The Earlybird Uni-X Fund will support early-stage spinouts originating from European institutions such as RWTH Aachen and Imperial College London.
Earlybird, a Germany-based venture capital firm, launched a €75m ($88m) fund today aimed at pre-seed and seed-stage spinouts across Europe.
Called Uni-X Fund, the vehicle will aim to offer capital at a time when companies are still building their teams, developing their business plans and working on a proof of concept.
The fund will source opportunities through a network of 45 professors, dubbed Uni-Xperts, at institutions such as RWTH Aachen University, Imperial College London and Karlsruhe Institute of Technology.
Earlybird estimated that between 45,000 and 60,000 technologies are developed at Europe’s universities but only half of these become the source for a company, and only half of those startups then seek some type of financing – so two-thirds of commercial opportunities are lost.
The fund’s partners are Frédéric du Bois-Reymond, Michael Hoeck, Stephan Rauscher, Johannes Triebs, Philipp Semmer and Michael Schmitt. RWTH Aachen’s Prof Achim Kampker has joined as venture partner, while Natalia Ahmadian is alos on the investment team.
Prof Kampker said: “In recent years at many European universities, there have been very successful spinouts. Far too often, however, our scientists lack the financial means, or the experience in how to build successful tech companies.
“In addition to technological excellence, one needs an ideal team and access to customers for pilot projects. Earlybird has precisely these resources paired with the respective know-how.
“That is why I am very pleased that we can now better leverage this potential together with Earlybird.”
Founded in 1997, Earlybird has more than €1.5bn under management. Its portfolio already includes several spinouts, such as satellite technology launch services provider Isar Aerospace, private web browser developer Xayn and molecular diagnostics company Sense Biodetection.