UK Innovation & Science Seed Fund

UK Innovation & Science Seed Fund

The UK Innovation & Science Seed Fund (formerly known as The Rainbow Seed Fund) is a £27.1m early-stage venture capital fund building and growing technology companies stemming from the UK’s research base.

We help build companies from great science developed in: public laboratories, science and technology campuses and synthetic biology.

We hold 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.

UKI2S 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.

UKI2S Investment Criteria

In order for the Fund to consider investing into your company you must meet at least one of the following criteria:

1. Projects and companies arise from world-class research carried out in our partner laboratories across the UK, including those at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (STFC), Babraham Institute (BBSRC) and Porton Down (Dstl).

2. Companies are based at our partners’ national science and innovation campuses in Harwell Oxford, Babraham Cambridge, Daresbury Warrington, Norwich, Rothamsted, NOC Southampton, or at one of the Centres for Agricultural innovation.

3. UK Companies working in the field of synthetic biology: Synthetic biology is the design and engineering of biologically-based parts, novel devices and systems and the redesign of existing, natural biological systems.

4. Members of the Fund, who must be working with one of our partner laboratories.

5. Companies working with a Catapult centre under a competitively awarded funded programme or based on intellectual property licensed from a Catapult centre.

Economic Value Generated By The Fund Since Its Creation In 2002

A key part of our value in economic terms is in the pivotal early role we play in getting technology companies off the ground, often whilst they are still in the laboratory and before they are ready to spin out. Many of our companies might never have made it, if it had not been for our support and the technologies and services they offer would not have progressed beyond an interesting concept.

What We And Our Companies Have Already Achieved

  • Critical founding role – The report found that over three-quarters (78%) of the 57 companies in the portfolio would not have been established or would have ceased to operate without UKI2S support.
  • Co-Investment – For every £1 of UKI2S investment, there has been £34 of follow-on investment from other sources. UKI2S has provided companies with almost £15 million of equity funding. These companies have gone on to receive subsequent investment of over £500 million, almost all from the private sector.
  • Highly R&D intensive – The companies are deeply committed to long term development of their technology. The data behind the study shows that portfolio companies spend over 50% of their funding on R&D and continue to do so well after initial products are launched.  
  • UK prosperity – Around 95% of all sales are exported. The companies are developing ground-breaking and often world-beating technologies. Their markets are global and UKI2S portfolio companies have already exported almost £170m of goods and services although many are still in development mode.
  • National reach – UKI2S invests in companies throughout the UK. 57% of UKI2S portfolio companies are outside London and the South-East.
  • Jobs – Over 770 jobs have been created by portfolio companies of which the study found that 300 were directly attributable to the Fund’s role. These are highly skilled and high productivity roles with an average salary of close to £50,000.
  • Successful investment realisations can bolster economic growth – The Fund has successfully exited three portfolio companies recently, all to major international acquirers (including Apple) and is recycling the profits into the next generation of start-ups. Meanwhile acquirers are building new operations around the unique skills of their UK acquisitions, expanding the economic impact in the UK.

In recognition of these achievements, in November 2013 the UKI2S 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.

Additional Background

The UK Innovation & Science Seed Fund is independently managed by Dr. Andrew Muir, Mark White,  Oliver Sexton and Pablo Lubroth at Midven.

More information on the Fund can be found at:


Fund Facts

Current As At: 1st October 2018

Fund Amount £27.1m

6 Profitable Exits

37 Companies

Fund Managers

Associated Investments


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