University spinouts amassed record investments in 2021

New figures suggest UK university spinout companies attracted 500% more investment than a decade ago

New figures suggest that UK university spinouts attracted record levels of investment in 2021, up nearly 70% from the previous year.

Figures compiled by investment company Parkwalk and data analysts Beauhurst show that investment grew to £2.5 billion last year – an increase of 69% from £1.5bn in 2020.

According to the figures, six companies raised more than £100m in 2021: Oxford Nanopore Technologies, from the University of Oxford, topping the list with £195m.

Spinouts from Oxford and the University of Cambridge had the most equity deals in the UK, with 57 and 42 apiece, raising £743m and £501m, respectively. Bristol’s portfolio had the third-highest figure, with 25 deals and a total annual investment revenue of £266m.

The reported figures show that last year’s results come at the end of a decade of growth in investment in HE spinouts: the number of equity investments has risen from 209 in 2012 to 389 in 2021, with the combined value rising by 527% from £405m to £2.54bn. Although there were slight dips in 2019 and 2020, the report suggests these were most likely the result of Brexit and Covid uncertainty in the market.

Moray Wright, chief executive of Parkwalk, said there was an “increased appetite for first-time equity deals, and a record level of overall funding for spinouts”.

“But we still believe that, despite the world-leading research produced here in the UK, ‘deeptech’ is still hugely underfunded at the scale-up stage—especially from UK investors.”

Aside from those residing in the UK, the most prolific investors were American, Dutch, Chinese, German, and French. Most companies acquired by buyers outside the UK were in the US, Japan, Switzerland, and the Netherlands.


Read more: University IP revenue nearly doubles in five years, new Hesa data shows

Related news: 10 standout university spinouts

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