Wed, 05/02/2014 - 06:30
Former UK science minister Ian Taylor has been appointed as the chair of the advisory board of venture capital firm Midven’s Rainbow Seed Fund (RSF).
Taylor (pictured) was a member of the UK Parliament for 23 years until he stood down in 2010, including serving as science minister from 1994 to 1997.
He is now executive chairman of LivingPlanIT SA which is working with the Technology Strategy Board to encourage smaller companies to access the Internet of Things. He also chairs the National Space Academy Steering Group.
Taylor is a strategy adviser to the ESA director-general. He is a Council member for RSF partner the Science & Technologies Facilities Council and a member of the Council of the Campaign for Science & Engineering.
Rainbow Seed Fund is an evergreen early stage venture capital fund dedicated to kick-starting and catalysing further investment in technology companies. The fund is independently managed by venture capital specialist Midven and focuses on promising technologies developed at some of the UK’s largest publicly-funded research facilities (including the Rutherford Appleton and Daresbury Laboratories, the Babraham Research Campus, Norwich Research Park and Porton Down), and the rapidly expanding science and technology campuses linked to them.
The Rainbow Seed Fund holds investments in several of the UK’s most promising companies in areas as diverse as novel antibiotics, research into Alzheimer’s disease, “green” chemicals and airport security.
RSF has released an economic analysis illustrating the value of its early-stage investment in tech start-ups to the economy. Although the majority of the companies are still young, the fund’s investment to date of GBP7m has already leveraged more than GBP150m from private investors, has helped create 255 high-tech jobs, GBP40m of export sales and economic gross value add (GVA) of GBP32m.
Taylor says: “I see this as a key area for further effort in the UK. Britain is good at research, but not as good at putting that research into practice. Both direct and sponsored government intervention is needed because there is often a gap between the generation of an idea and the creation of wealth or social value from that idea.
“The Rainbow Seed Fund should play a key and higher profile role as part of the wider framework to stimulate the process of taking ideas beyond discovery towards commercialisation. This report is an important illustration of how we can create real economic value over the medium to long term and how early intervention using public funds can stimulate later stage private sector investment by mitigating risk.”
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