Imperial College London, one of the world’s leading universities, is today launching its first ‘Innovation Fund’ to back early-stage spin-out startups founded by students or staff, or with a research or development link to the institution.

The first fund will be managed by university spinout fund manager Parkwalk, an obvious choice as the latter already manages funds in conjunction with the universities of Oxford, Cambridge and Bristol.

The new fund will offer Imperial alumni and investors the opportunity to support the commercial development of some of the scientific research and technologies coming out of the renowned public research university. Its size was not communicated.

Imperial says it intends to lead rounds at the early stages of spin-out companies, but also provide follow-on funding, and actively seek out co-investors as well as matched grant funding from institutions.

Previous Imperial spin-outs have been acquired by the likes of Google (GraphicsFuzz, in 2018) and Twitter (Magic Pony, in 2016). At present, the university boasts 17,000 students and 8,000 staff.

Professor Ian Walmsley, Provost of Imperial, said: “Early stage investment really matters for deep science and technology startups. The Imperial College Innovation Fund will provide invaluable support to Imperial founded companies at this critical stage in their growth.”

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