Empirical Ventures raises £8.25M for deep science

The scientist-founded VC wants to raise due diligence standards across the UK science startup landscape.
Empirical Ventures raises £8.25M for deep science

Empirical Ventures, founded by alumni of Bristol spinout Ziylo, has raised £8.25m for its deep science fund, S/EIS. The firm wants to raise a total of £10M to provide more support to early-stage deep science startups.

Products backed by Empirical span from brain implants to robotic crop harvesters to vaccine temperature management. Their deep science criteria covers life sciences, advanced materials, photonics and quantum hardware, robotics and automation, agchem/tech and deeptech.

The firm aspires to level up the UK’s deeptech landscape by leading due diligence applied to potential investments in deep science, thereby helping to de-risk early-stage investments for their investors and co-investors. £5M was awarded to the fund by the British Business Investments Regional Angels Programme with the remaining £3.25M provided by other investors.

Co-founders and emerging investors Dr Jonathan Matlock (PhD, Chemistry) and Dr Ben Miles (PhD, Physics) have track records in deep science scaling and investing in the UK. They met at the University of Bristol spinout Ziylo in 2016, where they were part of the core scientific team. Ziylo was later acquired by Novo Nordisk in a deal worth over $800 million — one of the largest acquisitions of a UK spinout company.

Dr. Johnathan Matlock commented on the raise: “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 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.” 

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