QMUL launches scheme to invest in new university innovations
Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) has launched a scheme offering the chance to invest in new technologies and innovations developed by academics and students at the university.
The QMUL Enterprise Investment Fund will provide early-stage seed capital (or in exceptional cases, some follow-on funding) to new academic and student enterprises as they ‘spin-out’ of the university, and potentially also to established university-related companies, in order to drive the early stages of commercial product development.
The Fund will offer tax relief for individual investors under the government's tax-efficient SEIS and EIS schemes*, and it is expected to appeal particularly to alumni and other investors interested in investing in new businesses arising from QMUL research and innovation.
Graeme Brown, QMUL Director of Technology Transfer, said: “The university has a track record of creating successful spin-out companies from its research base and student population. Some of these companies have not only had a financial impact, producing investment returns that can be reinvested in supporting research, but also a strong societal impact, enabling new technologies and innovations to be progressed to a level where they can be of benefit to the wider public.”
Identifying new technologies
Queen Mary Innovation Limited (QMI), the university’s research commercialisation company, has an active programme of identifying and developing new technologies and innovations that can be ‘spun-out’. The university makes significant annual investment in internal funding schemes to develop commercial projects, but there often remains a lack of available funding to take commercial opportunities to the next stage, where they might be attractive to external investors or licensors.
The aim of the Enterprise Investment Fund is to bridge that gap by providing initial seed funding to spin-out companies to allow them to demonstrate the commercial applicability of the product or service, and to drive the commercial value of the spin-outs, enabling them to access more substantial funding. All of the investment opportunities considered by the Fund will be sourced by QMI.
The Fund will be managed by Javelin Ventures Limited, an experienced FCA-regulated fund manager, and will benefit from a highly-experienced Investment Advisory Committee comprising respected entrepreneurs and investors from across technology sectors.
Graeme Brown added: “The Fund intends to invest in early-stage companies with high-growth prospects and investments are expected to reflect the university’s broad and diverse research and enterprise activities. While investments at this stage are very high risk, they will be helped by the support and assistance provided by QMI and Javelin.
"Individual Investors will also be encouraged, if they wish, to become directly involved in the development of new enterprises, for example as directors or business mentors, or though providing business support and introductions.”
QMI hope to complete the raise by the end of December 2017.
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