and DY) with a network of strategic partners and a dedicated venture capital fund,” says Harry.
He continues, “The ecosystem aims to provide better healthcare, a cleaner environment, and an improved quality of life for everyone; achieved by supporting scientists to take discoveries off the shelf and into the real world.”
Creating a deep tech ecosystem
It’s evident to see the Science Creates team are passionate about bringing the right people together to facilitate incredible innovation since its conception, helping startups to overcome issues such as commercialising their ideas and raising finance for niche technologies.
The journey started back in 2017, as they unveiled Bristol’s first central deep tech incubator, Unit DX. Harry tells us, “With rapid growth in the deep tech sector, by 2019 it was full, and members were asking for more lab space.”
For the team, the natural step was to expand their business support resources. Most importantly, the sheer volume of demand highlighted the need for a venture capital fund, and who better to set this up than the experts themselves?
Sciences Creates is the result of this expansion, aligning three pillars: incubators, network and funding. Harry says their goal is for “Bristol to be a leader in the global deep tech sector.”
The team recently celebrated its first funding success as the University of Bristol spin-out, CytoSeek, raised £3.5 million to develop new cell therapies to treat solid tumours in cancer patients in a seed round led by SCV.
Dr Carolyn Porter, CEO at CytoSeek, tells us, “I have operated in the golden triangle for much of my career to date and joined CytoSeek in early 2020 when the business had spun out of Bristol University. The emerging Bristol ecosystem both in terms of companies and wider stakeholders played a role in attracting me to the opportunity.
“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.
“Individual companies need a functioning ecosystem to thrive and grow and I believe as part of the ecosystem we all need to play a role in delivering its success. I see Science Creates as the glue that will enable us as individual companies to succeed by providing not only an incubator but also, investment and support and a mechanism to share our experiences for the benefit of the ecosystem stakeholders.”
Why set up in the South West?
The key factor about the South West is collaboration. Sciences Creates sits amongst an influx of similar incubators who support and refer one another, which ultimately bolsters the startups in the region.
Harry tells us he believes the South West is now a fantastic place to be based as a deep tech startup: “It didn’t used to be, but the sector is growing fast.
“We have the research base, and now we have more facilities in place, those companies that do spin out of the Universities are able to stay and grow, where previously they might have moved to Oxford, Cambridge or London.”
If you’re keen to get involved with the flourishing deep tech community here, Harry urges you to get in touch with Science Creates. He says, “We are always happy to hear from people with exciting ideas particularly those based in ‘deep’ research, i.e. science or advanced engineering.
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