Major boost for company creation

The University has secured a major investment deal to commercialise its research.

Investment firm MTI is to invest in companies and commercialisation projects emerging from three universities - Edinburgh, Manchester and University College London.

MTI will create a new venture capital fund, called the Orion Fund, which will invest up to £150 million into ventures at the three institutions.

The Orion Fund will also feature a Proof of Principle investment programme that will provide development funding for academic research teams to develop promising technology with the potential for commercialisation.

MTI sees this as a tremendous opportunity to supercharge the commercialisation of intellectual property, with additional, rather than replacement, capital and expertise. The introduction of a significant wall of capital should provide a great opportunity for business creation and investor returns.

Richard HendersonMTI Managing Partner

Edinburgh Research and Innovation

Edinburgh’s research and commercialisation group - now known as Edinburgh Research and Innovation (ERI) - was created in 1969.

Since then, the University has had great success at turning the business ideas of students and staff into commercial ventures.

Its successes include developing the first genetically engineered vaccine against Hepatitis B, while major companies spun out from the University include oil surveyor MTEM and manufacturer Wolfson Microelectronics.

ERI is well established as one of the leaders at technology commercialisation in the UK. In the last academic year, ERI secured research funding of over £187 million for the University and completed 65 license transactions with new and established companies.

Between 2008 and 2011, ERI supported the formation of over 100 new companies, the most of any University in the UK.

Its LAUNCH.ed programme for student entrepreneurs was also recognised in 2011 as the leading higher education innovation programme of the year.

Our partnership with MTI is important news for the University of Edinburgh and good news for the Scottish economy. It will introduce a new investor to the Scottish scene and one capable of making significant investments into our best spin-out and start-up companies. As a result, more of those companies will develop into major international enterprises and this will deliver real benefit to the local economy.

Professor Sir Timothy O’SheaUniversity of Edinburgh Principal

Commercialisation expertise

In total, 35 new firms were created in the 2010-2011 academic year, further strengthening the University’s position as Scotland’s leading research institution.

This success follows on from the 40 companies created in 2009-2010, a record for a Scottish university.

In 2011, Old College Capital, the University’s new investment arm was launched. This will inject investment funding into some of the University’s leading spin-out and start-up companies.

In February 2011, Old College Capital made its first investment of £200,000 into NGenTec, a renewable energy technology spin-out firm formed from the University’s School of Engineering.

The University of Edinburgh continues to produce some of the most exciting research and innovative young companies with technologies that boast global potential, and this new partnership is excellent news that will help drive further investment and confidence in those companies.

Jim McFarlaneManaging Director of Operations, Scottish Enterprise