Steve Scott Reflects on his Digital Science Journey
On 7th December 2020, Digital Science celebrates its official tenth birthday (though it existed as “Project Babbage” for more than a year before it was launched publicly). To mark the occasion, we will be releasing a few birthday posts over the course of the year.
Steve Scott is our Director of Portfolio Development. As a member of the founding management team, Steve has been involved in the majority of Digital Science’s portfolio investments, taking founders through product and business model validation to launch and growth. He also oversees the Catalyst Grant award, a twice-yearly award of up to £15k ($25k) to early stage ideas. We sat down with him to gain some insight into his long journey as a key member of the Digital Science team.
When did you first start working at Digital Science?
My official start date was 17/09/2009, but I had been working between Nature Publishing Group and Project Babbage (our stealth mode name) for about six months before that, prior to transitioning over full time.
What are you responsible for and how has your role changed over the years?
Initially, I looked after all the investments in what was called the Research Tools division. This covered portfolio companies that worked in the lab space, along with those addressing solutions to do with documents and data. I now look after all early-stage pipeline opportunities, and as part of that, run the Catalyst Grant.
The main changes to my role have been driven by the maturing of those early investments, with the founders now fully in control of their businesses. As they have scaled, and their need for guidance reduced, my focus has returned to finding and working with the next wave of startups.
What have been the notable changes during your tenure?
The biggest surprise is still being here after 10 years! In terms of changes, the deeper integration between portfolio company offerings, with Dimensions being the most obvious example, has challenged the company to work across teams and cultures without removing the identity of any participant. Achieving this has been one of the most impressive aspects of Digital Science.
Have the core principles remained consistent?
Yes – we are still from and for the community of science and research. Without that, we would not be where we are today, so it is protected from top to bottom.
How would you like to see DS develop?
That’s really a question for the CEO, but I’m excited to see what we can build from our newly-added portfolio offerings – what will be the next Dimensions… I’m also keen to keep sharing our expertise and insight with the early stage startup community.