Innovative North East tech disruptor secures funding to scale globally

November 22, 2019 - 5 min read

Leo Groenewegen Leo Groenewegen

Northstar-backed technology disruptor CellulaREvolution, which aims to revolutionise the way cells are grown at industrial scale, has secured £380,000 in funding to grow the company - a spin out from Newcastle University.

CellulaREvolution has identified a significant opportunity in how to make the culturing of cells more efficient and affordable, which will benefit medical and pharmaceutical industries, and also the fast-increasing interest in cultured meat.

CellulaREvolution is the first company in the region to benefit from the North East Angel R&D programme, an initiative backed by Innovate UK and managed by Northstar, to attract increased angel investment into early stage tech businesses. On top of £140,000 from the North East Innovation Fund, supported by the European Regional Development Fund and managed by Northstar Ventures, the company has also been awarded a total £200,000 in grants from InnovateUK and a further £40,000 investment from a private Angel investor.

The company was founded in December 2018 and officially spun-out from Newcastle University in July 2019. The three company founders are Martina Miotto (CSO), Che Connon (CTO) and Leo Groenewegen (CEO).

Co-founder and CTO, Professor Che Connon said, “Whether it’s for the cultured meat, cell therapy or biologics production the need for new ways to grow large numbers of cells in serum free culture is critical to the continued success of these markets. Our plans to generate a bioreactor capable of continuous cell production will become a milestone in the industrialisation of adherent cell manufacture.”

Alex Buchan, Northstar Ventures Investment Director, said “Northstar has been the main investor in North East University spin-outs since 2005, their potential is huge, with the expertise and innovation the teams bring. We are very impressed with the CellulaREvolution team, they have a clearly identified market opportunity and a ground breaking, scalable solution. We are looking forward to supporting them in their growth and scaling their company globally. We are also pleased that they are the first company to benefit from the new North East Angel R&D programme. Working with Angels has always been core to our offering and this programme enables access to a combination of funds to really accelerate the growth of scalable businesses.”

Leo Groenewegen CEO of CellulaREvolution said, “We’re delighted to have the backing from Northstar. It will allow us to become the market leader in the field of continuous cell production. The growing demand for cultured meat, for example, is a potentially multitrillion USD market and we aim to get our fair share of this. The investment also lets us accelerate our product and company development which in turn leads to an increase in company valuation.”

Media contact:

Sharon McKee
+44 0775 3414236

Northstar Ventures Limited
Northstar Ventures is a venture capital and social investment firm based in the North East. We provide funding for innovative, scalable businesses and high impact social enterprises. We’ve been supporting entrepreneurs since 2004, seeking out strong teams with great ideas that will drive high growth, scalable businesses, and sustainable charities. As the North East’s leading early stage investor, we have invested over £100m into start-ups, early stage businesses and high impact social enterprises in the region. Our investment managers have a wealth of experience supporting new and growing businesses and bring commercial and operational experience, PhDs and MBAs, international careers and even a micro-business or two.

Information About The North East Fund
The North East Fund is a suite five venture capital and loan funds which was established in April 2018, to invest £120m in around 600 North East businesses in the period to March 2023. The fund managers provide business development advice and investment finance to small and medium sized enterprises based in the seven Local Authority areas of North East England: Northumberland, North Tyneside, Newcastle, South Tyneside, Gateshead Sunderland and County Durham. The programme encourages investment in and the commercialisation of new technologies, including low carbon technologies, as well as stimulating new business creation, private investment and entrepreneurialism in the North East, with a view to creating over 2,500 new jobs. The North East Fund has overall responsibility for the programme, which is delivered through five separate funds, each managed by independent, FCA regulated fund managers. Details of these, and up to date information on the progress of the programme, is available on The North East Fund’s website:

The North East Fund has been established with funding from the North East of England European Regional Development Fund programme, the European Investment Bank and from returns on previous North East based, publicly supported investment funds. It is jointly owned by the seven North East local authorities.

Information About the European Regional Development Fund
The North East Fund will receive up to £58,500,000 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit

Information About the European Investment Bank
The European Investment Bank (EIB) will lend up to £60,000,000 to the North East Fund programme. The European Investment Bank is the long-term lending institution of the European Union owned by its Member States. It makes long-term finance available for sound investment in order to contribute towards EU policy goals. For more information, visit:

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