14 Oct 2020
Blog: Introducing Chris Tapper
We recently welcomed Chris Tapper to the CIC team as an Associate specialising in life science investments. Here, Chris talks about his background, what attracted him to CIC, and his ambitions for the future.
Welcome Chris! Tell us about your journey so far. How did you end up in venture capital and the life sciences?
As a student of Medical Sciences at the University of Cambridge I quickly realised I wanted to build a career in the life sciences industry.
I went into consultancy and corporate strategy roles, initially at L.E.K. Consulting’s life sciences division, and then at C4X Discovery, the AIM-listed drug discovery biotech. This stage of my career taught me how to find and judge the commercial potential of scientific opportunities, a skill which guided me towards venture investing.
So, what drew you towards CIC?
CIC’s deep respect and connection with the Cambridge ecosystem impressed me. CIC recognises the position it holds in the community and values giving back to ensure that the ecosystem continues to grow.
As investors, we carry a lot of responsibility in terms of upholding the interests of the various stakeholders with whom we interact. I found that CIC treated that responsibility with the utmost respect, and valued building strong relationships and collaborating closely with those involved in their investments.
The icing on the cake is that there is no shortage of ambition at CIC, and I wanted to work for a company that is as ambitious as I am! I was drawn towards its vision of making Cambridge (and CIC) world-leaders in scientific and technological innovation. With a number of leading companies in CIC’s Fund I portfolio, such as NASDAQ-listed Bicycle Therapeutics and MedTech unicorn CMR Surgical, I have every confidence CIC will achieve its ambition of backing the next generation of Cambridge unicorns as well!
What does your role as an Associate entail?
This role involves quite a lot of different activities but can be summarised as helping to find exciting new investment opportunities for CIC and providing support to the Partners and entrepreneurs through investment due diligence and beyond.
I will be spending a lot of time meeting people and hearing about their business ideas, then evaluating these opportunities to see if they would potentially fit in CIC’s portfolio. An investment does not represent the end of the journey however, as I will then continue to work with those who join the CIC family, to help them achieve their ambitions.
And why did you choose to work in Cambridge?
I genuinely think that there is nowhere better than Cambridge in the United Kingdom to build a life sciences company. Its academics, scientists, entrepreneurs, service providers and investors work in close proximity with access to such a wealth of facilities and resources. All of those elements combine to guarantee that exciting businesses and ideas will emerge, and I want to be a part of finding them and helping them grow.
On a personal level, Cambridge has a special place in my heart. Growing up in Northern Ireland, it held an almost magical quality as this place across the sea where giants of the scientific world had lived, studied and worked. Newton and Darwin, Watson and Crick, Sanger and Winter, this was the place to go to find the people who would star in tomorrow’s history books.
What’s your favourite part of the job so far?
When you meet somebody and they pitch their business to you for the first time. That moment when you see their vision and see the potential of the idea that they have is incredibly satisfying. You cannot help but share in their enthusiasm and want to find out more!
What are your goals for the future?
I want to play a role in bringing as many life changing therapeutics, diagnostics and devices to patients as I can, particularly in areas where patients are currently underserved, like neurodegeneration.
More broadly, I want to gain a detailed understanding of the state-of-the-art innovations being pioneered in Cambridge , the unmet needs in the life sciences market and the skills and knowledge required to build and grow a company. I have no doubts that CIC will be able to support me in this journey, as the team here has such a deep wealth of expertise and experience in the space.
And at the end of the day, what do you like to do in your spare time?
I should probably spend it trying to find a hobby that would allow me to answer this question in a more interesting way! If I had to give an answer, I would say cooking and trying to find new Ireland-inspired recipes. Whilst I am happy to be in Cambridge, you cannot beat home comforts!