Russell Group letter on the success of UK university spin-out companies

19 January 2023

Russell Group Chief Executive Dr Tim Bradshaw had a letter published today (19 January 2023) in The Times on the success of spin-out companies in the UK and the important role universities play in helping to get them off the ground.

You can read the letter below and on the Times website here. For further information you can read our briefing on university spin-outs here

The Times letters


Sir, Nathan Benaich’s portrayal of UK universities’ role in getting spin-out companies off the ground (business, Jan 16; letter, Jan 17) under-represents the help they provide.

In return for an average share of 33 per cent of equity that reduces as new investors buy in (not more than 50 per cent as Benaich implies), universities help with patents, licences, business plans and attracting investment. In cases where less support is provided the average is as low as 10 per cent. This is a marked difference from the support given in the US and is crucial outside London and the southeast, where finding early-stage investment capital is much harder. It also explains why only one in ten university spin-outs fail compared with the wider start-up environment, where under half succeed.

These spin-outs are a British success story, with businesses spun out of the 24 Russell Group universities alone bringing in 33,000 jobs and £4.9 billion of investment to towns and cities across the country in 2020-21. While misleading comparisons with Silicon Valley ought to be avoided, I agree with Benaich that building on this success is key to growth across the UK.

Dr Tim Bradshaw

Chief executive of the Russell Group 

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