Imperial College London has launched its first Innovation Fund to invest in early-stage, high-growth, data-driven tech start-ups created at the university.
The institution’s strong recent performance has seen the number of start-ups emerging from its South Kensington campus more than double in the past five years, attracting nearly £800m of new investment.
Two of its most successful spin-outs are GraphicsFuzz, which was bought by Google in 2018, and Magic Pony, an artificial intelligence start-up that was acquired by Twitter in 2016.
The new fund will help support the commercial development of Imperial’s discoveries into solutions in data science, quantum computing, medicine, engineering, biochemistry, and genetics.
Imperial will invest in solutions founded by staff members or students, or with a research or development link, to build a portfolio of (S)EIS-qualifying investee companies.
It will invest at an early stage and provide follow-on funding. Imperial will also invest alongside other venture capital funds, investment management companies, and investor groups. It may also seek matched grant funding from suitable institutions.
In 2019, Imperial took its technology transfer organisation back in-house, to provide the wider investor community direct access to the College’s most innovative entrepreneurs, their ideas, and start-ups.
Imperial College London’s Provost, Professor Ian Walmsley, said: “Early stage investment really matters for deep science and technology start-ups. The Imperial College Innovation Fund will provide invaluable support to Imperial founded companies at this critical stage in their growth.
“Imperial’s thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem is unrivalled in the UK. Our staff and students are founding companies that move markets, disrupt industries, and address societal challenges. We are immensely proud of the economic and social impact they deliver for the world. This bold step will offer new ways for investors to engage with Imperial’s groundswell of entrepreneurial talent, while amplifying the impact of our work.”