Start a company

Do you want to start a University spin-out?

Whether you’re actively seeking investment money
 or are just considering the formation of a University spin-out, Seed 
Funds, the business creation and funding division of Cambridge 
Enterprise, can help.

With nearly 20 years of experience in company creation, our team 
has the proven know-how to support students and academics through direct
 investment as they build teams and raise the financing they need to 
develop products from their research. We create partnerships and link 
entrepreneurs with sources of angel and VC investing, as well as a 
network of mentors and management.

The support we provide

Cambridge Enterprise supports those trying to start a company based directly on University research or people, investing up to £۵۰۰,۰۰۰ in each University spin-out from investment funds we manage on the University’s behalf.

Significant follow-on funding is available through Cambridge Enterprise’s sister fund, Cambridge Innovation Capital (CIC). CIC has strong ties with the University of Cambridge and works closely with Cambridge Enterprise on its investments. CIC may also invest at the seed stage as a precursor to further investment.

We can work with you to make your business plan stronger, we can connect you with industry mentors and management, and we can fund consultants and proof of market studies. Since 1995, we have invested in 62 companies that together boast a three-year survival rate of 80%, compared with a national average of 30% for technology companies. You can review our equity portfolio.

If you are developing a business idea, use these slides to structure your thoughts into a business plan.

Read more

The investment we offer

We invest the University seed funds in new companies started by staff and students to enable the commercial development of University research. As such, we offer a range of investment to help develop new ventures. Among them are:

  • PathFinder investment, up to £۲۰,۰۰۰ to help carry out market and intellectual property assessments and business strategies.
  • Fast 50, a Cambridge Enterprise initiative that offers up to £۵۰,۰۰۰ for work on time-sensitive projects and critical experiments that need investment delivered quickly.
  • Seed investment, up to £۵۰۰,۰۰۰ in the initial round, to provide the first stages of company funding to advance technology development and management.

Once our investment is completed we continue to work with you to help develop and grow your business.

 The process

  • Contact us for an early discussion about your idea and its potential. A member of the Seed Funds team will work with you to develop your idea and guide you through the investment process.
  • If applicable, apply for PathFinder investment to develop your plans – we can make these smaller awards easily.
  • For larger investment, you will need to present your business plan to the Seed Funds team, which will make an assessment about whether to progress your application to the Cambridge Enterprise Investment Committee.
  • If successful, you will present your idea to our Investment Committee.

With Investment Committee approval we will put in place the necessary legal agreements to complete the investment.

Image: Dr Darrin M. Disley, Horizon Discovery Group Plc CEO and President, centre, celebrates at the London Stock Exchange.

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