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Venture capital impact project

The project is investigating the challenge of financing UK startups and scaleups in physics deep tech. If you’re a venture capital investor, share your views to help the IOP identify the barriers that are holding back investment into physics-powered startups with a view to providing a starting point for addressing them.


From quantum, clean tech and medical robots to semiconductors and metamaterials, physics deep tech is driving major transformations across diverse sectors from agriculture, energy and healthcare to defence, space, transport and manufacturing.

Physics-intensive industries enabling this revolution employ more than 2.7 million full-time equivalent employees nationwide and contribute £229bn gross value added or 11% of national gross domestic product.

But it’s physics-powered startups that are pivotal in taking technology to market, and by unlocking greater levels of private investment into them, we think that there is an opportunity to realise greater benefits for society and the economy.

However, in the IOP’s Paradigm Shift, 40% of physics innovators reported significant cost pressures in the scaleup stages; this is also the phase when it is most difficult to secure funding.

Venture capital (VC) is critical to helping physics-powered startups get to market. As a vital part of our physics landscape, we are inviting investors to join our community and work with us to address the issues startups face.

About the project

Through this impact project we are aiming to develop relationships with VC investors. In doing so, we will better understand:

  • how funds are raised and capital is deployed into physics deep tech and how it differs from other science-related sectors;
  • the barriers and enablers to investing in different sectors and the influence of the sector on overall fund performance; and
  • the opportunities to increase the attractiveness of physics deep tech to UK investors.

The project will investigate potential advocacy positions with recommendations that will provide a starting point for addressing the issues that are holding back investment into physics. These recommendations will be included in a report launched at the end of summer 2024.

Who can get involved?

We are seeking the views of UK VC investors that are already investing in physics deep tech and those that are curious about the opportunities. By contributing to the project, VC firms will:

  • shape advocacy that, for the first time, engages national policymakers and decision-makers in physics deep-tech investment;
  • make their views heard on the issues that are holding back investment into physics deep tech and help build recommendations that will support their investments; and
  • join the IOP network and make connections with high-growth physics-powered startups, expert fellows and other investors to support their investment decisions.

The outputs of the project will be of interest to policymakers and decision-makers, the wider VC community, physics-powered businesses and IOP members.

Share your views

Please take a few minutes to respond to our survey.

If you would like to find out more about the project, please email [email protected].

Find out about other science and innovation impact projects