Nucleate announces $2M in Venture Prizes for European Activator teams, in partnership with BlueYard Capital

3 min readJan 13, 2023


Nucleate, the non-profit organization led by academic trainees and dedicated to empowering future biotech leaders, today announced that the venture capital firm BlueYard will become a Platinum Level Sponsor of the 2023 Activator Program. The partnership enables Nucleate to award BlueYard Venture Funding Prizes totalling $2M to 10–20 recipients from its European Activator teams.

At the forefront of Nucleate’s global expansion in 2022 was the establishment of operations in the United Kingdom and Switzerland to bring Nucleate’s flagship Activator program to Europe. The new partnership with BlueYard will provide European Activator teams with direct funding on the same founder-friendly terms available to teams across all regions from the Pillar Venture Prizes.

“Our first year of operation saw the building of an incredible leadership team across the UK and the attraction of top talent to our inaugural Activator programme,” said James Bayne, Co-Founder and Co-Managing Director of Nucleate UK. “We are thrilled to partner with BlueYard to offer what is a truly game-changing funding option for founders. Accessing early stage capital is consistently harder in Europe than in the US and we believe that this deal will be truly transformative for our teams.”

The Venture Prizes are SAFE notes (simple agreement for future equity) without a valuation cap or discount, and founders can choose to defer for up to a year. This mechanism gives founders a simple way to get initial funding without valuing their company upfront; only at a later financing round will the funding convert to an equity investment. Nucleate will select award recipients to receive funding from a pool of up to $2 million.

“Expanding into Europe was a top priority for Nucleate following our first year,” said Soufiane Aboulhouda, founding co-president of Nucleate and a PhD candidate at Harvard Medical School. “Together with BlueYard, we are determined to break down barriers to startup formation in Europe.”

“Solving humanity’s greatest challenges over the next century will require a new generation of companies at the frontier of science and technology,” said Jason Whitmire, Co-Founder and General Partner at BlueYard. “We are excited to work with Nucleate in unlocking the potential of life science founders in Europe to build these companies.”

About Nucleate

Nucleate is a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering the next generation of biotech leaders. With chapters spanning 23 geographic regions and participation from over 120 academic institutions, Nucleate sparks new intellectual communities and embeds emerging talent within a global biotech community. Through open-access educational programming, Nucleate helps democratize biotech innovation — removing barriers and helping founders concentrate on building transformational technologies. Visit for more information.

About BlueYard

BlueYard backs founders at the earliest stages building the interconnected elements that can become the fabric of our future. A future where markets are open and decentralized, where we have solved our largest planetary challenges, where knowledge and data is liberated and humanity can live long and prosper.