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Creator Fund expands to 7 European countries, announces first investments in deep tech startups


Creator Fund, a leading early-stage venture capital fund focused on backing PhD startups emerging from universities, has made a significant expansion across 7 European countries. The fund has launched in Estonia, Sweden, Poland, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, and the UK, making it the largest student-focused VC in the world. In conjunction with its expansion, Creator Fund has also made its first two investments in Europe, supporting innovative deep tech companies Turing Bio and Enlightra. With its unique student investor model, Creator Fund aims to harness the scientific expertise of PhDs to fuel Europe’s next generation of groundbreaking technology startups.

Scaling the model of investing in PhD founders

Creator Fund has successfully replicated the Silicon Valley “Dorm Room Fund” model for investing in university-founded companies and adapted it to the European market. The fund’s primary focus is on deep tech startups, driven by technical PhDs who possess the necessary expertise to develop Europe’s future unicorns. With teams established across 32 university campuses, Creator Fund has trained over 120 student investors over the past three years, fostering a strong network of talent.

First European investments

Coinciding with its expansion, Creator Fund has made its initial foray into European investments. The fund has backed two promising startups Turing Bio in France and Enlightra in Switzerland. Turing Bio utilizes artificial intelligence to identify cancer origins within tumours and collaborates with pharmaceutical companies to develop more accurate drugs. Led by childhood friends who pursued PhDs, Turing Bio received £850k in funding from Creator Fund. Enlightra, on the other hand, focuses on developing next-generation multicolour laser technology for ultrafast and energy-efficient data transmission. The founding team of Enlightra holds PhDs in Quantum and Atomic Physics.

The student investor model

One of the key differentiators of Creator Fund is its student investor model. By training a predominantly PhD team to think like venture capitalists, the fund identifies opportunities within laboratories and campuses across Europe. The student investors, currently numbering 45, have mapped out the university startup landscape and strategically recruited students from programs where they identify the most exciting innovations. After completing their studies, these student investors go on to become founders, join the Creator Fund portfolio, or join other VC funds. This model aims to build the continent’s most powerful network of technical talent.

Expanding the European network

CEO of Creator Fund, Jamie Macfarlane, expressed enthusiasm about the expansion, stating, “There is incredible scientific talent at universities across Europe. Today, we have scaled our team from Tartu at the EU’s eastern edge to Madrid in the west. Across the continent, PhDs are driving cutting-edge breakthroughs in AI, robotics, and life science.” Macfarlane emphasized the importance of transforming scientific innovation into tangible companies and highlighted Creator Fund’s commitment to supporting founders at universities that often go unnoticed.

The power of European expansion

Ilaria Incaviglia, a new student investor at ETH Zurich, underlined the power of the European expansion in creating a talent platform across PhD programs. This platform enables the fund to work on deals related to her PhD field in Switzerland while connecting companies with technical hires from universities throughout Europe. The ability to tap into degree programs where the most interesting innovation is happening sets Creator Fund apart from others in the industry.

“The power of our European expansion is in the talent platform it builds across PhD programmes. I work from Switzerland on a deal within my PhD field based in Oxford or Stockholm, and we are able to connect our companies with technical hires from across European universities in a way nobody else can. We reach into degree programmes where the most interesting innovation is happening”.

New student investor, Ilaria Incaviglia at ETH Zurich

Building Europe’s future technology powerhouses

Creator Fund’s expansion across 7 European countries marks a significant milestone in its mission to support PhD-founded startups in Europe. With teams established across leading universities, the fund is well-positioned to identify and invest in deep tech startups with the potential to become industry leaders. The recent investments in Turing Bio and Enlightra highlight Creator Fund’s commitment to driving innovation and enabling scientific founders to turn their ideas into successful companies. As Creator Fund continues to nurture its network of student investors and technical talent, Europe’s future technology powerhouses are poised to emerge.

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