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UK-based VC Empirical Ventures targets £10M fund to back early-stage science-led startups

Empirical Ventures
Picture credits: Empirical Ventures

Bristol-based Empirical Ventures is targeting a £10M fund to lead pre-seed and seed investments for deep science startups in the UK. It has already received a £5 million commitment from British Business Investments, through its Regional Angels Programme, to invest alongside Empirical Ventures’ new S/EIS Fund and its angel syndicate. Another £3.25M has been committed as a first close into the S/EIS fund by other investors.

Empirical Ventures will invest in early-stage science-led startups that are redefining what is possible and solving some of the most pressing challenges facing humanity.

Boosts UK’s deep science ecosystem 

Empirical Ventures leads pre-seed and seed rounds for deep science startups creating century-defining technologies. Founded by Dr. Ben Miles and Dr. Johnathan Matlock, who met at the University of Bristol spinout company, Ziylo Ltd., which was later acquired by Novo Nordisk. They also sit on the board of eight companies, who have collectively raised over £20 milion. Miles also founded Spin Up Science in 2018, which has supported over 4,500 scientists in entrepreneurship and catalysed over 200 deeptech companies across the UK.

Empirical Ventures has already invested in 18 companies across advanced materials, life sciences, robotics, and energy transition technologies, including startups like BaseImmune, Anaphite, CheMastery, Wase, Ensilicated Technologies, and QV Bioelectronics.

Dr. Johnathan Matlock, VC investor and cofounder at Empirical Ventures, said, “We want to back the most innovative and advanced startups that address not only the necessities we’re facing for the future – climate change, dwindling resources, accessible healthcare – but also startups that create new markets and possibilities based on technology no one has seen before. We’re looking forward to bringing our experience and contacts together to support these startups to achieve their maximum positive impact.” 

Dr. Ben Miles, VC investor and co-founder at Empirical Ventures, said, “We are looking at entirely new technologies driven by fundamental research. These startups have incredible potential but are also very hard to diligence and value at the early stages, and that is hurting the ecosystem as a whole in the UK. We’re addressing that gap in the market by validating and funding the most exciting and novel technologies from the beginning and helping the founders through their journeys based on our own experiences to make them into successful and significant companies.”

Adam Kelly, Managing Director, British Business Investments, said, “We are excited to back Johnathan and Ben, who are addressing a large gap of undertaking significant due diligence in early-stage deep science investing which in turn increases angel involvement into this vital sector. This commitment highlights the Regional Angels Programme’s objectives of developing the early-stage funding ecosystem across the UK Nations and Regions, bringing together finance, business experience and skills to support the development of high-growth smaller businesses.”

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