University of Bristol: University spinouts attract record investment

Parkwalk and Beauhurst’s Equity Investment into UK Spin outs 2022 shows 25 equity deals valued at £266m in 2021, behind Oxford and Cambridge but ahead of other universities and research institutions in the UK.

2021 was a record year for equity investments in UK spin-out companies who secured a total of £2.5 billion of investment.

Henry Whorwood, co-author of the report, said: “Spinouts make up only 0.03% of the UK’s business population. But they get more investment than average, and more exits than average. It’s heartening to see record levels of investment into spinouts this year because the intellectual property these businesses are commercialising has the potential to change lives.”

In 2021 Bristol spin out companies received funding appropriate to the different stages of their journey.

These include Forefront RF’s initial raise of £1.5m enables commercial development of their cancellation technology which redesigns the radio frequency (RF) system in a wireless device; CytoSeek raised £3.5 million to accelerate the development of new cell therapies to treat solid tumours in cancer patients; and Ultraleap completed a £60m series D investment round to transition their haptics technologies to the next level.

Bristol’s spin outs are enabled by small but dedicated teams in the University’s Research and Enterprise Division (RED).

This early work inside the University shapes emerging technology, translating research for specific uses, and developing the commercial potential, building and protecting intellectual property as the technology develops.

They work with teams both prior to and after spin-out incorporation to secure investment and develop effective boards. This is the commercialisation journey that enables so many high value investments.

Professor Michele Barbour, Associate Pro Vice-Chancellor for Enterprise and Innovation at the University of Bristol and founder of Pertinax Pharma Ltd, said: “I am delighted to see so much success for the University’s spin out companies. As a company founder myself, I know how valuable it is to have a world-leading commercialisation team guiding a spinout from the laboratory to investment.”

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