Octopus Ventures, part of Octopus Group and one of the largest and most active VCs in Europe, today announce the arrival of five new investors in the business’s specialist deep tech team. Joining the team are:
- Richard Anson, Academic Lead at Conception X and former CEO of Reevoo
- Flavia Levi, joining from the Ventures team at Plug and Play
- Owen Metters, previously a deep-tech investor at Williams Advanced Engineering and Licensing and Ventures Manager at Oxford University Innovation
- Maiuran Chandrakumaran, former Group Portfolio Manager at East African Holding and VP at BlackRock
- Mat Munro, former Conversocial Chief Product Officer and InPost Director of Product
Richard Anson began his career as a geologist. He secured a PHD in engineering geology, spent time as a post-doc researcher and spent four years in the engineering industry. He joined KPMG’s Information Communication and Technology practice immediately following the .com crash and later co-founded Reevoo where he spent six years as CEO. He led the business through multiple funding rounds before moving into a non-Exec role and supporting the business through to sale. He joins Octopus Ventures as Venture Partner.
Flavia joins Octopus Ventures from Plug and Play, an early-stage investor and corporate innovation platform connecting startups to corporations globally. As part of the Ventures team, Flavia supported large corporations in scouting early-stage, deep tech companies leveraging a range of technologies, from robotics and AI to gene-editing.
Owen holds a Ph.D in Chemistry and spent time as a research assistant before joining Oxford University Innovation to manage the licensing and spinout of technologies developed at the university, spinning out Refeyn and working on IP licensing with Oxford Nanopore. In 2019 he moved into VC with the Foresight Williams technology funds, a collaboration between Foresight Group and Williams Advanced Engineering, which invests in and helps develop early-stage deep tech companies in the UK. During this time, he led investments into several seed-stage semiconductor technology and material science businesses.
Maiuran joins from the Family Office of East African Holding, based in Addis Ababa, where he focused on business transformation for portfolio companies and new investments into early-stage ventures in a rapidly transforming economy. Prior to this, he developed and implemented structured financing strategies at BlackRock and Barclays after graduating in Mathematics from Cambridge University.
Mat Munro brings fourteen years of operator experience in venture backed businesses, from founding a number of companies to leading product, design, and engineering teams at the likes of VisualDNA. Mat is also a long-time collaborator with Octopus Ventures through his time as CPO at Octopus Ventures backed Conversocial, ahead of the business’s successful exit in 2021.
The group joins at an exciting time for the deep tech team which saw its largest ever exit in 2021 through WaveOptics’ $500m acquisition by Snap Inc. So far this year, the Octopus Ventures deep tech team has invested more than £45 million into businesses including Orca Computing, which is providing the UK Ministry of Defence’s first quantum computer; AI dubbing software developer, Papercup, and adaptive music technology platform, Lifescore.
Richard Anson comments: “I’m super excited to have joined the Octopus Ventures deeptech team. I am now surrounded by an amazing group of people, with an impressive track record in the sector. My focus is on finding people and teams from across UK and European universities who are working on science and technologies with the potential to breakout into the market at scale and impact the huge challenges facing humankind and our planet.”
Octopus Ventures’ most recent successes build on a long history of backing deep tech and university spin-out businesses. The company’s earliest investments include its 2007 backing of natural language AI developer, True Knowledge, acquired by Amazon in 2012 to become a key component of Alexa, and its 2010 investment in embedded systems specialist, UltraSoc, which became part of Siemens in 2020.
Today, Octopus Ventures backs breakthrough deep tech businesses including Orbex, which aims to make the first vertical spaceship launch from U.K. soil; Origami, an energy data platform designed to accelerate the transition to green energy and, autonomous robot creator, Dogtooth Technologies.
Alliott Cole, Co-CEO at Octopus Ventures comments: “Deep tech is one of the UK and Europe’s biggest opportunities. We have some of the world’s leading universities making world changing breakthroughs, and a growing community of experienced deep tech founders who know how to commercialise those breakthroughs. We’re building Octopus Ventures’ deeptech team to help provide the final piece of the puzzle – the patient, expert capital that founders need to take breakthroughs from the lab to market.”
For journalists in their professional capacity only. Personal opinions may change and should not be seen as advice or a recommendation. We do not offer investment or tax advice. Issued by Octopus Investments. Octopus Ventures is part of Octopus Investments Limited, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered office: 33 Holborn, London, EC1N 2HT. Registered in England and Wales No. 03942880. Issued: January 2018.