Innovate UK – De-risking advanced materials technologies for corporate VCs

This blog accompanies the GCV Advanced Materials Society November 10th conference and report, ‘Venturing in the advanced materials and manufacturing nexus’.

Innovate UK is the UK’s innovation’s agency. It works with people, companies and partner organisations to find and drive the science and technology innovations that will grow the UK economy. Since 2007, Innovate UK has invested over £1.5bn in innovation, matched by a further £1.5 billion in partner and business funding. Innovate UK is sponsoring the GCV Advanced Materials Society conference on November 10th, where UK start-ups that have received its funding will present to an audience of corporate and financial VCs, and innovation professionals. The conference is also sponsored by Enso Ventures, Peloton Advisors and Norton Rose Fulbright.

Bruce Colley, Access to Finance Manager at Innovate UK
Ben Walsh, Lead Technologist – Advanced Materials at Innovate UK
Lien Ngo, Technologist- Advanced Materials at Innovate UK

As part of its advanced materials strategy, Innovate UK works with corporate and financial VCs to connect the UK advanced materials community to potential investors. We are partnering with the GCV Advanced Materials Society to grow and diversify our pool of potential investors. We see this as an opportunity to showcase the high growth potential businesses that we are proud to have supported.

The companies presenting at the Advanced Materials Society conference on November 10th are UK advanced materials businesses that have received funding from Innovate UK to take their ideas from concept to commercialisation. This funding has allowed them to de-risk their technology and they are now looking for follow-on support to take their technology to market.

Because the technological concepts have been proven, investors, partners and customers can be more confident in working with them. These companies reflect the inspiring range and diversity of the UK advanced materials landscape, from technologies enabling flexible electronics to lightweight structures for aerospace and satellite applications. UK companies presenting at the conference include:

  • Oxford Advanced Surfaces – making the coating and bonding of advanced materials simple
  • Flexenable – industrialising the development of an organic transistor technology
  • Tisics – designing, developing and manufacturing lightweight titanium composites
  • DZP Technologies Limited – bringing printed and plastic electronics innovation to our everyday lives
  • Exxelis – micro-patterned light guides for illumination and branding

The advanced materials programme at Innovate UK is part of the enabling technologies priority area and reflects the UK government’s emphasis on materials and manufacturing as one of its ‘Eight Great Technologies’. From 2012 to 2015, Innovate UK’s Advanced Materials strategy focused on:

  • Materials for sustainability: lightweight materials, materials with reduced environmental impact through-life, nanotechnology-enabled materials, substitutes for less sustainable or restricted materials;
  • Materials for energy: materials for cheaper and more efficient energy storage and management, materials for energy transmission and distribution to minimise power and thermal loss, and materials for high-durability energy generation at small and large scale, including clean technologies, catalysts and fuel cell technologies, and photovoltaics;
  • And materials for high value markets: integration of new materials, coatings and electronics, materials for aggressive environments with extremes of temperature, corrosion, erosion or stress, and biomaterials.

Recent programmes delivered by the advanced materials team at Innovate UK include the Materials & Manufacturing Launchpad, support for nanotechnology and graphene such as “Realising the Graphene Revolution” and “Advancing the Commercial Applications of Graphene” competitions, and a feasibility studies competition for “Materials for Demanding Environments.”

The Materials & Manufacturing Launchpad is based in Daresbury and Runcorn Heath in the North West. The Launchpad aimed to accelerate innovative projects towards commercial success and stimulate the development of the cluster by encouraging high-growth companies to engage with it. These projects are now finishing or have finished recently, many with successful technical outcomes. These companies are now seeking further private investment to take their businesses forward. More information on these companies can be found here.

The Innovate UK Advanced Materials programme will continue to focus on accelerating the journey from materials discovery to exploitation in industry. It will continue its support of businesses with innovative ideas for the application of novel materials and help high potential companies take their technologies to market.

If you are interested in learning more about the businesses we’ve supported or how we work with investors, please contact us. We also invite you to have a look at our GrowthShowcase, which features investment-ready companies which have been validated and de-risked through a rigorous selection process.  In addition, information on winning projects of Innovate UK competitions are available publicly and businesses are encouraged to network, present their projects and pitch for further support at events such as the annual Collaboration Nation, which targets small and micro UK companies, and the nationwide Venturefest events. Please e-mail us to learn more about these and other events.

Bruce.Colley [@] innovateuk.gov.uk
Ben.Walsh [@] innovateuk.gov.uk
Lien.Ngo [@] innovateuk.gov.uk

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