Quester adds to seed mandates

The venture capitalist is to manage £8m of new funds on behalf of UK universities as part of the UCSF initiative.

Quester, the UK venture capital fund manager, has won two mandates to manage £8m of funds on behalf of British universities as part of the UK University Challenge Seed Fund (UCSF) initiative.

The first fund is the £4m Lachesis fund, which Quester will run for a group of East Midlands universities including Loughborough, Leicester, Nottingham, de Montfort and Nottingham Trent. The fund will work to commercialise emerging technologies.

The second mandate is to manage £4m for the Sulis Seedcorn fund, on behalf of the universities of Bath, Bristol, and Southampton.

The appointments take the total of university-related venture funds managed by Quester to £24m. The other funds include £5m of the original Sulis fund and the ISIS College fund, which invests in companies spun out of Oxford University.

UCSFs are a Government initiative designed to help develop academic research into commercial ventures. Between them, the Treasury, the Wellcome Trust and the Gatsby Foundation have provided £75m funding for UCSFs since the scheme was launched nearly two years ago.

Quester expects half of the Lachesis fund will be invested in pharmaceutical research and healthcare and medical technologies. Engineering and materials will also be examined.

The firm, founded in 1984, now has around £250m under management. In December 2001, it began fundraising for its fifth venture capital trust (VCT). Quester has been running VCTs since 1996. For the first four, which are listed on the London Stock Exchange, over £180m has been raised.