Using ‘Venture Science’ for faster, deeper R&D

Unlocking founder superpowers in research commercialisation

A combination of venturing and science

Image from NASA showing Earth from the moon.
  • Double food supply while using fewer planetary resources;
  • Undo climate change by sequestering carbon in the ground, in buildings, in food, in the ocean;
  • Offer the highest quality healthcare to everyone on the planet at the lowest possible cost;
  • Stop making plastic waste. Not. One. More. Gram.


  • An urgent need
  • 4 founders with advantage
  • $ enough

Step 1: Begin with a Need. Don’t lean into the risk until you are excited about the better world possible when you are done

Step 2: Design a Founder Team. Founders not Partners

  • We hold ourselves accountable.
  • We know we can’t do it alone and hold our co-founders accountable
  • Power is personal not positional. If we disagree we say so regardless of our position. Founders take a position on what is possible and then make it real.
  • We go fast. We’re impatient if someone is unnecessarily slow. If the plan is too slow, we find a new plan.
  • Our aspirations cannot be contained. Sure, we have OKRs or KPIs but we abandon them if they contain us.
  • We are fuelled by impact more than $. Our main currency is ‘emotional labour’. It scales more than $ and job descriptions.
  • Founders push so pull is not needed.
  • All founders must share a belief that we can solve the problem with this company.
  • $/equity blend is a contextual and reflects risk taken and advantage delivered.
  • Executive Founders need to be paid a salary which will vary depending on their context. Often we will be bringing in someone experienced from industry and the ‘ramen salaries’ of startup cliches won’t wash. They have material equity in the company that vests over 4 years. This founder did not toil for years alone to get the business to this point and starts on day 1 with capital and advantage.
  • Industry Founders can’t convince their boards to fund a high-risk, unproven new company at the start but they are motivated to help the company come to life and deliver the evidence that can convince. We give material equity to an Industry Founder that vests over 4 years. They are paid no $. The Industry Founder should have no exclusivity as this will limit the scale of the new company from day 1. Advantage comes from being an owner and from getting it first.
  • Research Founders need to be properly funded. There are different expectations around equity but being paid is a constant if the science stream is going to operate sustainably. We often have a 10 year intention when we begin.

Step 3: Design Escape Velocity

What’s next?



Useful thoughts from the front line of big science and venture.

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Phil Morle

Deep tech VC — Main Sequence Ventures. Ecosystem builder. Maker. Director. Startup Scientist.