Young, inexperienced, distracting…...and a brilliant asset.

It’s intern season - specifically for the younger interns or work experience placements who are looking to get ahead over the summer break of their final school years.

In truth, few employees relish the idea of a novice, temporary colleague to take under their wing. We’ve had two young interns at RCP this summer, and naturally that comes with certain challenges. But when I read this one sided article recently, it seemed that the subject of interns needed rebalancing.

Crucially, interns are - by and large - not fully formed adults. That is the point. They are new to the work environment, and they need to learn how to ‘be’ in it. If they happen to arrive already mature and grounded then they are well positioned to get along in the placement immediately, and that is extremely fortuitous for everyone. But people are made, not born, so if they are less well positioned for the new world they find themselves in, their lack of preparation does not fall solely on their shoulders. Why not make up for the shortfall with patience, and play a part in their next internship or permanent employer being impressed with them from the off?

The article references the kind of bad behaviour (playing video games; excessive flirting) that whilst unacceptable, is not the norm. Nobody would want this behaviour in their office but at RCP we’ve never experienced anything close.

What interns ‘take’ - time, effort, patience - they repay in surprising ways. The interns that have come through RCP added a truly fresh set of eyes to processes that may have unknowingly become tired or obsolete, and their youth (and demographic-specific approaches) provide necessary insights that companies should note. And let’s not forget the power of pedagogy for clarifying things in the mind of the teacher.

If a company finds that its interns consistently disappoint, then it’s likely the hiring strategy and management that is falling short. After all, if these new placements are seen as cumbersome they’re hardly going to give their best. See them as an opportunity and they might just become one.

RCP offers a summer internship, if you would like to take part in next year’s placement, please send your CV to

Alicia Huertas


Culture, with a small ‘c’, is ‘the way we do things round here’.

The company culture of a prospective investment is an unseen part of our due diligence.

Arguably it is one of the most important aspects when evaluating a company. Many companies try and capture the idealised version of their company culture in a document to show stakeholders.

This is helpful but may be the polar opposite to ‘the way things are done’.

There is an old adage that culture is driven from the top. In our experience it is true that the behaviour of CEOs and their management teams are likely to be mirrored and/or used as a basis for decision making and actions by their colleagues.

Over the longer term, culture plays a crucial role in attracting and retaining talent. It is also pinpointed as a key factor as to why 75% of mergers and acquisitions fail to deliver value, two cultures clash and any benefits that were envisioned evaporate, as people struggle to work together in a productive way.

There are no hard and fast rules when assessing culture, what works well in one company may be disastrous in another. But whilst a ‘negative’ culture (be it excessive competition, poor communication, or outright bullying) has not been a barrier to success for some companies, it is a barrier to lasting success. Decreased motivation and increased employee turnover are the results of a negative corporate environment and even where an organisation weathers such trials, the ride would have been considerably smoother had good company culture been considered a foundational aspect of the business. As an investor, we look to back organisations who know themselves; that includes the awareness of what will make their business path more efficient and less complicated. As such, culture counts.

RCP is a family office in London.  We invest in a wide variety of sectors, across diverse stages of development.  Get in touch to discuss what you’re building.

Alicia Huertas


When starting a business, many if not most founders are aware of the importance of their story - where they came from, how the idea formed, the charming or synchronicitous nature of their company’s provenance. These details are important, they engage the listener and add to the character of the company, but that is not enough to get investment.

The narrative is the full arc of the story, and it is a mistake to conceive of it only as merely what led you to this point. The narrative should start at the beginning and reach through the present to the future, featuring all notable steps along the way:

How you identified the business problem - why does it matter - how will you solve it - a vision of the changed landscape after.

A narrative is an account of connected events, so make sure there is connection and flow.

As with any good story, the points should always be relevant, so leave out the extraneous. Predictability is a problem; would you want to watch a film where you knew exactly what was coming? How often do you think your potential investor reads the same 3 year forecast? Keep this in mind when putting together the deck, and you’ll achieve a freshness in your pitch that others lack.

Similarly, would you be drawn in by a book where things only go right? No perfect plotline was ever worth reading. If you’ve faced adversity, say so. If you’ve overcome challenges in your business journey to date, and still made it into the pitching room, that counts for something. Outline how you addressed them. This provides a three dimensional quality to you as leaders, and will engage your audience at a deeper level.  

RCP is a family office in London.  We invest in a wide variety of sectors, across diverse stages of development.  Get in touch to discuss what you’re building.  

Alicia Huertas

Is there a right way to pick successful start-ups?

Depending on who you talk to in the venture capital world, investment decisions are either an art or science. This post will explain an aspect of that debate - Scouting vs Scoring.

How do we define these terms?  Scouting is the traditional way of judging founders and companies - face to face pitch meetings and discussions with people around a start-up and industry.  Scoring is an analytical methodology - compiling data about the start-up, its industry, etc and distilling that down to a decision.

Generally, VCs use scouting for earlier stage investments, where company data, industry data and comparables are tough to come by.  Here’s a post that is a good rearview mirror reflection on an investment decision from 5 years earlier, that illustrates that gut decision.  Scoring is seen more in later stage investing - where data is more readily available. Having said that, several VCs are now applying AI to the evaluation of seed stage investing.  

Why is this debate important?  Because when you’re a founder, you need to understand how family offices and VCs will evaluate you.  Your business idea may be great, but people will judge the future success of that idea through their lens of understanding.  

It’s also important for decision-makers at family offices and VCs to understand their own methodology and biases.  Almost all decision-makers need some confirmation - whether it comes from other investors in that round or their AI output.

RCP tend towards a scouting methodology. That means we put a great deal of emphasis on founders and how they articulate their pitch.  And then we talk to people like advisors and other VCs around the start-up, to get a multi-dimensional picture of the founding team. When a start-up is conducting a fundraise, they should ensure they can articulate the problem, solution and roadmap clearly.

What are the key points to take away from this?

  • To answer the question at the top, there is no right way to select successful start-ups.

  • The person making capital allocation decisions needs to find their own best methodology.

  • As a founder, you need to plan for how you will be evaluated and act accordingly.  

RCP is a family office in London.  We invest in a wide variety of sectors, across diverse stages of development. Get in touch to discuss what you’re building.

Alicia Huertas

At RCP we receive countless emails with powerpoints (decks) from companies pitching for money.

Dealflow is not an issue for investors, but there is only so much of the day that can be dedicated to reviewing new opportunities.

Therefore, a deck that is clear, focused and concise is more likely to get attention.

Each investor will have their own criteria.  Here’s the information that we look for at RCP:

  • What problem(s) you're solving; why does your company exist, what is the pain point you’re getting paid to solve?

  • Achievements to date; we're unlikely to be your first investor, we like to know what value you've created to date.

  • Roadmap; where is your company going, do you have a clear vision for the future and what success looks like?

  • Use of funds for this finance raise; linking to roadmap, what resources do you need to make it happen?

  • Headline financials; both historic and forecast, ideally 3 years ahead.

  • Brief bios on your team.

A good deck is a foot in the door to a meeting, which is a critical part of our investment evaluation.

If you would like to apply for investment, please get in touch via the website, phone or LinkedIn. We look forward to hearing from you.

Alicia Huertas

RCP is excited to announce its investment in Azadyne - a spin-out from Trinity College Dublin, based on research into Queuine, a micronutrient.  RCP partnered with the Kent Life Sciences Fund to take a meaningful stake in this very early stage IP-based bio-tech company.

Dr Jason Rutt, the CEO of Azadyne remarked, “Our approach to autoimmune disease has the capacity to provide treatment to a number of diseases with no cure, including MS. “

“This is a prime opportunity to shepherd emerging research out into the world and make a significant impact,” said Adam Park, COO of RCP.

The Kent Life Sciences Fund, represented by Jonathan Synett, CIO added: “Azadyne’s approach to auto-immune disease is unique, and has the potential to be a game changer, in a huge area of unmet need.”

The Opportunity

There are over 30 specific autoimmune diseases with no known cure, that affect around 10% of the world’s population.  Current therapies focus on symptom management, but are often poorly tolerated. An agent which has utility for treating many autoimmune diseases represents a significant commercial opportunity.

Rapidly proliferating cells such as the excessive number of T-cells found in autoimmune disease have been found to be queuine deficient. The research work at TCD by the three Founders has developed a synthetic queuine which potentially dampens down an autoimmune responses. The initial focus has 5 targets: MS, RA, IBS, Ps neurodegenerative issues.

The roadmap for Azadyne is long - it will take several years before the full benefits of this research are felt in medical outcomes - but RCP and the Kent Life Sciences Fund are committed to supporting this important work.

Alicia Huertas

This post reflects on a busy and successful year for RCP, as it reached its ten year anniversary.

Over the last decade RCP has invested millions of pounds into early stage companies.

Venture Capital:

RCP made a number of new and follow-on investments in 2018, including:

Oxford Biotherapeutics - committed to the discovery and development of novel therapies for various cancer types.

Appy Parking - a software that shows on-street and off-street parking options in major cities in the UK.

Micrima - developing technology for breast cancer screening that is painless and side-effect free.

AMTE - bringing new energy storage solutions to UK manufacturing.

Centauri - focused on the discovery and development of novel molecules targeting life threatening diseases.

RCP also made two exits at a premium in 2018, FCFM and Two Chicks.

Going forward, RCP will continue to focus on innovative businesses that are looking for funding to support their growth.

We expect to announce some exciting new investments in early 2019.

Real Estate

RCP started work on two new projects in 2018, the Penthouse and Commercial unit at Randall Court.

RCP are actively searching for the next development project in London and the surrounding counties, with a focus on creating premium quality homes.

Renaissance Capital Partners Ltd. is a private company established in 2008 to invest funds in high-growth, innovative and entrepreneurial businesses. It now has a diverse investment portfolio across various industries including Health, Fund Management, Clean Tech, Media and Real Estate Development.

Alicia Huertas

The rationale behind an investment pass

RCP is in the venture capital business, which means that several of the investments we make don't follow the plan we share with the Founder.  Sometimes they outright fail, sometimes they pivot into a new direction, but many times they just don't hit an inflection growth point.

In the past, we’ve written about why we’ve made an investment or how we want to see the business grow.

Today, I want to write about a follow-on investment that we passed on.  We will keep it anonymous and straightforward.

To set the context:  A company we invested in a few years back, was now raising more funding to extend their runway to profitability.  The business thesis hadn’t changed over the intervening years, and the company hadn’t developed the traction within its market.  So, we began to evaluate this follow-on funding opportunity.

Because of our earlier investment, we understood the technology and management team.  We met with CEO and Chair, looking to understand what lessons they had learned over the last few years, how the marketplace had changed, and what their plans were going forward.

And then we declined to follow our original investment in the follow-on round.  

Why?  Two reasons:

First, the CEO and Chair didn’t convince us that their technology was on the edge of widespread adoption.  In our view, the marketplace was making a judgement about their technology relative to the competing technologies, and deciding the competitors held better technology.  Generally, it’s better to trust the marketplace over your own view of tech adoption in a situation like this.

Second, and more importantly, we have competing uses for our capital.  When we evaluate investments, we need to compare alternative uses for those funds.  Should we put funds into a new start-up, back an existing investment or keep our powder dry for a sunny day?

In this instance, the drawbacks outweigh the positives.  We kept the powder dry for a future investment.

Alicia Huertas


At RCP, we get involved with and monitor our portfolio companies at various levels.  For some we hold Investor Director Board seats; for others, we just get irregular, informal updates.  For others, we've found ourselves intimately involved in operational management when the situation calls for it.  

In this post, I wanted to give a taste of what we expect and aim for when it comes to reporting on and valuing our portfolio.

Our relationship with Founders begins just after the initial investment.  We try to meet regularly and get trackable information, so we can follow the trajectory of the business.  Ideally, we come away with concrete, objective data that we can use to create some value markers.  The question we want to answer:  Is it growing in some form- revenue, net profit, customers, etc- and tracking to its projections.   A solid measure is ever increasing valuations at fundraising points.  

We maintain a Portfolio Tracker so that we can monitor, reflect and project these data points.  This gives us some level of comparison over time and a method to value our entire portfolio, albeit imperfectly.  

There are some added benefits to this reporting.  We can prepare for risks, cash calls, exits and get more involved operationally to help the business.

What are some of the issues to overcome:

  • Irregular data- as startups, some companies are constantly refining their management information presentation.
  • Inconsistent access over time- With one company, we held observer rights for Board meetings, then when a large VCs came in, we gave up our position (quite rightly), and we now have a less complete view.
  • Valuation objectivity- It's possible to use revenue and net income numbers for valuation, but may not give a true market picture.  And even the last fund raise valuation may be misleading because it may be dated or over-inflated.

The nature of the beast in early VC investing is constantly changing management information.  Hopefully, that is down to growth; sometimes it's not.  We just want to make sure we're keeping an open line of communication and getting some sense of value inflection points.  

Alicia Huertas


A key focus for RCP is on making the world a better place through emerging biotechnology.  We want to fund start-ups who are developing key technology in the fight against cancer and other debilitating diseases.

Over the last few years, we’ve backed the strong management teams fighting big problems.  Here is a sample:

TC BioPharm is currently developing the closest to market drug candidate in Gamma Delta T cell therapies. These cells are naturally-occurring within the human body, inducing one of the first lines of defense against infectious disease.  Their work focuses on priming these cells to attack and destroy pathogens within the body.  Why is this important? Because TCBio is harnessing the body’s own immune system to fight cancer.

Centauri Therapeutics is developing new ways to treat bacterial infections.  Many infections nowadays are resistant to existing antibiotics. Centauri is bringing to market new ways for the immune system to find and destroy bacteria and cancers.  Why is this important?  Bacterial infections are responsible for the deaths of 700,000 people worldwide a year.

Micrima has developed the MARIA breast cancer screening system. This imaging system uses harmless radio-waves to detect breast cancer, unlike mammography that uses ionising radiation.  The process gives a clearer picture and is less invasive than the current methodology.  Why is this important?  Because it helps doctors find and treat tumors more quickly by reducing the false positives in current screening. 

And we've been looking at other companies doing things like-

·       Developing 3D printing for orthodontics.

·       Dendritic cell therapies for tumor reduction.

·       Technologies that reactivate the immune system to fight cancer. 

So, if you’re developing new technologies in this space, get in touch.  We want to support emerging biotech efforts to make the world a better place. 

Alicia Huertas