At A Glance – Spin Outs

From Cutting Edge Research to Commendable Company

A Spin Out is an opportunity to assemble experts, academics, students, and investors to source the necessary investment of money and knowledge needed to develop a technology or product. The initial creator can raise capital from various sources and – with effective preparation and management – Spin Outs can transform ambition into world class companies.

Spin Outs are surprisingly common and incredibly valuable, though the term is often lost in a sea of definitions. Essentially, they are companies with university research at their core. They function in many fields, but healthcare tends to be the most populated.

From University College London, Achilles Therapeutics was born, a biopharmaceutical company developing cancer therapies. With £13.2m backing from life science investment company Syncona LLP and help from the Cancer Research Pioneer fund, this company demonstrates how Spin Outs can receive considerable support.

Another triumph story comes from Oxford’s Zoology department, where mobile video games company NaturalMotion was bought in 2014 by US gaming company Zynga for $500m.

The University of Aberdeen is also well known for having produced over 30 Spin Out companies with strong potential. Here is an extensive list from other UK universities:

There tends to be confusion about the differences between Start Ups and Spin Outs. Both are attempts to transform an idea, refine a product or prototype and make them useful for either the consumer or society as a whole. However, Spin Outs are primarily created within another organisation – typically a university or higher education institution. The university will either invest itself or help the creator secure potential funding.

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