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.
Nick’s research into fusion 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 gas inside the cavity 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 CEO and CTO, and continues to oversee the technical vision of the company.
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.
Gianluca honed his leadership and management skills during his 14-year career in the Formula 1 World Championship. As a Race Engineer and Chief Engineer, he led high-performance multi-disciplinary teams in competitive, challenging and time-critical environments.
A key chapter in Gianluca’s career was his eight year tenure at Toyota Motorsport in Germany where he successfully learned, adopted and deployed the business principles and practices at the heart of one of the most successful companies in the world.
Formally media trained, he has publicly represented the motorsport teams he has worked at on many occasions, often with the most famous names in global media.
Throughout his career, Gianluca was selected to foster key technical partnerships with high profile companies and to provide business and technical consultancy services to Renault Sport, the motorsport arm of the Renault automotive brand. He also fulfilled key speaker roles at industry forums and conferences, including GE’s Oil & Gas division AGM.
Before working in Formula 1, his experience includes technical management roles in a range of motorsport categories, IT Systems Engineering Consultancy for several major hospitals, teaching and a one year voluntary service post in the Carabinieri, the Italian police force.
Gianluca has a passion for extracting optimum performance from the people he works with and the processes employed in each industry in which he has worked. He holds a Masters’ Degree in Electronic Engineering.
Apart from being a veteran VC, Bart is a seasoned and passionate entrepreneur and is renowned for his relentless drive to internationalise companies and help them become successful beyond Europe by conquering the US or Asia. A Dutch native, he has been a General Partner at Wellington from 2000 to 2015 and played a significant role in building Wellington from a €50M fund in 1999 to a well established player in the European VC market with some €800M of assets under management.
Over the past 2 decades, Bart has invested in an impressive collection of deep IP Technology companies located in Europe and the US. Many have already made the successful leap to the US or are successfully opening up new foreign markets. Investments include Navteq (NASDAQ IPO in 2004: NVT; sold to Nokia in 2007), Meiosys (sold to IBM in 2005), Nawotec (sold to Carl Zeiss in 2005), Q-Layer (sold to Sun Microsystems in 2009), Cavendish Kinetics and GLO.
Bart spent the past 18 years as an investor in High Tech companies, and additionally as a serial entrepreneur himself co-founded by now 6 companies including Hexagem, a defect-free GaN substrate technology company and the MRI Centre, a highly successful chain of private medical diagnostic clinics. He also set up and acted as CEO for ePearle, a pan-European B2B eCommerce start-up.
Bart started his career as a process control system and project engineer with Shell in Norway and then worked at McKinsey, both in the Netherlands and South Africa.
Bart holds an MSc in Applied Physics from Twente University of Technology in the Netherlands and an MBA (with distinction) from INSEAD in France.
Between 2008 and 2016, Stephen was Managing Partner of Technikos LLP, an early stage venture capital fund with a long term commercial contract with Oxford University’s Bio-medical Engineering Department. Stephen previously worked for 10 years in the City, as an equity salesman, where he focused on the life sciences sector. Before that he spent 6 years as a management consultant, latterly with Deloitte Consulting. He has a BSc Econ from the LSE.
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 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 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.
Dr. Arun Majumdar is the Jay Precourt Professor at Stanford University, a faculty member of the Departments of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering (by courtesy) and co-director of the Precourt Institute for Energy, which integrates and coordinates research and education activities across all seven Schools and the Hoover Institution at Stanford.
Dr. Majumdar’s research in the past has involved the science and engineering of nanoscale materials and devices, especially in the areas of energy conversion, transport and storage as well as biomolecular analysis. His current research focuses on using electrochemical reactions for thermal energy conversion, thermochemical redox reactions, understanding the limits of heat transport in nanostructured materials and a new effort to re-engineer the electricity grid.
In October 2009, Dr. Majumdar was nominated by President Obama and confirmed by the Senate to become the Founding Director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E), where he served till June 2012 and helped ARPA-E become a model of excellence for the government with bipartisan support from Congress and other stakeholders. Between March 2011 and June 2012, he also served as the Acting Under Secretary of Energy, enabling the portfolio that reported to him: Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Office of Electricity Delivery and Reliability, Office of Nuclear Energy and the Office of Fossil Energy, as well as multiple cross-cutting efforts such as Sunshot, Grid Tech Team and others that he had initiated. Furthermore, he was a Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Energy, Dr. Steven Chu, on a variety of matters related to management, personnel, budget, and policy.
After leaving Washington, DC and before joining Stanford, Dr. Majumdar was the Vice President for Energy at Google, where he created several energy technology initiatives, especially at the intersection of data, computing and electricity grid, and advised the company on its broader energy strategy.
Prior to joining the Department of Energy, Dr. Majumdar was the Almy & Agnes Maynard Chair Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science & Engineering at University of California–Berkeley and the Associate Laboratory Director for energy and environment at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
Dr. Majumdar is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He served as the Vice Chairman of the Advisory Board of US Secretary of Energy, Dr. Ernest Moniz, and was also a Science Envoy for the US Department of State with focus on energy and technology innovation in the Baltics and Poland. He is a member of the Advisory Council of the Electric Power Research Institute and a member of the International Advisory Panel for Energy of the Singapore Ministry of Trade and Industry and the US delegation for the US-India Track II dialogue on climate change and energy.
Dr. Majumdar received his bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay in 1985 and his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in 1989.
Steven Chu is the William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor of Physics and Professor of Molecular & Cellular Physiology at Stanford University. His has published over 275 papers in fields that include atomic physics, polymer physics, biophysics, biology, energy, batteries and holds 11 patents. Currently, he is developing new optical nanoparticle probes and new optical, acoustic and photoacoustic imaging methods for applications in biology and biomedicine. He is also exploring new approaches to lithium ion batteries, PM2.5 air filtration and other applications of nanotechnology.
Dr. Chu was the 12th U.S. Secretary of Energy from January 2009 until April 2013. As the first scientist to hold a Cabinet position, he recruited outstanding scientists and engineers into the Department of Energy. He began several initiatives including ARPA-E (Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy), the Energy Innovation Hubs, the U.S. – China Clean Energy Research Centers (CERC), and was personally tasked by President Obama to assist BP in stopping the Deepwater Horizon oil leak.
Prior to his cabinet post, he was director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Professor of Physics and Molecular and Cell Biology at UC Berkeley from 2005 to 2008. Previously he was the Theodore and Francis Geballe Professor of Physics and Applied Physics at Stanford University. He helped launch Bio-X at Stanford University, a multi-disciplinary institute combining the physical and biological sciences with medicine and engineering, and the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology. Previously he was head of the Quantum Electronics Research Department at AT&T Bell Laboratories.
Dr. Chu is the co-recipient of the Nobel Prize for Physics (1997) for his contributions to laser cooling and atom trapping. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, the National Academy of Inventors, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Academia Sinica, and is a foreign member of the Royal Society, the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and the Korean Academy of Sciences and Technology. He received an A.B. degree in mathematics and a B.S. degree in physics from the University of Rochester. He earned a Ph.D. in physics from the University of California, Berkeley, and has 30 honorary degrees.
Richard Dennis is a Chartered Engineer with 36 years track record in the Energy industry. Richard was formerly Global Director of Research and Development for Doosan Babcock Energy Ltd where he was responsible for power and energy development and investments into new technologies including those associated with reducing the impact of CO2 on the environment.
Richard spent his early career in various engineering roles predominately in the design and supply of environmental control equipment for the control of NOx and SOx on boilers used for electricity generation. In the mid 1990s he became General Manager of Engineering at Mitsui Babcock being responsible for all engineering associated with the building and upgrading of all types of power plants, coal, gas, renewable and nuclear.
Richard has been a Non-Executive Director for a variety of other environmental and energy business focused companies over the last 5 years.
Richard has a degree in engineering from Leeds University and an MBA from Cranfield Business School.
Richard L. Garwin joined IBM in 1952 and is IBM Fellow Emeritus at the Thomas J. Watson Research Center. In addition, he is a consultant to the U.S. government on matters of military technology and arms control. He has been Director of the IBM Watson Laboratory, Director of Applied Research at the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center, a member of the IBM Corporate Technical Committee, Adjunct Research Fellow and Professor of Public Policy in the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University and Adjunct Professor of Physics at Columbia University. From 1997 to 2004 he was Philip D. Reed Senior Fellow for Science and Technology at the Council on Foreign Relations, New York.
Richard has made contributions in the design of nuclear weapons, in instruments and electronics for research in nuclear and low-temperature physics, in the establishment of the nonconservation of parity, in computer elements and systems, in communication systems, in the behavior of solid helium, in the detection of gravitational radiation, and in military technology. He has published more than 500 papers, coauthored many books and been granted 47 U.S. patents. He has testified to many Congressional committees on matters involving national security, transportation, energy policy and technology. He was a member of the President’s Science Advisory Committee 1962-65 and 1969-72, and of the Defense Science Board 1966-69.
He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, of the IEEE, and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; and a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Medicine, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the American Philosophical Society. He served on the Council of the National Academy of Sciences 1983-1986 and 2002-2005.
Richard received numerous prizes and awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the National Medal of Science.
Since 2009 he has been a consultant to the Office of Science and Technology Policy in the Executive Offices of the President. In 2010 he was a consultant to Secretary of Energy Steve Chu on the Deep Water Horizon (BP) oil spill, and in 2011 he supported Secretary Chu again on the U.S. response to the damaged reactors at Fukushima Dai-ichi.
In 2000, on the 40th anniversary of the founding of the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) he was recognized as one of the ten Founders of National Reconnaissance. He has been a member of the Scientific Advisory Group to the Joint Strategic Target Planning Staff and was in 1998 a Commissioner on the 9-person “Rumsfeld” Commission to Assess the Ballistic Missile Threat to the United States. From 1993 to August 2001, he chaired the Arms Control and Nonproliferation Advisory Board of the Department of State.
Richard received the B.S. in Physics from Case Institute of Technology, Cleveland, in 1947, and the Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Chicago in 1949.
Sir David King was the UK Government Chief Scientific Adviser from 2000 to 2007, during which time he raised the need for governments to act on climate change. From 2013 to 2017 he served in the British Foreign Office as the Foreign Secretary’s Special Representative on Climate Change, making 96 official country visits over this period. He initiated the ‘Climate Change – A Risk Analysis’ project with China and India over this period and was the thought leader behind Mission Innovation, the $30bn p.a. international thrust in research funding for missing technologies needed to defossilise the global economy.
David was Science Advisor to UBS from 2008-12. He has also served as Founding Director of the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment at Oxford University (2008 – 2012), Head of the Department of Chemistry at Cambridge University (1993 – 2000), and the Master of Downing College Cambridge (1995 – 2000).
He has published over 500 papers on surface science and catalysis and on science and policy, for which he has received many awards and medals. Elected Fellow of the Royal Society in 1991; Foreign Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2002; knighted in 2003; made Officier de l’ordre national de la Légion d’Honeur in 2009 for his work on climate change and on the politics of establishing ITER.
Steven Rose has worked in plasma physics for all of his career, with a particular emphasis on plasmas produced using high-power lasers.
He has spent much of that time at the two high-power laser facilities in the UK: the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory’s Central Laser Facility where he became the Associate Director for Physics, and at AWE Aldermaston where he was the Head of Plasma Physics.
Professor Rose joined Imperial College as the Head of Plasma Physics in December 2006 and in 2011 was appointed the Vice-Dean for Natural Sciences at Imperial, a position he held until 2014.
In 2015 he was appointed Professorial Research Fellow at Oxford.