Ada Ventures’ Investment in R.grid

Matt Penneycard
Nov 10, 2020 · 3 min read
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Dr. Amber Hill

We’re proud and excited to have led the seed round for R.grid and to be supporting the amazing Dr. Amber Hill in her highflying healthtech startup .

R.grid has built machine learning based software for medical research. Projects in this sector are complex, highly regulated exercises that involve many stakeholders, long periods of time and billions of pounds/dollars/euros of inefficiently allocated capital. Much of the process coordination that underpins this work is manual and paper-based. R.grid’s machine learning and intelligent UI technology streamlines and automates this work. Massive time and cost savings are possible for R.grid’s customers as a result.

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Amber’s desk when she worked in this field, which illustrates the problem she’s now solving with software!

What was the process that led to investment?

Amber graduated EF12 in London in September 2019. Since then she has built a world class team at R.grid, and a customer-ready SaaS product. Ada Ventures led the £1.2M seed round in March 2020, with participation from some great angels and our friends at Ascension Ventures and ImpactX Capital.

Why does R.grid fit the Ada Thesis and what got us excited?

  1. An exceptional founder talent. Amber is everything you can expect from EF — an exceptional mind and bags of raw, entrepreneurial talent. But beyond that, she has remarkable founder-market fit. As a medical research expert working in the NHS, Amber lived first-hand the issues that R.grid now resolves. She is among the most mission-driven founders Check and I have ever worked with.
  2. A huge vertical market with limited competition, in one of our core sectors. The Medical Research market is worth c.£180Bn annually, consisting of Medical Research Institutions (“MRIs”), regulators and large pharmas. Our DD showed us that so much of this work is being done using too many humans and with low software or automation penetration. So, Large market + disruption potential = opportunity.
  3. Market timing is attractive in Healthcare. For many years the Healthcare sector has been a hard industry to penetrate from an enterprise sales perspective. This is principally because the large, sometimes unitary (such as the NHS) organisations that dominate much of the sector purchasing have not had appetite to buy services from smaller or startup businesses due to the perceived risk. We believe that this has now changed. If this thesis is correct, early-stage, highly innovative technology companies such as R.grid will at last be able to meaningfully impact the huge healthcare challenges faced by most global populations.
  4. R.grid’s technology can improve the lives of millions. Medical and clinical research underlies new drug development and medical techniques and equipment get to market. So any savings in time and money in this essential part of the process is going to help get better healthcare to more people, which gets our vote every time.
  5. Customers love the product. When we spoke to R.grid’s early customers, they unanimously loved the early version of the software and were genuinely excited about the potential for big efficiency gains in their processes. Early customer love is a super helpful indicator for us.

Looking Forward

R.grid is one to watch. Obviously COVID-19 has the healthcare and medical research sectors even more under the spotlight than they already were, and R.grid’s technology is going to get to scale more quickly as a result. However, it’s really the next 3–5 years that we’re excited about for Amber and her team. R.grid is on a mission to radically increase efficiencies in clinical and medical research projects and we think that’s not only a great thing for humanity but also a very valuable business in the making.

Ada Ventures

Bold investment for overlooked founders & markets.

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