History

First Light Fusion Ltd was spun out from the University of Oxford in July 2011, with seed capital from the IP Group plc, Parkwalk Advisors Ltd and a number of Angel investors. Until May 2014, the company was named Oxyntix Ltd.

The company was founded by Professor Yiannis Ventikos, who is currently the Head of the Mechanical Engineering Department at University College, London, and Dr Nicholas Hawker, formerly an Engineering lecturer at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford.

Based in Oxford, First Light Fusion directly employs a team of engineers and physicists, as well as collaborating closely with a number of academic organisations, including the University of Oxford, Warwick University, UCL and Imperial College, London.

Board


Stephen Brindle

Stephen Brindle

Chairman

Mr Brindle is the managing partner of Technikos LLP, a venture capital fund with a long term commercial relationship with Oxford University’s Institute of Biomedical Engineering. Before joining Technikos LLP in 2008, he worked at Eden Financial Ltd and was responsible for establishing the healthcare team there. During this time, between 2004 and 2007, he worked on corporate fundraisings for both private and public companies, participating in deals typically ranging between £5m-£10m in value, across a number of different healthcare sub-sectors including biotechnology and medical devices. Before that, between 1997 and 2004, he was in institutional equity sales and research, latterly with Citigroup. From 1991 to 1997 Mr Brindle worked as a management consultant. He holds an economics degree from LSE.

Ronald Roy

Ronald Roy

Non-Executive Director

Ronald Roy is the Professor of Mechanical Engineering in the Department of Engineering Science at the University of Oxford. Trained as a physicist and an engineer, Prof. Roy specializes in the application of physical acoustics principles to problems in biomedical acoustics, industrial ultrasonics, and acoustical oceanography – with emphasis on the acoustics of bubbles and bubbly media. He has served as Professor and Chairman of the Dept. of Mechanical Engineering at Boston University, as a Senior Physicist and Associate Research Professor of Bioengineering at the University of Washington (USA), and on the research staff at the National Center for Physical Acoustics (USA). He is widely published and has served on numerous editorial boards and conference organizing committees. Professor Roy was the 65th George Eastman Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Univ. of Oxford (2006-2007) and is a recipient of the Helmholtz-Rayleigh Interdisciplinary Silver Medal of the Acoustical Society of America.

Robert Trezona

Robert Trezona

Non-Executive Director

Robert has been working in technology venture for over 10 years, focussing on cleantech and materials opportunities. He has experience as an investor, as an operational manager in start-ups and as a strategy consultant. Prior to joining IP Group in 2011, he was Head of Research and Development at the Carbon Trust, where he set up their “Research Accelerator” technology venturing initiative, which created and capitalised innovative companies in advanced photovoltaics, second-generation biofuels and fuel cells. He started his career in fuel cells working for Johnson Matthey and then as the leader of the materials and process development teams at Ceres Power, which listed on AIM in 2004. He has also worked as a strategy consultant for McKinsey & Company, where he focussed on strategy and operations in the energy, technology and materials sectors. He has a triple First and a PhD from the University of Cambridge and won the 1996 Goldsmiths Prize as the top Cambridge graduate in Materials Science. He was also President of Cambridge University Athletic Club and captain of the combined Oxford and Cambridge athletics team, Achilles.

Yiannis Ventikos

Yiannis Ventikos

Co-founder and Non-Executive Director

Yiannis Ventikos is the Kennedy Professor of Mechanical Engineering and the Head of the Mechanical Engineering Department at University College London. He has worked or studied in Greece, France, the USA and Switzerland. Prof Ventikos has established the Fluidics and Biocomplexity Group that currently involves more than twenty researchers, mostly at the doctoral and postdoctoral level. He has published about 100 papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals, has contributed chapters in 5 books, has presented more than 200 papers in international conferences and workshops and has filed six international patents to date. He is the academic co-founder of First Light Fusion and consults internationally on topics of his expertise. He has served as a reviewer for more than 50 academic journals as well as for textbook and monograph publishers. He is on the editorial board of four journals, and on the scientific and/or organising committee of numerous international conferences and workshops.

David Bryon

David Bryon

CFO

With wide ranging experience in both SME and multinational companies, David combines large corporate performance and standards with small business agility and pragmatism. More than a decade of experience in university spin outs, including 5 years of consulting to many different companies in different business sectors has given him a wealth of situational awareness and a deep understanding of the needs of the various stakeholders in these businesses.
He has worked in Medtech, Chemicals, Enterprise software, FMCG and Electrical Engineering, and consulted to Medtech, Biotech (both medicinal and industrial), Software and Peripherals. He has supported First Light Fusion since early in its inception, before joining the team in 2015. David has been a CIMA MIP, and holds a degree in Geography and a masters in Psychology.

Nicholas Hawker

Nicholas Hawker

Co-founder and CTO

Nick’s research into cavity collapse began in 2007 as part of his masters thesis, where he worked at the University of Oxford with Yiannis Ventikos. This work continued into a DPhil, where he performed hydrodynamic simulations of shock-driven cavity collapse. These simulations showed that cavity collapse leads to inertial confinement of the cavity contents and revealed that extreme states of matter could be reached, possibly entering the regime for fusion. To explore the concept of energy generation via this process, Nick and Yiannis co-founded First Light Fusion Ltd in 2011. Nick also spent three years tutoring at Lady Margaret Hall during his studies. After finishing his DPhil in 2012, Nick joined First Light Fusion as CTO and continues to oversee the technical vision of the company.

Gianluca Pisanello

Gianluca Pisanello

COO