Deep Science Ventures (DSV) and the University of Edinburgh launched the Food & Agriculture Science Transformer (FAST), an ambitious program creating the first venture studio in Scotland.
The FAST program brings together DSV’s market-led approach to creating science companies, and the Roslin Institute’s world-leading expertise and facilities across genomics, veterinary biosciences, biotechnology and agriculture. Each year the partnership will launch several high growth technology startups comprising teams from the University of Edinburgh, the wider UK and the rest of the world.
FAST operates virtually but will also be jointly located at the Roslin Innovation Centre (RIC) which is based within the University of Edinburgh’s Easter Bush Campus and DSV London-based headquarters. DSV and Roslin share the vision to deploy innovative science and will select globally relevant commercial and technology opportunities, recruit and train ambitious founders from the Edinburgh ecosystem and the world beyond to create agricultural and biotech companies that can respond to the needs of farmers, the public and the planet’s ecosystems. RIC offers flexible office and laboratory open-plan accommodation with quick, easy and secure subdivisions and companies formed can be based at RIC with access to state-of-the-art facilities.
DSV was established to create a founder-friendly method for launching high growth science companies with novel IP, and its approach is to develop each company and its team creation for a year. Founders are recruited to investigate neglected areas in which high impact could be made by unifying innovative science from multiple technological domains. As projects demonstrate increasing commercial viability, additional founders and advisors join to generate the data and IP that allows a novel science company to hit the ground running, alongside a minimum £50,000 of equity investment, which can grow to £500,000.
DSV’s agriculture portfolio includes, among others, Beta Bugs, which is headquartered next to the Roslin Institute and develops high-performance insect breeds for aquafeeds.
“I am very excited by the prospect of this FAST program, which is a highly unique approach to company formation,” said John Mackenzie, CEO of Roslin Innovation Centre. “Attracting worldwide scientific and entrepreneurial talent and combining them with market-led opportunities to create companies of scale in animal health, agri-tech and/or aquaculture (AAA), FAST will hopefully find and create the first AAA unicorn company, which will only augment our world-leading position at the University of Edinburgh’s Easter Bush Campus.”