Venture Support Unit
Building new businesses around research with Imperial Innovations' Venture Support Unit
Starting a company is a major undertaking. As the originator of the research around which the company is based, you will be at the centre of the spinout from the outset. You are likely to be an initial shareholder and may play a very active role in the company.
The Venture Support Unit can facilitate you in the early stages. Your contact can provide a range of advice and practical support as well as helping you bring in experts.
In the pre-spinout stage, a great deal of essential work is undertaken to give your spinout a solid foundation for success.
Working with the Venture Support Unit, you will:
- Identify and secure your intellectual property. IP is a key asset and without it there may be no company worth forming.
- Complete IP Due Diligence to make certain exactly who owns the IP - this is essential information that investors and management will want to be comfortable with.
- Develop a forward-looking IP strategy.
- Assess potential customers and the market for your spinout and identify the key value proposition. Great technology isn't enough - you need customers.
- Develop a financial model and business plan
- Develop an executive summary and investment pitch to help you access funding in the future
How does forming a spinout benefit Imperial College London?
The creation of a successful spinout company is good for the individual involved, the local and national economy, and, as importantly, Imperial College London. Imperial’s position as one of the global top-ten universities relies on its proficiency in producing pioneering research. If the College can also commercialise the IP that is generated from this research then it stands to enjoy long-term financial as well as reputational rewards.
Through Imperial Innovations, the College invests its IP as well as significant infrastructure and resources to support the creation and support of Imperial spinouts. In return, as an investor in its staff, IP and other resources, the College receives equity in spinouts and a share of long-term royalties.
Importantly, spinouts also provide a clear demonstration of societal impact, important for the REF assessment wherein 20% of government funding is assigned on this basis. Though there are other routes to societal impact, spinouts tick a lot of boxes in terms of moving products towards market, creating employment and local economic development.
Spinouts also provide a valuable source of employment options for post-doctoral researchers, only a small percentage of whom enter full-time academia. In addition, many undergraduate students now expect and demand support for entrepreneurial activity and spinouts offer a useful network of experienced people willing and capable of providing valuable mentorship and advice. This supports the further expansion of the entrepreneurial ecosystem, to the lasting benefit of the University.