New ecosystem launches to drive deep tech in Bristol

Science Creates

A new ecosystem has launched in Bristol to drive deep tech.

Science Creates is backed by successful entrepreneurs. Its objective is to help scientists and engineers accelerate their ideas and build disruptive businesses from scientific discoveries. In partnership with the University of Bristol, Science Creates aims to establish Bristol as a global centre for deep tech by providing a combination of specialist incubator facilities able to house wet labs, a network of strategic partners and £15 million investment fund. 

CEO at Science Creates Harry Destecroix, who is also and General Partner at Science Creates Ventures, said: “I am delighted to announce the launch of Science Creates. In partnership with the University of Bristol and Research England, our two central Bristol incubators, Unit DX (a flexible high-spec laboratory space for rent in Central Bristol, the first of its kind in the city which opened in 2017), and Unit DY (currently under construction) offer 45,000 sq. ft of laboratory, office and event space for deep tech start-ups. We designed our Unit DX and Unit DY Incubators for scientists and engineers using input from our own experiences working in laboratories. Our specialist in-house team designed, developed and run our incubators.”

The Science Creates Network is made up of member deep tech companies and partnerships with local academic institutions, entrepreneurs, investors and strategic service providers.

Harry added: “With the growth of our ecosystem, we identified the need for investment to help companies scale up. This is why we are launching Science Creates Ventures, to aim to deliver mould-breaking investment funds. Science Creates Ventures EIS Fund 1 focuses on deep tech start-ups at pre-seed and seed levels. The fund will aim to provide essential funding to the Bristol region and seek to help ambitious companies in a variety of sectors including therapeutics, diagnostics, advanced materials, hardware and software.

“Run exclusively by proven founders who combine deep technical knowledge with extensive commercialisation expertise. Science Creates Ventures will invest in technologies that have the potential to improve healthcare, quality of life, and the environment around us.”

Professor Hugh Brady Vice-Chancellor and President at the University of Bristol, said: “The University of Bristol is ranked among the world’s leading research-intensive universities. Our research has global academic impact, and our researchers are amongst the most cited in the world. But we want our research to have economic and social impact too.

“It has been tremendously exciting to be part of Unit DX’s success story. I distinctly remember walking around Unit DX with Harry Destecroix, its CEO and Co-Founder, as the finishing touches were being put to the new facility – itself striking for its innovative design. The ambition was palpable and infectious.

“Over the ensuing three years, Unit DX has had a profound impact on Bristol’s innovation ecosystem, helping to foster an environment that supports scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs to transform cutting-edge research into next generation technologies and applications.

One of the first companies to move to Unit DX was Ziylo – a University of Bristol spin-out whose struggle to find lab space inspired the creation of Unit DX. In 2018, Ziylo was acquired by Novo Nordisk in a staged deal worth a potential $800 million. The sale has put Bristol on the map and attracted substantial additional investment to the sector.”

This was a huge success for the Ziylo team, and it was by no means the only such success to emerge from Unit DX, added Professor Brady. “Today, 60 percent of the companies it hosts are University of Bristol spinouts. Their future success is also a success for our city, and for the University’s drive to maximise the impact of our research.

“If our city is to compete successfully on the global stage, it needs a step-up in investment and innovation capacity.”