Clare Birch

What do you do at Blackbird?

I work with incredibly ambitious, talented, and creative early-stage founders and operators to bring out their best for investment. I'm also our Scientist in Residence, so I work closely with our researchers (particularly PhD students and postdocs) to improve the calibre of startups coming out of universities, and help our best and brightest talent aim for the stars.

What did you do before Blackbird?

Overall? Academic science. I did a healthy load of undergraduate research in chemistry and maths, with a focus on computational chemistry (I'm a published scientist!). I still adore it. I was on my way to doing a PhD in quantum computation for chemistry at Oxford when I was diverted into Blackbird, and I wouldn't change it for the world. Just prior to joining Blackbird, I was the first employee and do-it-all type at DeadlyScience, a Eureka Award-winning nonprofit that provides STEM resources to remote schools.

What do you believe that others do not?

Taking responsibility is freeing. Everyone should go to therapy. There is nothing better in life than being generous.

What ideas are you excited by right now?

A few things! I have a hearty focus on deep tech, which puts me comfortably at the nexus of all things weird. We've barely scratched the surface of what is creatively and commercially possible with synthetic biology, which will be a tool equivalent to programming this decade. Quantum computation takes my breath away. Software-enabled bioplatforms that have genuinely impressive computational underpinnings are wonderful.