UKI2S Innovate Accelerator reaches entrepreneurial start-ups in all parts of the UK

Companies have raised over 6x more investment thanks to grant funding.

London, UK, 21, October 2019: The UK Innovation & Science Seed Fund (UKI2S) has celebrated the first anniversary of its UKI2S Innovate Accelerator, a joint funding initiative with Innovate UK (IUK) directed at early stage science and engineering companies. Twelve months since the Accelerator launched, 60% of the available funds have been allocated, with 18 companies awarded a total of £6m. The UKI2S Innovate Accelerator funding was expected to leverage equity funding to at least a similar level but in fact the result has been substantially higher, with the 10 companies having completed the raise securing more than £21m to date, a ratio of £6.4 for every £1 of grant. The remaining 8 companies are in the process of closing equity funding rounds.

The UKI2S Innovate Accelerator combines the technology assessment and grant funding capabilities of Innovate UK, which has committed £10m to this initiative, with the investment expertise of UKI2S, one of the UK’s leading seed-stage investors. The Accelerator is open to companies in the UKI2S portfolio, which currently consists of over 40 of the UK’s most innovative science and engineering companies, most of which originate from the labs and campuses of UKI2S partners including BBSRC, STFC, NERC, Dstl and other government-funded research institutes.

As the name suggests, the UKI2S Innovate Accelerator is designed to help companies drive their innovation, product development and intellectual property value faster than might be possible with equity investment alone. As indicated by the high levels of equity raised, support from non-dilutive grant funding is frequently an incentive to investors to increase their investment to support more rapid expansion.

Dr Andrew Muir, Investment Director at UKI2S, commented: “We have received applications from across the UK spanning a wide range of sectors, demonstrating the wealth of talent and entrepreneurship present in the UK. Capturing commercial potential from the UK science base is going from strength to strength and we are delighted to be able to support this growth.”

A diverse range of portfolio companies have so far received funding through the Accelerator. Ventures in healthcare, biotechnology, materials, consumer products, energy and industrial measurement have all received grants. The funding is also broadly spread across the country, with the majority outside London and the South East.

One recipient exemplifying the innovation championed by this initiative is Tokamak Energy, a spin out from the UK Atomic Energy Authority. The Company is developing compact spherical tokamaks to generate fusion energy; the grant was used in part to extend research into other applications for its advanced magnet technology including compact MRI scanners. Other companies include Joost, which has developed a novel super-lightweight engine with the power-density and simplicity of a 2-stroke, combined with the emissions, efficiency and reliability characteristics of a modern 4-stroke; AgPlus, developing a point-of-care diagnostic technology platform for a wide range of clinical applications; CytoSeek, using novel cell membrane augmentation technology to add new functionalities to cell therapies; and Linear Diagnostics, exploiting a novel platform technology to be used for assays ranging from detection of antibiotic resistance in infections to testing for bacteria that cause rotting in food crops.


About the UK Innovation & Science Seed Fund (UKI2S) 

UKI2S is a national seed investment fund that helps the UK to build innovative businesses, leverage private investment and grow jobs. UKI2S achieves this by nurturing new businesses arising from the great science undertaken in the UK and boosting the UK’s competitiveness and productivity by commercialising key technological advances in industrial biotech, ag tech, healthcare, medicine, clean energy, materials, artificial intelligence, software and space and other sectors. The fund provides the patient, long-term committed capital and strategic advice these companies need, starting as early as the pre-incorporation point. Over the past decade and more UKI2S has built a substantial track record, with 55 portfolio companies created – with only £14m of capital from UKI2S – that between them have attracted over £400m of later stage investment and now have a combined market value of over £700m. UKI2S works closely with its partners – led by STFC, BBSRC and NERC, which are all part of UK Research & Innovation (UKRI) and Dstl – and is also aligned with the Catapults and Innovate UK to create the best environment for innovation to flourish. UKI2S is independently managed by specialist venture capital firm Midven

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About Innovate UK

Innovate UK is part of UK Research and Innovation, a non-departmental public body funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK government. For more information visit UK Research and Innovation’s website. We drive productivity and economic growth by supporting businesses to develop and realise the potential of new ideas, including those from the UK’s world-class research base.

For more information please contact:


Dr Andrew Muir UKI2S

T: 0121 710 1990

M: 07968 298816

[email protected]

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BBSRC – Biotech & Biological Sciences Research Council; STFC – Science & Technology Facilities Council; NERC – Natural Environment Research Council; Dstl – Defence Science & Technology Laboratories