In addition to our direct investment into early-stage businesses, Howard Group has an established network of co-investors and providers of later stage capital, whom we know and trust and who provide a wealth of additional experience. Our Capital Ventures team invests in several venture capital (VC) funds where we feel there is synergy in approach and values.
From seed stage to exit, IQ Capital helps founders tackle the challenges faced in building and scaling a successful company, supported by the diverse perspectives of a team built on thorough knowledge of deep science and technology, as well as marketing, finding product-market-fit, sales, talent, corporate finance and M&A.
Our relationship is one based on a shared long-term vision to make a positive impact on the world through responsible investing in companies that are helping to solve some of society’s most pressing challenges.
Our proximity (IQ Capital is headquartered next to Howard Group in the iconic 95 Regent Street, Cambridge) only enhances our connectivity and many of IQ Capital’s investments have a strong link to innovation originating in Cambridge.
We sat down with Simon Hirtzel, General Partner & COO of IQ Capital, to get his views on the company’s recent deep-tech investments, the Cambridge tech ecosystem, and how the partnership with Howard Group is helping founders build transformative businesses.
Why are IQ Capital’s funds so vital within the context of what is going on in the world today?
The companies which we invest in deploy transformative technologies which solve some of the world’s biggest problems - just a few recent examples being in medical technologies, battery technology, innovative design of biological molecules, energy transmission, efficiency of data management and processing.
IQ Capital has deep experience of helping founders in these sectors build globally transformative businesses - which requires a rare combination of skills and insight from our team and support from sophisticated investors.
Howard Group provides support to us as an investor as we grow and develop our funds, which helps us to increase the range of companies that we support and provides invaluable continuity of financing to the companies which we, in turn, continue to back.
Howard Group also provides support as an advocate in its networks for what we do. This form of support, for example introducing other like-minded investors to us, makes a very valuable contribution to us growing our investment programme.
Simon Hirtzel, General Partner & COO of IQ Capital
We also value the priority that Howard Group puts on the positive social and environmental impacts of doing business, which are a significant feature of the companies and technologies that IQ Capital invests in, as well as of course being focused on the economic returns.
Howard Group’s focus is aligned with our own specialist focus on deep tech, for example in its visionary development of Unity Campus as an innovation district.
It is also important to our positioning, at the centre of a thriving Cambridge-centred ecosystem, that Howard Group plays such a strong role in the city and its surroundings.
Our roots are in the Cambridge ecosystem, which continues to be a leading global centre for creating outperforming deep tech companies, and our role in the ecosystem continues to grow deeper and stronger.
How would you say Howard Group's Centenary Vision aligns with what you are trying to achieve as a business?
Although we are completely independent businesses, Howard Group’s Centenary Vision and our own vision do align in multiple ways and our relationship is strengthened by Howard Group’s focus on the combination of people, places and ideas. It is similarly strengthened by Howard Group’s commitment to positive long-term impact.
IQ Capital has over 25 years’ experience supporting deep tech founders who build their companies from Seed stage to Growth and exit.
As a firm, our goal is continuously to build on our track record of working with companies that are using deep science and technology to solve many of the world’s most significant problems. We believe that investing in such deep tech companies can yield outstanding financial returns for investors in our funds.
What elements of the partnership you have with Howard Group as landlord and investor do you value the most?
As a firm we have several shared perspectives with Howard Group. Both companies are high-quality investors in our respective sectors with deep experience of what it takes to build a successful founder-led early-stage business.
We share a focus on continuity and not looking for artificially short-term returns so that we can make change, have an impact on the world and make a positive contribution to our communities.
In addition, both businesses place equal importance on promoting fairness, good behaviours and excellence within our teams and our interactions with others.
As landlord, Howard Group is very constructive, attentive, always on hand to address any questions. The team is actively supportive - for example introducing us to their IT provider - in both senses mirroring their characteristics as an investor.