University spinouts: a British success story

30 November 2022

UK universities are world leaders in commercialising their technology. Their cutting-edge innovation and approach to technology transfer means they punch above their weight in producing successful spinout companies. In 2020/21, businesses spun out of the 24 Russell Group universities alone created 33,000 jobs and brought in £4.9bn of investment to towns and cities across the country.

University technology transfer offices (TTOs) are focused on making a positive impact in the world, which is why most do not make a profit. Instead, UK TTOs provide a much wider range of support for fledgling tech businesses than their counterparts in the US. This includes filing patents, helping form business plans, hiring CEOs, negotiating licences, finding investors, and often providing vital proof of concept funding. Given the UK’s less well-developed private-sector support for these activities and its lack of early-stage investment, TTO support is vital to high spinout success rates.

The equity stake UK universities take in spinout companies reflects this heightened level of support. Unlike many US universities, UK universities’ equity is usually dilutable, meaning it reduces over time as new investors come into a spinout. Importantly, this means British universities typically end up owning comparable shares of a company to their US counterparts.

Read our briefing on university spinouts below.

University spinouts: a British success story

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