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Octopus Investments launches £40m deep tech pre-seed fund

Octopus Investments
Octopus Investments partner, Zoe Reich. Image credit: Octopus Group

Octopus Investments has launched a £40m deep tech venture capital fund that will back pre-seed startups in the UK and Europe.

The new fund from the investment wing of Octopus Group, which also includes Octopus Energy and Real Estate, will act as the lead investor for early-stage deep tech firms operating in areas such as quantum computing, robotics and AI.

The fund is looking to raise capital from a range of national and international institutional investors including family offices, corporates and local government pension schemes.

Zoe Reich, a deep tech specialist who joined Octopus in 2021, and Rubina Singh, a sustainable technologies specialist, will act as general partners for the new fund.

“Building a sustainable planet will require much greater investment in atoms and less investment in bytes. Only the combination of hardware and software innovation will tackle this global challenge,” said Reich.

“We’re excited to be launching a fund that tackles one of the greatest challenges of deep tech commercialisation – customer discovery – and underwrite the technology validation pathway, while providing founders with meaningful capital to hit value inflection points.”

Octopus Group’s investment arm has backed some of the UK’s most notable startups in the past, including Zoopla, Depop and Cazoo.

Recent investments from Octopus include participation in the funding rounds for hearing diagnostics firm TympaHealth, train ticket app Seatfrog and digital cancer support group Perci Health.

Octopus Investments has also stated it will ensure founder diversity is present among the founders backed by the funds.

“Greater innovation requires greater diversity of thought, and we are passionate about supporting diverse teams working on novel technologies,” said Singh.

“For a recent customer discovery programme, we ran for deep tech startups, nearly 50% of the applications we received were from teams with a female founding member and more than 60% had a founding member from an ethnic minority background.

“Our ambition with this fund is to tackle both the funding gap faced by deep tech businesses and support diverse founders to create a truly inclusive net-zero future.”

Read more: UK must support deep tech in Silicon Valley goal, says Octopus Ventures manager