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Earlybird launches €75M fund to support start-ups from European universities


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: October 13th, 2021

Earlybird, a venture capital firm focused on European tech start-ups, is creating a new €75 million (over $86.5M US) fund to support companies launched out of European universities.

The UNI-X fund will work with 45 professors at universities including RWTH Aachen University, the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and Imperial College London, with the goal of investing in 40 university spinouts.

Many start-up founders and investors say that Europe is lagging in the commercialization of technologies developed at its universities, despite the fact that its research community is nearly as prolific as that of the U.S. Out of 116 VC-backed unicorns, only four are university start-ups.

“In the U.S., people take the opportunity to found and spin out their great ideas,” says Stephan Rauscher, one of the founders of the UNI-X fund. “Here, we’re still at the point where people after their engineering studies go rather to BMW, Bosch, or one of the bigger players.”

Much of the criticism has been aimed at European universities themselves for not properly supporting founders — for example, by taking too large a share of equity in their start-ups. The UNI-X team wants to address these concerns, but not by competing with universities or their tech transfer offices.

“We have to join forces,” says Phillipp Semmer, partner and seed investor at UNI-X. “Universities need to prep the start-ups in a way that they have access to the IP, and we are there to provide the funding. If we both work together and nobody’s too greedy, we’re going to have a fair deal.”

Source: sifted

Posted under: Tech Transfer e-News

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