Sustainable investment specialist Milltrust International (Milltrust) launched a new fund and a dedicated venture investment platform that will zero in on high-impact, early-stage companies with links to U.K. institutions, universities and non-governmental organizations focused on science and innovation.
British Innovation Fund II (BIF II) will follow in its predecessor’s footsteps, with an even keener eye on supporting promising startups holding leading-edge intellectual property with disruptive potential. Milltrust has identified global food systems and health as key national and international priorities in the post-pandemic era, and the new fund will pay close attention to these sectors.
BIF II is already investing across three thematic verticals: Green Earth, Smart Proteins and Future Health. The undisclosed investments are providing timely capital and high value-add support to early-stage U.K. companies in the medical and diagnostic technologies, recycling and waste management, animal welfare and sustainable food production sectors.
Over the past few months, Milltrust has brought together a team of investment managers and advisors to steer the new Milltrust Ventures platform. “The creation of Milltrust Ventures represents a significant step forward in our strategy to foster Sustainable Prosperity across the globe, recognizing the outsized positive impact that rapidly-growing, IP-rich companies can have and the unique alpha they can provide to investors,” said Milltrust CEO Simon Hopkins.
Dr. Bernard Ng, a medical and clinical affairs leader and former chief medical officer at Bayer’s consumer division, joined Milltrust Ventures as chief scientific officer. Harry Paul joined as venture partner, bringing 30 years of experience in both medical tech and agri-investment, including senior roles at Boston Scientific and Roche, as well as a role in Milltrust’s farmland investments, which were sold to LPPI in 2022. Meanwhile, Hadyn Craig, an agriculture and food-systems specialist whose background includes serving as CEO of Capital Agri International, and as a senior consultant at AbacusBio Limited, was named to the Milltrust Ventures board.
Milltrust, co-headquartered in London and Singapore, uses “Sustainable Prosperity” as its mantra and has completed a total of 69 investments. The firm launched British Innovation Fund I (BIF I) in October 2016 with backing from a major U.K. Local Authority Pension Fund as well and several international institutional investors and sovereign wealth funds. Notable investments by the fund included Vaccitech, a platform licensed from Oxford University’s Jenner Institute for vaccine research, which was valued at $68 million at the time of Milltrust’s first investment and grew its valuation by 8.6 times at peak shortly after its April 2021 listing on NASDAQ.
BIF I was advised by an investment committee comprising members of the Milltrust International team, led by Griff Williams, CIO and co-founder of Milltrust Agricultural Investments (MAI), along with investment professionals from Future Planet Capital (FPC), a London-based investment firm focused on the new economy. In November 2021, Milltrust International sold MAI to FPC for an undisclosed value. Milltrust claimed $600 in AUM at the time.
“The successful exit from BIF I has enabled us to reinvest at an advantageous time, with valuation metrics far more appealing for investors today, and our connections with Asia and the continent set to open up new markets for our investee companies,” said Alexander Kalis, Milltrust managing partner and senior portfolio manager of BIF II.