The Rainbow Seed Fund is a £24m, early-stage venture capital fund dedicated to kick-starting promising technology companies developed at some of the UK’s largest publicly-funded research facilities, in the rapidly expanding science and technology campuses linked to them and in the field of synthetic biology.
Created in 2002, the Rainbow Seed Fund is backed by ten UK publicly-funded research organisations and the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). The Fund holds investments in some of the UK’s most innovative companies in areas as diverse as novel antibiotics, research into Alzheimer’s disease, “green” chemicals and airport security.
Rainbow Seed Fund Investments
We’re prepared to invest early and help build a commercial proposition around a technology to attract additional investment needed to get to market. The Rainbow Seed Fund invests in:
1. Projects and companies arising from the world-class research carried out in our Partner laboratories across the UK, including those at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (STFC), Porton Down (Dstl) and Babraham Institute (BBSRC). See the full list of Partners here.
2. Companies based at our partners' national science and innovation campuses in Oxford, Cambridge, Warrington and Norwich. Read more about our partner campuses here.
3. Companies working in the field of synthetic biology: Synthetic biology is an exciting new discipline based on the design and engineering of biologically-based parts, novel devices and systems and the redesign of existing, natural biological systems.
Rainbow Seed Fund Milestones
Over the past decade, the Rainbow Seed Fund has:
- Supported 30+ technology start-up companies in sectors such as health, environmental services, international development, and security and defense.
- Leveraged more than £150 million of private investment from just £7 million of its own investment (a ratio of over £20 for every £1 from Rainbow).
- Bolstered the UK’s exports and employment -- 75%-100% of Rainbow Seed Fund company sales are overseas and our companies have created 170+ high-value, technology jobs.
- In recognition of these achievements, in November 2013 the Rainbow Seed Fund received an additional £10M investment to support the commercialisation of synthetic biology technologies. This funding was in response to the Synthetic Biology Roadmap, which sets out plans to harness opportunities in the field of synthetic biology. Synthetic biology is one of the eight great technologies highlighted by the UK government as an area of wide-ranging significance and potential economic importance, and in which the UK’s research base is particularly strong.
- Read about our criteria and investment process in the Rainbow Seed Fund FAQ.
- See highlights of the Fund's achievements in The Rainbow Seed Fund Brochure.
- Read a detailed evaluation of the Fund's impact to date in “Assessing the Economic and Wider Benefits of the Rainbow Seed Fund” report.
Rainbow Seed Fund Partners