Octopus Investments has launched a pre-seed DeepTech fund targeting £40m.

Part of the Octopus Group, the investment company aims to give the most promising DeepTech founders the capital and skills they need to take breakthrough technologies to market. 

The fund will act as a lead investor, supporting hardware and software with capital and effective customer discovery.

Specifically, the fund will invest in technology emerging from the UK and Europe’s most forward-looking research centres and university hubs that is essential for establishing a sustainable planet. 

These technologies include the likes of quantum solutions, photonics and electronics, advanced materials, robotics, AgriTech and artificial intelligence. Without investment, global challenges, such as climate change, resource scarcity and the need for energy security, will remain unresolved.

The fund provides an opportunity for global institutional investors looking to back some of the most exciting businesses on the journey to building a sustainable planet. The fund is looking to raise capital from a range of national and international institutional investors, including family offices, corporates and local government pension schemes. 

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Zoe Reich (pictured, right) and Rubina Singh (left) are the general partners for the fund. They will be supported by a team made up of former researchers and founders, such as venture partner Richard Anson. 

“Building a sustainable planet will require much greater investment in atoms and less investment in bytes,” said Reich. “Only the combination of hardware and software innovation will tackle this global challenge. We see a real opportunity in the market to be the go-to lead investor for DeepTech hardware.

“We’re excited to be launching a fund that tackles one of the greatest challenges of DeepTech commercialisation – customer discovery – and underwrite the technology validation pathway, while providing founders with meaningful capital to hit value inflection points.”

Singh added: “We are in the midst of multiple global crises, with climate change being one of the biggest challenges of our generation. We believe that the companies we are investing in, and the innovation they are bringing, are what is needed to create the next paradigm shift in how we tackle these challenges. 

“Greater innovation requires greater diversity of thought, and we are passionate about supporting diverse teams working on novel technologies. For a recent customer discovery programme we ran for DeepTech startups, nearly 50% of the applications we received were from teams with a female founding member and more than 60% had a founding member from an ethnic minority background. 

“Our ambition with this fund is to tackle both the funding gap faced by DeepTech businesses and support diverse founders to create a truly inclusive net-zero future.”

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