It is easy to be an optimist, when one is a venture capitalist. Even during a global pandemic. We believe that our entrepreneurs can tackle some of the greatest challenges of the day…as well as develop solutions for those of tomorrow.
“The loss of biodiversity is a silent killer. It’s different from climate change, where people feel the impact in everyday life. With biodiversity it is not so clear, but by the time you feel what is happening, it may be too late,” so said the Executive Secretary of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity at the end of 2018.
As venture capitalists, we peer out over the horizon. We look for innovation to solve today’s challenges and we try to foresee tomorrow’s needs. Sometimes, we find a company that does both.
Take Cambridge-based Eagle Genomics. It provides a software platform to help large companies understand the massive amount of research done on the microbiome – the diverse ecosystem of micro-organisms on which we depend to live.
As a sustainable investor, we are excited by Eagle. A healthy microbiome is needed to support every living thing – in the soil, in food, in plants, in animals … in us. To ensure both bio-diversity and the ongoing vitality of species, we thought it critically important to understand better the role that these organisms play.
The microbiome also plays a key role in defending against disease.
The sweeping use of anti-bacterial products, pesticides and antibiotics in the last century has caused widespread microbial imbalance and impairment. It is widely believed that this has led to a host of ailments we face today. These include immune disorders, mental health problems and antibiotic resistance. Eagle Genomics’ knowledge platform enables corporations to share their R&D digitally, giving far faster, more accurate insight with which to transform product decision-making. Not just ensuring that products do no harm, but potentially do good.
Fast forward to today. We are living, largely unprepared, through a predicted pandemic.
It turns out that Eagle’s software platform might now be needed even more than we thought. Eagle’s vision – of leading in the digital reinvention of R&D – looks likely to be accelerated by the current crisis. Their platform has the potential to help collect, analyse and share coronavirus data – across organizations, and even national boundaries.
Our mission is to help achieve sustainability though innovation. Sometimes the link between the two is not immediately obvious until you look closer – and Eagle Genomics is a good example. Eagle can have a hugely positive impact on our world, and it is our ambition to help them soar.
Always looking for the positive in what we can do. 25 years in venture capital working across 3 continents has given him a few stories to share. He is a Managing Partner of ETF Partners, and he represents the firm on the Boards of Eagle Genomics, Flyability, Corporater, Traveltime Technologies and DeepSea Technologies.