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University Venture Funds Making Academic Spin-offs Possible in Europe?

University Venture Funds Making Academic Spin-offs Possible in Europe?
Thursday, 26 October 2017

While the U.S. is known for having larger number of academic spin-offs, in Europe the reality of university entrepreneurship is different. It is more difficult for young university-related businesses to obtain the capital necessary to create a platform for success, long-term. This can be connected to the fact that research based spin-offs may take anywhere from eight to ten years to develop their technology and go to market. [1]

This means that the entities who invest in academic spin-offs have to be prepared to invest for the long-run. The idea of private patient capitalists is being transferred to University Venture Funds in order to make this long-term process more possible. [1] Patient capitalists within the realm of private investment are backers that take long-term strategies in order to increase profits. In this way, private patient capitalists are willing to invest over a longer period of time in order to achieve positive results. [2]

When a university creates a Venture Fund, they are preparing to invest long-term in university spin-offs, taking the patient approach to funding projects [1]. Bradley Hardiman, from the University of Cambridge, suggests that not every university needs to have their own Venture Fund, but that Funds of bigger universities will look beyond their own campuses in order to increase spin-off flow. This is good news because Hardiman advises that £50m (approximately 55.97 million euros) as a good starting point for Venture Funds—any less might not be enough to keep the fund going. [3]

Therefore, if the larger Venture Funds that exist are able to reach smaller, regional universities, this could be a way to form collaborations and create academic entrepreneurial ecosystems. In turn, these entrepreneurial ecosystems will contribute to more growth and stimulation within the academic environment. [1]