£102m UK Innovation Science and Seed Fund prioritises Defence and Security Investment into UK-based startups

Published: September 2023

The UK Innovation and Science Seed Fund (UKI2S), independently managed by Future Planet Capital (Ventures), is unleashing support for defence, security and cyber startups through its Defence & Security Seed portfolio (“D2S”).

This pioneering initiative was launched in 2022 and has recently received a further injection of capital from the Ministry of Defence (MOD) as the UKI2S fund tops £102m. D2S looks across a broad range of technologies with dual use applications including cybersecurity, hardware, internet of things, robotics and sensors. D2S works closely with the Ministry of Defence (MOD), including the department’s Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) and the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL).

D2S has already invested £2m across five defence and security startups since its launch and is actively looking to deploy the remaining £16m.

D2S follows the same model as the main UKI2S Fund, investing in startups and spinouts at the Pre-Seed and Seed stage. The overall aim of D2S is to invest using public money to help catalyse private sector investment, strengthen national security, foster innovation, and protect sovereign capability.

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Lead for Defence and Security for UKI2S at Future Planet Capital, Mark White, said:

  • “The D2S portfolio is an important initiative by MOD sigalling an increasing recognition of the role of innovation in the next generation of technologies for our defence and security services while propelling the UK’s economic growth and global influence.”

    “National security is a top priority for the UK government, and innovation plays a crucial role in enabling the military and security agencies to counter evolving threats effectively. D2S seeks to tap into the potential of startups, exploiting technologies from the UK’s strong research base to bring innovation to defence”

This D2S announcement follows further investment into the UKI2S Fund by the MOD.

Director of the Defence Innovation Directorate at the MOD, John Ridge said:

“There is a clear need for UK companies to research, develop, commercialise and manufacture sensitive and nationally-important defence and security technologies,” said Ridge. “The D2S funding aims to deliver dual-use innovations that ensure the security of our citizens and businesses and give the defence and security services the tools they need to stay safe.”

Silicon Microgravity (SMG), a University of Cambridge spinout, has already received £500,000 D2S funding from UKI2S, which, in turn, unlocked a Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) Innovation Loan, showcasing the strength of the partnerships and ability to unlock further investment.

Francis Neill, CEO of SMG, commented on the funding:

“UKI2S have been more than just an investor to us. The team were fundamental in helping to get our Seed funding round away and have continued to provide valuable input and support, particularly with strategic advice and links into the defence ecosystem.”

“Any startup working in the security, defence or cyber sectors really needs to think about their scalability, how their businesses can be useful to the commercial sector as well as international security – and it’s these areas that UKI2S really helped us develop as we looked to start our investment journey.”

Our goal is to deliver a return of £25 in private sector investment for every £1 invested by UKI2S public partners which, if achieved, would mean total leverage of £450 million for D2S portfolio companies.

To date, UKI2S has invested in defence and security-focused startups such as Halo X-Ray in Nottingham, which aims to improve security in aviation; Honuworx in Aberdeen who are focused on sustainable subsea operations; and Bristol-based Q5D, a company enabling new and more efficient manufacturing of both power and electronic circuits for everything from flight controls to washing machines.

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