Meet the deep tech venture capitalists disrupting the UK’s start-up space

In a world transformed by technology, two of the UK’s most successful deep tech founders have united under the banner of SCVC, an early-stage venture capital firm, to foster innovation and drive global impact.

This partnership signifies a transformative shift in the venture capital landscape, one that could redefine how deep tech start-ups are funded and supported – and potentially challenge the tech titans of Silicon Valley.

Secrets of founder success

SCVC’s recent appointment of John Williams, co-founder of billion-dollar tech company Kudan, and Harry Destecroix, founder of Ziylo, has made them the first UK venture capital firm to be led by two deep tech founders.

This ground-breaking combination of technical expertise and entrepreneurial experience presents a compelling counter-narrative to the traditional VC model, where investment decisions are often led by financial experts rather than industry practitioners.

Research shows that founder-led VCs have a higher success rate for their investments, yet in Europe, they are rare. In the UK, for instance, only 8% of venture capital firms have experience working in start-ups— a stark contrast to the US where 60% of VC’s have start-up experience.

This discrepancy underscores a significant gap in the venture capital landscape that SCVC is poised to fill. Entrepreneur-turned-investor venture capital models like SCVC’s are not new. Silicon Valley giants a16z and Founders Fund, started by PayPal’s founder Peter Thiel and Netscape’s founder Marc Andreessen respectively, have successfully adopted this approach.

However, SCVC’s model claims a distinctive advantage – both partners are original inventors of the technologies their companies were built upon. This rare combination of deep tech expertise and entrepreneurial experience could be a game-changer for early-stage deep tech start-ups in the UK.

What sets SCVC apart is their unique “technology-product fit” model. Instead of focusing solely on market potential, SCVC leverages its technical expertise to understand the technology in its pure state first and identify the best product that leverages the technology’s strengths.

This approach is designed to mitigate the high technical risk often associated with deep tech start-ups, making SCVC an attractive proposition for tech founders. Moreover, SCVC’s commitment to unlocking the untapped potential of UK’s deep tech start-ups is laudable.

Mind the gap

Despite boasting some of the world’s best research, the UK has only half the patenting rate per capita compared to the US, indicating a lower commercialization rate. SCVC aims to bridge this gap, fostering a collaborative environment with other VCs to unlock more deep tech opportunities.

The formation of SCVC reflects a broader trend where tech founders are transitioning into venture capital to guide the next generation of entrepreneurs.

 By leveraging their technical expertise and entrepreneurial experience, these founder-turned-investors are uniquely positioned to support deep tech startups in ways that traditional VC’s cannot. As SCVC continues to back promising quantum and biotech spin-out companies, it is poised to become the UK’s leading early-stage deep tech investor for technical founders.

But of course, the real wor, of driving innovation, supporting tech founders, and creating global impact—is still ahead. Yet, with the unique approach of SCVC, the future of the UK’s deep tech industry appears to be in capable hands.

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