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5 March, 2020 - 20:48 By Tony Quested

Kin Capital launches new Cambridge VC fund for university startups and spin-outs

Kin Capital in London has launched a new VC fund that will back start-up businesses in and around Cambridge University.

The Cambridge University Ventures SEIS Fund will convey 50 per cent tax relief and other substantial tax benefits through the UK’s Government backed Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS).

Google, Facebook and many more of the world’s most successful businesses were started by students at university. Whilst these startups were great ideas and had talented founders what they needed to grow was further capital and mentoring from experienced individuals.

Cambridge University is one of the top ranked universities in the world (its affiliates have won more Nobel prizes than any other institution globally) and is at the centre of what arguably is the most successful technology ecosystem in Europe. It has produced 18 companies worth over $1 billion.

The Cambridge University Ventures SEIS Fund sources its prospective investments from members of Cambridge University Venture Capital and Private Equity Society, along with other Cambridge organisations, including the Cambridge Judge Business School.

Subject to a thorough investment process and with the support of experienced mentors, small ‘seed stage’ investments will be made across a portfolio of companies. 

The fund will reserve some of its capital to make further ‘follow on’ investments to accelerate the growth of the most promising opportunities. While many of the investee founders will be students or recent graduates, this is not a requirement.

The fund is being advised by Cambridge University Ventures Ltd, a new Cambridge based organisation led by Ayla Selamoglu, chair of the Cambridge’s Venture Capital and Private Equity Society.

Ms Selamoglu said: “If tomorrow a new billion dollar business is founded in the UK there is a good chance it will be founded in Cambridge and have strong ties to the university. 

“Having harnessed the power of the Cambridge student community to source opportunities, our pool of mentors will be on hand to further screen and select the start-ups we back.”

Jason Mellad, ex-CEO of successful spin-out company Cambridge Epigenetix, co-founder of Cambridge based accelerator Start Codon and one of the mentors to Cambridge University Ventures added: “This initiative will undoubtedly encourage the creation of new startups in and around the university, provide more than just finance to help them succeed and will help further develop the Cambridge tech ecosystem.”

Christian Elmes, co-principal of Kin Capital said: “The Cambridge University Ventures SEIS Fund gives investors access to potentially the UK’s next global success stories, whilst benefitting from substantial SEIS tax reliefs.”

Kin Capital has helped raise over £200 million for UK university spinout funds and manages both retail and institutional venture capital funds.

Cambridge University Ventures provides support to the Cambridge University Venture Capital and Private Equity Society. The society has over 1,500 members and is embedded within the Cambridge community. It has access to a team of experienced VCs to help mentor student-sourced businesses.

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