Imperial Innovations, the AIM-listed tech “incubator” arm of London’s Imperial College, is spreading its wings beyond South Kensington. Imperial Innovations is raising £140m in order to achieve this.In addition to Imperial College, Imperial Innovations will invest in promising tech companies born in universities at Oxford, Cambridge and UCL. Imperial Innovations intends to raise the £140m through a 350p share rights issue on AIM – a 27 per cent discount to the pre-announcement price, which makes the shares even more appetising for investors. Imperial Innovations is one of the most successful university incubators. This isn’t just because of the quality of business ideas coming out of Imperial College (which, let’s face it, is pretty prestigious anyway), but because the team behind Imperial Innovations just “gets” it: it’s about both funding and nurturing. As Anthony Miller from TechMarketView puts it, “I have high regard for the Imperial Innovations’ team, who have long recognised that funding is only part of the solution to help startups commercialise their technologies.” Imperial Innovations’ CEO, Susan Searle, says that Imperial Innovations will primarily be looking to form new companies in the fields of engineering, clean tech and healthcare. “We haven’t named specific companies but we’re familiar with the portfolio from the three universities. We’ll be looking into their science base, looking at their new ideas as they come up with new inventions.” The chairman of Imperial Innovations, Martin Knight, adds: “There is an acknowledged gap in the UK between scientific research and successful commercialisation. We believe that working with the four leading UK research-intensive universities and with additional funding, we can help to close this gap and deliver good returns for our shareholders.” We’ll certainly be keeping our eyes on Imperial Innovations.
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