Size and horizon: $50 M, $10M +; 12 years
Focus: Neuroscience, New Energy, Quantum, Advanced Materials
Maturity/stage: Pre-seed, Seed
Ticket size: $250K-$1,5M
Potential lead: Yes and following standard market terms
Follow on: Yes
Previous Investments: undisclosed (tba late 2022)
How would you describe your VC and your investment thesis/guiding principles in one sentence?
rpv is a scientifically intensive venture fund: we connect scientists, entrepreneurs, and capital to create and support Deep Tech companies.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and the main partners/experts in the team?
We are 3 founders and 10+ venture partners and advisors distributed across the globe: from Sydney to Seattle.
I’m Arkady Kulik and I am responsible for attracting entrepreneurs, sourcing pipeline, building new ventures, and operational management at rpv. I have over 15 years of experience in the IT sector as a C-level executive in VK.com, Luxoft, and others. I have a master’s degree in physics and an MBA from INSEAD.
Dr. Tamaz Khundzhua is a professor at the University of Georgia and is a representative of that university at CERN. He has a Ph.D. in theoretical physics and has published more than 20 articles on various topics in physics. Tamaz’s scientific work is devoted to high-energy physics and condensed matter. At rpv Dr. Khundzhua is responsible for sourcing and attracting scientists, technological and scientific verification, and identification of new technological trends.
I can also present some of our key advisors and venture partners:
Richard Silberstein – a Neuro-Insight founder with over 35 years of cognitive neuroscience research experience; an inventor of the Steady State Topography (SST) methodology.
Sami Kizilbash – the global head of the Google Accelerators and Experts with over 17 years of experience in product management, tech, and entrepreneurship; an active startup mentor and angel investor.
Paul Kewene-Hite – a 500 Startups Mentor, one of the most famous INSEAD professors and the creator of INSEAD’s Startup Bootcamp with over 10 years of experience as a C-level executive in tech companies.
Why do you think now is the right moment to launch this fund?
Several scientific areas are at the tipping point now. Namely: Neuroscience, Quantum, Advanced Materials and New Energy will see a rapid change in the technological approach in the next 5-10 years. Such scientific breakthroughs will lead to the emergence of novel technologies and products built on them. Every time similar revolutions happened in the past they happened in bursts and created new leaders across multiple industries. We see indications of the new revolutioneverywhere: from advanced neuromodulation to photonic CPUs, from biological computing to individual atom printing,
Do you lead investments and do you have any typical deal terms?
Our advantage: we are a fund co-founded and led by a scientist, an entrepreneur and a banker. rpv’s partners and advisors are world-known physicists and neuroscientists. Our immediate scientific network includes more than 250+ experts that provide deep due diligence and can identify the strong science.
The scientific side of things is strongly supplemented by the business expertise. Our team includes seasoned c-level executives, entrepreneurs, consultants and professors of the top business schools on the planet.
Besides the money we provide scientific expertise to the entrepreneurs and business expertise to the scientists. We help both worlds cross the inherent gap between them and collaborate on building new products.
What is your unfair advantage? What do you bring besides money?
I think there are a few things that set us apart. First is that, because we are both technically inclined and love to go deep on science, we are able to invest earlier than many other funds in this space. We are willing to really understand the scientific risk and how that might play out with market dynamics. We’ve also been working with scientific founders to build companies for a long time and have a good sense for what it takes to go from the lab to Series A. Finally, we’ve worked hard to build a really deep network of investors and advisors across Europe, the US and Asia that we can work with to build long-term success for our portfolio.
What do you look for in entrepreneurs?
Entrepreneurs come in many shapes and colors. We favor an introverted scientist with a unique know-how as much as an extraverted entrepreneur leading with passion. Every founder will have their unique skill set that can be a good or a bad fit for building a specific company. Two things are very common between all of them: unwavering resilience and clear vision.
We are convinced to invest in a startup when all the major areas are remarkable: science and product, team and strategy, financing terms and deal structure.
Can you give a few examples of startups you previously invested in and why?
We have invested in several stealth companies in Neuroscience and New Energy. We will be disclosing our portfolio later in 2022.
What is the best way for founders to approach you and what will convince you to have a first meeting?
We are easy to talk to – just reach out at email@example.com with any introductory material about you and your company.
If you have a scientifically intensive venture – we will have a meeting for sure.
What is the most important advice you would give deep tech founders?
1) Focus on science and fundamental breakthroughs.
2)Expand your network of partners, advisors, employees, and friends. The larger and deeper that network is – the more chances to succeed you have.
3)Stay resilient and focus on why you are building your company.
Who are your LPs and how did you convince them to invest their money in deep tech?
High net worth individuals around the globe that share our vision and values. We find people who are excited about the positive role of science in the development of civilization and humanity.
What do you think will be the next big thing in deep tech?
Convergence of three and more scientific areas to create products that seemed unbelievable. I believe it will happen between these areas: Neuroscience, Genetics, New Energy and Additive Manufacturing.
What current trend are you seeing in the deep tech investment landscape?
June 2022 is a time of very high turbulence across major financial markets. I believe that old trends are no longer relevant, and the new ones are still shaping up. Deep Tech in general is an area that will always find funding, especially given its strong fundamentals, longer planning cycles and low correlation with the capital markets. However, some of the subsectors (especially overheated ones) will see a rapid downturn in available funding and valuations.
Head to rpv Global website for more info.