You could be forgiven for not having had the Royal College of Art in London on your radar, but there’s a wealth of fascinating opportunities here — and Nadia Danhash, executive director of the college’s centre for enterprise, entrepreneurship and IP commercialisation InnovationRCA, tells us all about them.

The RCA’s portfolio spans a vast array of sectors, from climate tech to consumer to medtech to agtech and more, and it’s been investing in its spinouts for the past 12 years. It’s also set up an angel network and is in the process of launching a (first of hopefully many) SEIS fund of up to £5m.

Nadia ponders how commercialisation has become less of a dirty word at the RCA and explains how the fascinating, two-term-long programme AcrossRCA is fostering an entrepreneurial, interdisciplinary culture on campus.

She also discusses how the RCA is increasing diversity and tells us why her magic wand wish is about students coming to IP workshops.


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Please note, the intro and outro have been omitted.

Nadia, welcome to the podcast.
Thank you very much for having me.

I look forward to our conversation. To start with, can you give me an overview of InnovationRCA, perhaps with some headline numbers if you have them?

Yeah, sure. So, InnovationRCA is both an incubator and accelerator of businesses created at the Royal College of Art. Over the past 13 years, we’ve helped build over 80 companies founded by staff or graduates. And those companies cover a range of sectors, so what unifies them is that they are all design-led businesses, but they’re really businesses that combine creativity with technology. So we have medtech companies, agritech companies, cleantech companies, fintech companies. And as you’d expect of an art college, we also have fashion and jewellery and creative brands as well.

The portfolio is worth more than £286m. It’s created more than 800 UK jobs and many more overseas. The companies are solving problems, sometimes really important problems, global problems, but also creating wealth and exports. We’re pretty founder-friendly and we have quite a good diversity in our founders. And for the last five years, around 46% of our founders have been women. So yeah, that’s InnovationRCA.

Amazing. There’s quite a few bits in there that we’ll get back to. But one aspect that I find quite interesting that you launched a few years ago is AngelClubRCA. Can you tell me a little bit about this as well?

Yes. So we back very early stage companies, so almost embryonic when we back them and we go with them on a journey to raising subsequent investment and becoming, as I said, successful businesses. And we realised back in 2015 was that we weren’t putting enough seed funding into these companies and I thought a good way to facilitate more support for our companies was from setting up an angel network. So we did that. We’ve grown the network to have around 100 members.

They are either angel investors or they are… in some cases, we have members who are people who run their own angel networks and so they come to us to look at our deal flow and source companies that they can present to their angel networks as well.

We also have some members who work in venture capital and again, they’re coming to us because what they want to do is find companies very early and get to know the founders and maybe invest a small amount in them so that they have an opportunity to invest later as the business grows.

And we’ve seen a number of deals happen. So we run events for our members, usually twice a year, and deals do happen. The angels bring with them knowledge and experience in many cases and certainly they bring with them funding, which is really valuable to the founders.

The whole angel sort of community in the UK has been strengthened by various government tax incentive schemes that make it attractive to invest in early-stage companies. And so the angels are very motivated as well by maximising their opportunity to gain those incentives as well.

Amazing. I want to stay on money for a moment. You’re also working to launch the Design and Impact SEIS Fund.


Can you tell me a bit more about those plans?

Yes, of course. So this is our next stage of the journey, which we’re hugely excited about. So we’ve partnered with Infinity Asset Management, which is a very experienced and reputable fund manager, to create a fund specifically dedicated to investing in companies founded by staff or graduates of the RCA. And the fund will be targeting £2m to £5m. And the idea is that we will give investors an opportunity to access our exciting deal flow, to be the first investor in companies coming out of the RCA, and at the same time giving the investors an opportunity to benefit from the tax incentives, the S and EIS tax incentives.

The fund will be multi-sector. It will invest in the sorts of companies that we have been investing in for the last 12 years, so building on our investment experience. So many of the businesses will be patent-based, they’ll be combining design with technology. Around 40% of the businesses we’ve backed to date have been impact businesses and I would expect that to be the same with the fund. There’ll be a significant number.

When I say impact, I mean companies looking at tackling problems around climate change and global warming and medtech companies solving problems with health and inclusivity. There’ll be digital companies as well as hardware businesses.

The RCA, we’re investing half a million into the fund. We believe in the fund. We’re raising at the moment. We look to deploy the capital over two years, giving our investors investments in between 15 and 20 companies. So an opportunity for them to, through one investment, access a number of deals and spread the bets of their investment money.

It’s a really exciting departure for us to take this next step. We had this always in our sights, but we wanted first to demonstrate to the world that we could… we were good at finding companies and supporting them and helping them grow. So we’ve helped our companies raise over £125m over the last 10 years from investors. We wanted to show that every pound we put in was a pound well spent, both in terms of impact, but also in terms of multiplying our money. So we’ve had a good return on our investment, both realised and unrealised. We have an investment multiple of 4.7 times invested capital, which is a good number and something that investors will understand.

And then once we’d done that, we said, well, let’s start with an angel network. Let’s build a community of friendly angels who want to support our companies. And then now we’re ready and we’re doing the fund. And I expect this to be the fund in a journey of funds as they will gradually grow. We’ll increase the number of companies that we back and increase the amount of funding that we give them at the early stage to help them thrive and grow more quickly.

Amazing. You’ve said the RCA has already been investing in spinouts. Has that always been the case or at least as long as you’ve been there?

So we started initially, our approach was we could see that staff and graduating students were inventing amazing… were making amazing inventions, but then were unable to protect those inventions with patents because patenting is an expensive process and it requires certain types of skills that you wouldn’t necessarily have and deep knowledge that you wouldn’t necessarily have around writing a good patent.

So we started in the late 1990s before I joined the college with a patenting programme. So we’ll look at projects if we believe in the founder or the inventor and we believe that they have a commercial focus and we believe that they are technically capable of bringing this to market and we believe that there is a big market opportunity for this invention, we will fund a patent.

And then we evolved our programme to eventually have an incubator and when we incubate companies, we do put in cash investment. So we’ve, over the last 12 years, put in £2.2m into these companies that we’ve backed.

Okay. A substantial amount over the course of that decade or so. Are there any challenges associated with being that first investor, as small as the sum might be?

The challenge is that, you know, as a university, we don’t have unlimited amounts of funds, so there’s a limit to how much funding we can put in. And if you’re developing a company that is built on a patentable invention, then there’s already going to be some heavy expenditure coming down the line in protecting that IP.

Add to that, there’s going to be a certain amount of prototyping and testing and buying in skills that you need. So the big challenge is that we don’t necessarily give them enough money initially, because we haven’t got enough money to give to them. And I suppose that’s probably one of the first challenges that exists when you’re backing early-stage ventures, which is why I think now creating the fund is a really exciting thing to do.

But the advantages of being the first investor are also huge. So, by being first investor, a small amount of investment can impact a significant amount of change in the business and therefore increase the value of the business significantly. And of course, as an investor, one always wants to increase the value of their investment. So, you know, it’s a double-edged sword, I guess.

Yeah, very much sounds like it is. Is there any other support? You mentioned an incubator. What kind of support do you offer to your portfolio other than cash?

We help our founders build teams by making introductions, leveraging our network, organising meetup events to help them find co-founders or additional team members. We help them identify the skills that they need to bring onto the team. We help them to build a business strategy and develop it.

We have a large pool of experts who are either people who have built and sold companies or serial investors or people who have significant international corporate experience who come in and help coach and mentor our founders alongside us.

We provide them with office space and access to technical facilities so that the founders can go into workshops and build their prototypes and test those prototypes. And of course, we leverage our network, so we are pretty shameless at making introductions. And as we’ve already discussed, you know, part of that was really building an angel network specifically to help connect them to angel investors and now the fund as well.

So, it’s quite an all encompassing package of support that we give our founders.

I like the putting it as “shameless networking”. I think that’s probably quite an important aspect of building any kind of company. You’ve already mentioned a few sectors, anything from medtech to agtech. What are the opportunities in RCA’s ecosystem?

I think the fact that the businesses are all… that we back are all design led means that there’s a real focus on developing solutions with a user in mind. So with the users needs in mind, and there’s also a strong consideration and strong awareness of the United Nations ESGs. So we do see a lot of ventures looking at various aspects of sustainability and improving recycling or making products recyclable.

So, for example, we have a company that makes printed circuit boards, PCBs that go into all our electronic products and that ultimately currently end up in landfill and are very difficult to recycle. And they’re making a dissolvable version from a plant-based version from flax, so from linen, which makes it a super way to recover the precious metals of the printed circuit board and the natural material just goes back into nature. And so, you know, there are a lot of opportunities with sustainability and the environment.

And then, of course, we’re seeing a lot of medtech and well-being.

So I think what we have nowadays in our founders — who, by the way, our student founders, are average age 27, 28, so they’re not terribly young, but then we also have staff founders as well — is that there’s a real interest in problems that face the world and a real appetite for solving them. They are typically innovation-driven founders, so people who become passionate about solving a problem and they are very interested in problems. So by that very nature, they’re coming up with interesting things and that’s what makes the job interesting, I think.

That makes perfect sense. I’m not sure if we mentioned it, but we should perhaps say for people who don’t know that the RCA only offers postgrad degrees, which I think probably explains the 27, 28 age as well a little bit.

Yes, that’s right.

One aspect of the college that I find quite interesting is that AcrossRCA, where you kind of all come together for a week long initiative and exchange ideas and practices. Does that mean that the university is generally quite strong in entrepreneurial culture?

It is generally very strong in entrepreneurial culture and we’ve seen that grow steadily in the time that I’ve been at the college. But I think the AcrossRCA also highlights another element of the college, which is it’s very, very multidisciplinary and very, very interdisciplinary. So to give you an example, around 30% of our students come to study for a postgraduate degree at the RCA, having studied a different discipline — and it can be science, it can be chemistry, it can be engineering, physics, astrophysics, medicine and a lot of engineers, of course, as well.

So they’re bringing knowledge from a different discipline and then coming to do a degree in design or art. And so they tend to work at the boundaries of these different disciplines. And then on top of that, we have initiatives like AcrossRCA, which started out as a week long thing where we would mix students from different programmes, so maybe a ceramics student with an industrial design student with a vehicle design student working on a project around something completely different. We’ve actually grown that to be two-terms long.

So our students now are put into teams, interdisciplinary teams, and they work on a project for two terms. And it might be a project around sustainability. It might be around social justice. It might be around health, mental health. It can be anything. But again, you’re getting these people bringing knowledge from different disciplines and blending it to come up with solutions. So it’s fascinating what they do.

Sounds amazing. It sounds like a place that I probably would have very much enjoyed as a student. I’m almost sad that that time is behind me now.

Never say never.

That is very true. Yes, I could always come back. Has the entrepreneurial culture changed at RCA over the years? Was it ever a dirty word to commercialise something?

Yeah, it was, particularly with art students who you have to be very careful with the language that you use with art students. They are turned off by marketing terms, business terms. I would not wear a suit or if I was a man, I would not wear a tie and a shirt if I went to meet our art students to talk to them, for example, about intellectual property, because they were quite turned off by that. It has changed tremendously.

And I can think of going back 10 years where we identified, for example, a graduating student with a very, very interesting design solution to a problem. It was patentable. He was really talented. We thought he would make a great founder. But his aunties and uncles and mums and dads said, don’t be silly. You’ve got to go and get a proper job. You’ve had your two years of fun at the RCA. Now you have to knuckle down and get a job.

I mean, completely unfair. But that was the mentality, you know, as I say, 10 years ago. And now it’s quite different. On the whole, people are very entrepreneurial, very interested in forming a business. Some have ambitions to build global businesses. Some have more modest ambitions. It might be simply that they want to be a sole trader, teaching part-time and selling their designs part-time. But certainly that entrepreneurial courage and culture, courage and spirit is there.

That’s amazing to hear. On a related note, then perhaps, what are the challenges that you face at the RCA today?

I think probably, and this is a general problem in startup land, it’s still difficult to get early support for businesses. There’s plenty of investment further down the chain. But in the very early stage, not many people invest at that stage.

And that’s why what we’ve been doing has been so important at the RCA, because we’ve enabled people to get started, to advance their projects and develop sufficient proof-of-concept to be able to persuade later stage investors. That’s kind of a challenge that people face.

And the other is the old classic of people being too busy in the early days. We’re running workshops and lectures all the time on intellectual property and understanding intellectual property, because, you know, the UK economy, the creative sectors, creative industries play a huge part in the UK economy. And the creative industries are largely built on intellectual property.

I don’t think enough is done to protect that intellectual property such that those creators can maximise their returns from their creativity. That’s a general problem as a country we need to get better at. But it’s something that, you know, you talk to any art student and they’ll say, I’m too busy to go to a class on IP law right now, thank you very much, I’ll do it later.

Yeah. And then later either never comes or it’s too late by the time that they decide to go. You being in London, I imagine it’s quite a startup-heavy city. Does that mean that your startups usually stay nearby or at least within London?

For us, we are a physical incubator, largely, so we like our companies to be here in a hub together. And we actually have a very strong belief that it’s important to have different vintages of startups in the incubator together at the same time — so very embryonic companies sitting in a space alongside a much more mature startup. Because we think as well as learning from us, they can learn a lot from each other and they can lean on each other.

So most of our companies are based in the incubator, unless there’s a good reason for them to be based elsewhere, in which case we provide our support online through the various Zooms and meetups, et cetera. And we have, for example, a company in Wales that makes deployable water storage units. They use a concrete material produced by one of our other earlier companies, Concrete Canvas. And Concrete Canvas are now based in Wales. They have their factory in manufacturing there. So quite logically, it was a great place for this Deploy to be based alongside the people who make the material, gaining expertise from them, gaining access to materials and having space to work.

Yeah, there are one or two who are not located with us, but who we’re supporting via Zoom. But our preference is where possible, we’d like to see them in the incubator a few times a week.

Yeah. You’ve already mentioned the challenges around money. Is there generally enough talent available for your startups? Do they find it easy enough to find management or other kinds of staff?

You know, I think good founders attract good people, and I think that’s the leadership skills that they have that inspires people to want to work with them and follow them. And London is a good place to be in terms of attracting talent. There’s a very international community here, maybe slightly less so post Brexit and pandemic, but I think it’s still a good place to meet people and attract them.

Obviously, the challenges with startups is if you can’t persuade people to work for you for equity, then you have to pay them in the early days. That can be difficult. So you might struggle a little bit when you’re trying to get a full stack computer software developer to come on board because they can command such high salaries elsewhere. So you then… you really do depend on being able to be persuading them that the vision for your company is so compelling that they want to join you and maybe work with you part time to begin with and maybe work for part salary and part equity.

Yeah, I imagine a software developer, even if they are still quite young, they could probably get quite a high salary in other more established businesses than they might in a startup.

You’ve already mentioned, I think you said 46% of the companies were founded by women. Are you tracking any kind of broader equity, diversity and inclusion numbers across your portfolio?

Yeah. So we only take obviously, you know, we are slightly limited in that we only take founders from the RCA. So that inevitably will constrain the diversity of our founders, but our diversity figures are 32% diverse founders. So obviously, we’d love it to be higher. But I think it’s reflecting… there’s been historically a tendency for the arts to attract some groups more than others. That’s something the college works very hard on. We have a number of initiatives to recruit more widely and to offer bursaries that make it more attractive to people to come and study at the RCA. And we also run a number of reach-out programmes to schools to get people, when they’re very young, interested in the arts and in creativity, with the hope that we will see them 20 years later when they’re a little bit older, come and join us as either students or staff, actually. So, yeah.

That’s really cool. I always find it fascinating when people talk about going out and meeting school children. I’ve had it on both sides. I’ve had it from scientists as well, that are doing the same thing. It’s quite wise to do it that way, because if you don’t get exposed to it as a child, then you probably don’t really think about it by the time that you are reaching your A-levels.

Yeah. And making it fun. I mean, you know, I’ve been into meeting rooms after one of these reach-out RCA workshops has been running and there’s paint and plaster and stuff everywhere. So they’ve clearly been incredibly creative and really had an opportunity to work with different materials and hopefully have a joyful experience and make something at the end of the week or the end of the day that they can take home and that will stay with them as a memory. So, yeah.

How does your own office fare in terms of diversity?

My team at Innovation RCA, yes, so we are, I haven’t done the stats on this, but actually we have people of different ethnic origins. We are quite mixed in our ethnic origins. I couldn’t give you a statistic off my head. And we are quite a good balance — we are more women than men, actually, just a little bit more women than men. And age groups, we’ve got 20-something to 60-something. So quite a good spread of experiences and age as well.

Have they all been there… Is it kind of an office where people stay for a while or do they come from as many different jobs as your graduates as well, perhaps?

I’m happy to say that the team is fairly stable and I think it’s because we’ve managed to get people who’ve had fascinating careers. So, they bring a wealth of experience, but they’re also really motivated. They come here and they’re really motivated by the next fantastic idea that comes through the door, which is happening all the time during an academic year at the RCA.

And then they’re fascinated by seeing how you can watch that idea develop. So they come in and it’s just an idea and you think, well, maybe it will be patentable. And then, yes, it is patentable. And then, well, maybe we can give them £10,000 or £20,000. And then, you know, we help them raise from angels and then they raise from VCs. And the next thing you know, they’re raising £11m pounds at series A. And it’s like, wow, how did that happen so quickly?

You know, so it’s kind of… we get quite involved. And I think that’s the same for the whole team. We’re pretty terrible. We are at the weekends sharing things on WhatsApp, “did you see this?” Yeah, we kind of completely hooked, I think.

Do you run any specific programmes to kind of increase the numbers of women and minority founders?

Not specifically. I mean, generally, I would say in terms of male-to-female representation across the college, I think that the courses are pretty balanced. And also, if I look at staffing and senior management at the college, again, I’d say there’s quite a good representation of women in senior positions. So I guess what’s changed in the last few years, if we went back, like I said, for the last five years, we’ve had 46% women founders.

Before that, it was 36% women founders, if I go back over the whole 12, 13 years that we’ve been backing companies. So we are seeing more women come through. And I think that’s just a reflection of London or the startup scene in general, as it has become a more acceptable career path more women are going into it. And so more women at the RCA are also considering it. We see a lot of women founders these days.

Talking of having interesting careers before you ended up at the RCA, you yourself joined the RCA after you spent some time in industry at Thermo Fisher Scientific, PamGene, GE Healthcare Life Sciences. What attracted you to the RCA or a job in university innovation more broadly?

I think it was the surprise at seeing, I thought the Royal College of Art was an art college and then here was somebody telling me they have this amazing patent portfolio. It was all interesting things. It was a recycling shower that was hugely energy efficient. It was a concrete canvas, new material. It was a new design for a surgical scalpel. This is going back, you know, many years ago. And it was just, wow.

And my first day at the RCA, I met a young design team who were looking at design for patient safety. And one of the projects they were working on was looking at redesigning the crash trolley, so when patients go into an emergency situation and a crash trolley has to be brought out to bring them back to life. And they mapped out the process, how it worked in one of London’s leading hospitals. They’d shadowed the team that did these responses and mapped out the people getting in each other’s way and moving on top of each other and dashing to get bits of equipment and finding the equipment wasn’t there because somebody had raided it earlier.

And they mapped it all out and showed how with simple design, you could design a much better crash trolley that would be permanently stopped and that wouldn’t involve people tripping over each other and would give the best outcome for the patient. And that was my first day at the RCA.

And it’s been, you know, one amazing project after another, you know, since that time. So, I mean, of course, also see a lot of mad ideas too. But then that’s the stuff that makes you smile and think, I thought I’d seen it all and now I see this, you know. So I think that’s kind of why I came here and ended up staying, you know, because it is just an amazing place.

Yeah, it’s still, I know we talked a little bit before we recorded this, obviously, and it still amazes me that the Royal College of Art isn’t just art. Like, it still blows my mind that there are medtech companies or concrete companies, like it’s still just, it’s amazing. And I think it’s a story that I don’t know if a lot of people are aware, like, unless you’re exposed to it, it’s not really something that… yeah, it should be out there more.

Yeah, you’re absolutely right. We’re known in the art world, but we’re not necessarily as widely known outside of that. Although the college does do a lot of collaborations with, you know, companies like Google or Volkswagen or, you know, Jaguar Land Rover, or… So although there are collaborations happening, we are not as widely well-known as you would think.

Around 70% of what happens at the college is design rather than art, and that design is very much real-world facing.

We’ve touched on this a little bit as well before, but what kind of changes have you seen in your career so far?

I think I’ve seen people being much more entrepreneurial on the one hand, and then also people being more interested in backing entrepreneurs and founders. So go back 10 years, the angel investor ecosystem was really undeveloped and did not at all reflect the scene it is today. There were angel investors, yes, they were all in London. There probably weren’t many in the rest of the country. They tended to invest in men. They tended to be men wearing suits. They tended to be white men.

And now if I look at angel investors in a room, it’s quite likely to be lots of women in there, different ethnicities, different age groups, young and old. That’s really changed. And that’s been tremendous because that’s what’s been driving these early companies and supporting these early founders in the early days. So those are the sorts of changes I think that probably stand out to me the most.

Whenever I’ve talked to female founders and they tell me that they’ve dealt with a female investor, and usually that’s when they got the investment, like something works, and you have someone sitting across the tail from you who looks like you, which helps a lot, I think.

What is a noteworthy challenge that you have overcome in your career that you have hopefully learned from and that others might learn from as well?

In the early days of backing startups and also in backing students with patents, for example, there was always this expectation, “hang on, we’re putting this money in, we’re spending this money. When are we going to get a return? How come you’re a cost centre rather than a profit centre?”

And I think it was in the beginning about trying to demonstrate impact in other ways, because investing in early-stage startups, it’s not investing short term, it’s investing medium to long term. So while we were getting to the point and until we got to the point that we could say, “here’s some money back, we’ve sold some shares in one of our ventures, and look how much profit we’ve made”.

In the early days, the challenge was really demonstrating value and we did that by demonstrating the impact that our company founders were attempting to achieve. For example, bringing safe sanitation to people in sub-Saharan Africa or starting to reduce methane emissions from cattle.

And then it was also in terms of, look, they’re creating jobs. So that’s good for UK plc. Look, they’re creating exports. And also, look, what we’re doing is we’re demonstrating the value of an art and design education, because we’re showing that an art and design education can translate into benefit for the economy, and it can solve a global problem such as climate change or help solve it.

Having to keep that going until the point where people suddenly realised, “actually, don’t worry. We know the money is going to come in, we now see the value of what you’re doing”. And it takes time, but people do see the value now, and people are very, very proud of what’s been achieved through this programme, which is great — makes life easier.

Rightfully so. If you had a magic wand, is there something that you would change about university innovation as it is done today?

I think I would love it if we could get art students and staff — I mean art in the broadest sense — to be more open to learning about intellectual property early. Because honestly, they are leaving stuff on the table just because they don’t understand their rights and how to protect their ideas. And that’s not only a loss for them personally, but it’s also a loss for the UK plc.

I would wave a magic wand that made knowing about IP something every artist wanted to do.

It seems kind of wild that, I know we’ve talked about it a little bit before, but it seems kind of wild that they aren’t interested in learning about IP. Like, if I was an artist, I’d be quite interested in knowing how I can protect my work.

You’re absolutely right. And unfortunately, I think you said it earlier, they start to be interested once they’ve been ripped off.

Yeah, by which point, yeah… You’ve mentioned a few companies over the course of our discussion, but before we go, I wanted to give you another chance in case there were some other companies that you wanted to give a shoutout to.

Yeah, so we’ve got some amazing companies in the portfolio. What comes to mind is Ananas Anam. That’s a company that take the waste leaves from pineapple crops and turn it into a wonderful non-woven textile that’s really sustainable and can replace leather in many, many applications. It looks like leather, feels like leather. So a vegan leather, if you like. And it’s great as well because it’s taking a waste crop, which would normally be burnt, so it would normally be adding carbon into the atmosphere and now it’s taking it away and doing something good with it. So I love that one. I love the fact that Nike recently launched trainers made with Piñatex. The textile is called Pinotex. The company is Ananas Anam.

I love Charco. Charco is a young company that is making a small wearable device, non-invasive, for people with Parkinson’s. And what this device does is it sort of gives a little small vibration. So when a patient with Parkinson’s feels themselves starting to freeze and maybe they’re unable to take that next step forward that they would like to take, they touch the device. It gives them a little vibration and they start moving again. And, you know, things like that that can really improve the quality of life. Hugely exciting. So that’s Charco, Charco Neurotech.

I think I mentioned the company that’s taking cow burps and turning them into CO2, which is far less harmful as a greenhouse gas than methane is — that’s a company called ZELP. And they produce this device that monitors cattle and converts the methane, but also helps farmers keep track of their animals in pasture and know as soon as a cow is maybe off its food or maybe its temperature is increasing, so they have an early warning system that all is not well with the cow and can maybe help it before it becomes ill.

So those are some of the examples of companies that we’re working with and very proud to work with.

As we said, it’s a very broad range of companies as well. It really kind of brings home this truth that the RCA does a lot of very broad, very fascinating stuff. That’s amazing.

We are almost out of time, just towards the end of the working day. Is there anything else that you want people to know before we go?

I think I would say put the Royal College of Arts on your radar. There’s a public exhibition every year where you can see the work of graduating students. InnovationRCA, we are on the college website, you can see the amazing array of companies that we’ve backed and that we will continue to back.

If you’re an angel investor, we’ve mentioned AngelClubRCA. We’re always open to having new members. And I mentioned the fund as well.

I would also say look at other art and design and creative colleges, if you’re not in London in your part of the world, for sure they are also doing amazing things and producing very interesting companies, and I’m sure would be happy to hear from you, particularly if you’re an investor or an angel investor. And you’d be amazed at the companies that they’re producing as well — maybe not as many as us, maybe not as diverse as us, but there are some great institutions out there doing amazing things.

That’s a nice call out and a nice call to action as well to end the podcast. Nadia, thank you so much for joining me today. It’s been a pleasure talking to you and getting to learn a little bit more about the RCA.

Thank you very, very much for having me. I’ve really enjoyed talking to you.

Thierry Heles

Thierry Heles is the editor of Global University Venturing, host of the Beyond the Breakthrough interview podcast and responsible for the monthly GUV Gazette (sign up here for free).