A striking initiative in turning IP into new businesses

With the support of funding from the Science and Technology Facilities Council, Oxford’s Business School hosts a week-end focused on devising ways of commercialising publicly funded IP.

           Said Business School in Oxford recently hosted the launch of a ‘Future Business Pre-Incubator’, for which the Science and Technology Facilities Council, the Oxford Centre for Entre-preneurship and Innovation and Silicon Valley Comes to the UK provided funding. Some eighty people (scientists, business people and venture capitalists) came together for a week-end, to work on a number of selected patents (chosen from the patent portfolios of ESA and CERN), with the objective of finding ways in which to commercialise publicly funded IP.

Meeting together on Friday evening, some dozen selected pieces of IP were presented, and members of the assembled company were invited to form small groups, each to work on an idea of their choosing. There was a deal of mingling between groups; there were mentors whom you could book to meet (based on their mini CVs); and there was food and coffee; and evidently plenty of hard thinking. Each group had to pitch – to a formal panel, once on Saturday, a second time on Sunday; and then with a final pitch, in competition, at the end of Sunday. Teams would split into sub-groups, each with a different objective; members would adopt different roles; and each sub-group would form its own agenda.

        The winner won an automatic place to pitch for funding to a future Demo Day event; and its members, each taking a percentage in the equity, incorporated a company on the very following day! The second team has met a number of times since, and is expecting to pitch to a group of venture capitalists during December.  

        Hopefully, the process is the harbinger of a full-blown approach to developing a Future Business Pre-Incubator. (For more, contact: mark.evans@oxfordnanosystems.com)




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