GMC Life Sciences Fund by Praetura


Welcome To... GMC Life Sciences Fund by Praetura

The GMC Life Sciences Fund By Praetura is looking for the next generation of life sciences entrepreneurs. We offer seed and early-stage funding to life sciences businesses located in or relocating to Greater Manchester and Cheshire & Warrington region. In partnership with GMCA, Bruntwood SciTech and Cheshire & Warrington LEP, the Praetura team want to help life sciences founders build the best business they can.
Bruntwood Scitech
Greater Manchester Combined Authority
Cheshire & Warrington LEP
Praetura Ventures

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Learn from someone else’s mistakes

Unconditional support doesn’t just come from us. Giving more than money also means connecting you with our operational partners.

Steve Caunce


Steve spent 13 years as CEO of FTSE 250 group AO World, the owner of, and was previously CFO of Phones4U. Steve has significant expertise in scaling businesses, having overseen the rapid growth at both AO World and Phones4U.

As Praetura Ventures’ non-executive chairman, Steve continues to contribute to our success and wider vision to be the VC of choice for early-stage businesses.

Mark Slade

Operational Partner

Mark is the vice chairman of OSTC, a global derivatives trading and education company he co-founded, which has 450 employees in five countries. As vice chairman for the company, Mark champions robust governance, long-term goals and collective excellence at OSTC.

These qualities and Mark’s wealth of experience remain invaluable to his work as an Operational Partner for our portfolio.

Helen Verwoert

Operational Partner

Helen was previously Chief Human Resources Officer for Dr. Martens. As part of the leadership team, she was instrumental in the development of Dr. Martens, taking the brand from family ownership to a sale to the private equity firm Permira, which later culminated in a £3.7bn IPO in 2021.

Helen was also instrumental in restructuring the executive team including recruiting the CEO, CFO and three Regional Presidents, in addition to being the company’s Global Head of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. 

Paul Johnson

Operational Partner

Paul is the co-founder of MPP Global and was CEO for 20 years until its acquisition by AIM-listed Aptitude Software in October 2021. MPP Global is the award-winning international provider of the cloud-based subscription management and billing SaaS platform eSuite. MPP’s clients include Sky, NBC Universal and L’Equipe. 

At exit, MPP Global had grown to over 100 employees plus offshore development teams and £9m ARR. 

Siobhan Almond

Operational Partner

Siobhan was General Counsel and Company Secretary at JD Sports, holding the most senior legal role at the FTSE 100 company. A qualified lawyer, she spent 10 years at JD, helping to steer the brand to global success across 32 countries, with profits approaching £1bn.

During her time at JD, which followed a spell at Manchester City, Siobhan oversaw many pivotal mergers and acquisitions, including global takeovers and minority stakes in smaller brands. Her extensive knowledge covers M&A, governance, and corporate, commercial and regulatory law.

Mark Horncastle

Operational Partner

Mark was previously a partner and the UK head of healthcare at the multi-sector management consultancy PA Consulting, where he spent 12 years driving innovation and transformation within the health sector. He specialises in system design, digital transformation and utilising data to enable patient and service outcomes.

As well as leading on PA’s global health & life sciences strategy, Mark led the business’ Manchester office and was heavily involved in Greater Manchester’s healthcare transformation through its devolution plans, including the design of urgent and emergency services, integration of health and social care, and the scaling of primary care services.

Penny Attridge

Operational Partner

Penny has worked in healthcare for over 50 years, first as a research scientist and later as the founder director of Id-Tech Ltd, a company specialising in the prevention of sharps injuries in medical settings.

In more recent times, Penny has worked as a healthcare consultant and, while at Spark Impact, led a successful bid for £15m of European funding for the North West Fund for Biomedical (NWF4B). This coincided with securing an additional £15m and leading an investment team from Spark Impact’s Liverpool HQ.

Mark Roberts

Operational Partner

Mark is a serial entrepreneur and angel investor.

He has won several awards as the Co-Founder of Beer Hawk, which he set up in 2012, scaled to a profitable business with over £80m revenue and successfully exited to a strategic buyer (AB InBev). Between 2019 and 2022, he was also Global CEO of the PerfectDraft business, which has become a leading direct-to-consumer player for AB InBev. Mark has also held senior marketing and leadership positions at a long list of household names. These include Laithwaites Wine, Lloyds Banking Group’s Insurance Division, HBOS Plc and Procter & Gamble.

He Chaired the Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, responsible for local economic development for a UK city region with over 2.3m people and economy of over £60Bn.

Why partner with us?

Choosing a VC partner is a massive step in your journey as a founder. We want to make that step as easy as possible. We also want to make sure Praetura Ventures is right for you...

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Our Track Record

Founder-first approach

Listed as one of the top 20 seed investors in Europe as voted for by portfolio founders. Praetura has a reputation for better founder support.

Life Sciences Leaders

Join a portfolio of North-West life sciences innovators who are changing their sector for the better.

A partnership set for scale

Backed by three LPs from both public and private sector who are uniquely placed to help businesses scale in the Greater Manchester and Cheshire & Warrington region.

Our Specialisms

Greater Manchester and Cheshire & Warrington Based

Your headquarters must be based in or moving to the region.

Life Sciences Industries

Your business must be in the life sciences sector, this includes BioTech, contract research, diagnostics, HealthTech, medical devices, therapeutics, pharmaceuticals, veterinary and others.

Early-stage funding

We look to invest £50k-£2m into exciting SMEs with high growth potential.

Join Our Portfolio

Our portfolio spans creators who are building new digital worlds, medical professionals who are redefining personal health and innovators who are giving a voice to victims of harassment. Let us support the exceptional work you do with more than money.

Learn more about our Portfolio and Investment teams. Download our Playbooks below.

Interested in funding and want to pitch to us?

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