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      The Accelerators of World-Changing Ideas

      Five part Q&A with Miles Kirby, CEO of DeepTech Labs

      17 Feb 2022 Miles Kirby, CEO of DeepTech Labs

      1. What is the purpose of accelerators within the Arc, and what is DeepTech trying to achieve?

      Having worked for Qualcomm in California for 18 years and ran an accelerator and incubator in the US and venture capital groups in the Europe., I’ve come across a huge variety of talented academics, engineers and entrepreneurs who have ground-breaking ideas. For those experiencing a ‘lightbulb’ moment, it’s relatively easy to obtain seed funding from angel investors. The challenge lies in developing a deep tech idea; what is essentially an original thought, into a commercially viable business.   

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      2. In your experience, what are the key needs and constraints for start-ups and spinouts? 

      Money has historically been a key constraint, though there’s a lot of different sources surfacing. On reflection, a lot of what is necessary is guidance and help, and advice to build the right team. If you happen to be a first-time entrepreneur, great academic or engineer, you must be able to bring commercial and operations experience into the company, something DeepTech Labs and other accelerators help to facilitate. We like to describe this ecosystem as a virtuous circle, or flywheel, where successful entrepreneurs who have exited the system can return to give their expertise to new start-ups.

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      3. What do you think the benefits are for a new start-up or spinout in partnering with an accelerator like DeepTech? 

      Some start-ups have occasionally described themselves as ‘too busy’ to participate in accelerators, but the accelerator model helps to streamline business operations and make things quicker and more efficient. Companies can benefit from a much larger community and a diversity of thinking from across research, commercial and operations sectors to really energise and expedite the process.  

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      4. What makes the Oxford-Cambridge Arc attractive as a place for accelerators to operate? 

      One of the unique advantages of the Oxford-Cambridge Arc is its critical mass as a pre-existing ecosystem for knowledge capital. We have a highly skilled workforce with great human capital metrics already in place to meet the needs of growing start-ups and new businesses.   

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      5. What do you see as the future of investment and mentorship in the Arc? 

      I think the ecosystem is growing, the flywheel is accelerating, and the momentum building. Deep tech is ever expanding, and investment can result in world-changing outcomes. DeepTech Labs focuses on brand-new technology ideas that are highly patentable, and we’re picking out all kinds of fascinating ideas from the wellspring of entrepreneurs within the Arc: from a company building next generation processors, companies doing machine learning for object recognition, and one looking at fruit harvesting using drones and assessing yields in agriculture. These ideas have the potential to completely transform our everyday lives and help us to meet climate and social goals with the right mentorship in place.  

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