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Year in review

Start Codon – a look back at 2023

Start Codon Discovers, Nurtures and Advances next-generation healthcare and life science companies, and 2023 has seen them demonstrate a continued commitment to this mission.

Start Codon is described as ‘a venture-building fund with a difference’. Co-Founder and CEO, Jason Mellad, explained: “We don’t just invest in our portfolio companies, we become invested; in the people, their ideas and in working together to help them achieve their ambitions.” Daniel Rooke, Co-Founder and COO, continued: “by sharing our expertise, networks, and through our bespoke venture-building START Programme, we aim to build successful, data-driven ‘TechBio’ ventures with the potential to address unmet needs and positively impact lives.”

This year has seen strong performance from across the Start Codon portfolio – which at the end of 2023 comprises 28 investments in aggregate, made across 25 companies (since Jan 2020).

Latest figures show Start Codon has reviewed over 1,500 opportunities (since Jan 2020), with portfolio companies raising more than £6.2m of non-dilutive funding and in excess of £53.3m of aggregate funding, since Jan 2020.

Some of the Start Codon portfolio companies have also made it into the news and won awards this year. Enhanc3d Genomics continues to grow, gaining further recent recognition as a winner in the Science Start-ups Falling Walls Foundation #GlobalCall23. And Semarion also hit the news, with the announcement of their early-adopter programme for SemaCyte Microcarrier Platform to Accelerate Cell Assays. Companies who’ve joined the portfolio more recently are also garnering recognition, with both Erebagen and StemBond Technologies highlighted as ones to watch, by Sifted.EU and Startus Insights respectively.

But that’s not all the Start Codon team has been up to in 2023. The team demonstrates a real commitment to justice, equality, diversity and inclusion – with them continuing to create new opportunities in the life sciences space.

They have turned words into action with the launch of a new Diverse Directors Programme (DDP) led by Start Codon Talent Director, Emma Plowman, and her DDP Co-Founder, Emma Thorp. The programme aims to help increase diversity in life science boardrooms by reducing barriers and building capability and confidence of already talented individuals who are looking to take the step into a Director/NED role. Emma Plowman, said of the programme: “Research shows having diverse people and ways of thinking in boardrooms leads to better decision making and outcomes. We wanted to do something proactive to help bring more, talented individuals into board leadership roles – and we’re really impressed with the calibre of our first cohort!”

Opportunities for younger generations have continued to be offered, through the Start Codon venture programme, internships and work experience. In the summer, with support from the wider Cambridge ecosystem, the team also ran a hugely successful Valuation Lab Summer School with the University of Minnesota, which saw US and UK students working with portfolio companies on market assessments. While, in the background, Mellad was appointed to the Cambridge Science Centre Board in the summer, and in November he was announced as Co-Chair of the Cambridge Ahead Young Advisory Committee.

With new companies continuing to join the Start Codon portfolio and existing companies continuing to flourish, the team has seen a successful 2023 set them up for a strong start to 2024.

Want to work with Start Codon in 2024? Get in touch via our website: