The Medical Research Council is one of the most prestigious medical research organizations in the world and has among the highest number of Nobel Laureates within its ranks of any similar organization. Ulysses consulted to the MRC for several years during the mid-1990s. Perceiving a shortfall in funding for commercializing even the most promising of MRC's science, Ulysses recommended to the Council that it consider creating and raising a dedicated venture capital fund to invest in its own technologies.
The head of the MRC's commercialization arm embraced this notion and hired Ulysses to research and prepare a white paper on the concept of a venture capital fund that would be dedicated to forming and supporting companies derived from MRC-sponsored science. Ulysses studied the successes and failures of similar undertakings, including ARCH Ventures in Chicago, YOZMA in Israel and efforts by Harvard to build the case for a dedicated source of capital. Concurrently, Ulysses considered the unique needs of the MRC and the UK's biomedical industry in order to customize the fund concept to best serve the MRC.
The Council accepted Ulysses report and Ulysses was retained to design the fund, draft a business plan and prepare a prospectus. MVM was formed in 1997 with an initial raise of 46 million pounds. Since that time it has raised two additional funds and has a total of ~$500M under management.
The effort with the MRC laid the groundwork for the formation of the New Zealand Seed Fund.