Record-breaking sums of venture bets on UK healthcare may have ushered in a spring for more mature companies, but it has also raised the bar on smaller shops just getting started, sometimes starving promising ideas of the necessary capital to move forward.
That’s according to the founders of Start Codon, a startup accelerator launching at the heart of the Cambridge Cluster to invest on behalf of Cambridge Innovation Capital, Babraham Research Campus and Roche’s Genentech.
“As the size of Series A rounds continue to increase, so do the expectations of investors performing diligence into young startups,” said Jason Mellad, CEO of Start Codon. “We believe that there is a widening gap between early-stage companies and the commercial validation requirements of today’s Series A investors that Start Codon helps bridge.”
With grants up to £250,000 ($324,000), the seed-funding is only part of what Start Codon offers. The selected companies — a group of 50 over the next 5 years — can also expect to receive guidance from a full-time team of mentors as well as office and lab space at the Milner Therapeutics Institute.
Mellad, an American transplant to the Golden Triangle, says he believes Start Codon’s work can save many great technologies — from therapeutics and diagnostics to med tech and digital health — from failing in the earliest stages. By bringing the most exciting healthcare fledglings to Cambridge, he is also looking to solidify the city’s status as a global innovation leader.
“We are particularly interested in platform technologies and disruptive innovations,” he adds.
Veteran biotech entrepreneurs Jonathan Milner and Ian Tomlinson have come on board, contributing to the mission as both investors and board directors, with Tomlinson taking on the chairman role.
Start Codon’s focus on pre-Series A investment means it will actively seek partners to follow their bets. Mellad says.
Image: Jason Mellad. START CODON
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