Imperial launches innovation fund to back in-house start-ups

“Early stage investment really matters for deep science and technology,” said ICL provost, Professor Ian Walmsley

Imperial College London (ICL) is bidding to support the development of cutting-edge technology with the launch of an innovation fund.

The initiative will back early-stage companies founded by staff and students, collectively focused on areas including quantum computing, biochemistry, genetics, materials, engineering, medicine, and data science.

“Early stage investment really matters for deep science and technology start-ups,” said ICL provost, Professor Ian Walmsley.

“The Imperial College Innovation Fund will provide invaluable support to Imperial-founded companies at this critical stage in their growth.”

ICL start-up companies are developing disruptive technologies that can have global impact and benefit wider society
 – Parkwalk CEO, Moray Wright

Start-ups associated with ICL have attracted circa £800m of new investment over the last five years, with the number of young companies more than doubling in that time.

High profile successes to date have included Magic Pony, which uses artificial intelligence to provide expanded data for images, and was bought by Twitter for around £120m in 2016. GraphicsFuzz, meanwhile, which tests the security and reliability of Android graphics drivers, was sold to Google for an undisclosed sum in 2018.

“Our staff and students are founding companies that move markets, disrupt industries, and address societal challenges,” added Walmsley.

“We are immensely proud of the economic and social impact they deliver for the world. This bold step [in launching the innovation fund] will offer new ways for investors to engage with Imperial’s groundswell of entrepreneurial talent, while amplifying the impact of our work.”

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The fund is set to offer both early-stage support and follow-on funding, alongside investment from venture capital funds and sector management companies and groups.

Tech sector investor, Parkwalk, will manage the innovation fund on behalf of ICL.

“Imperial is one of the world’s great universities, with a particularly strong reputation in deep science and technology,” said Parkwalk CEO, Moray Wright.

“Its start-up companies are developing disruptive technologies that can have global impact and benefit wider society, as well as create the potential for significant investor returns.”

From the archive: Imperial invests in STEM


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