New VC fund to invest in spin-outs from University of Copenhagen
15 million Danish Kroner. That is the initial stake in the new investment company “UCPH Ventures” launched by Copenhagen Science City-partner University of Copenhagen in collaboration with the venture fund EIR ventures. The main focus of the new limited company is to co-invest in new start-ups, that spin out from the university’s own research. Primarily within pharmaceuticals and the health sector. By Jes Andersen.
University of Copenhagen is establishing the investment company “UCPH Ventures” to boost entrepreneurship activities among researchers working at the university. It is the first time that University of Copenhagen establishes an investment company of this kind and Rector Henrik Wegener hopes that UCPH Ventures will help the university’s researchers through the first challenging phase of their entrepreneurship ventures.
Spin-out companies represent one way in which the university transfers knowledge to society. But especially in the early phase of a spin-out’s life, it is difficult to find patient investors who are also willing to take a risk on early ventures. At the University of Copenhagen we believe so much in our innovative researchers that we are also willing to invest in them and contribute to their resilience and sustainable development. We hope that our support will rub off on other investors”: Henrik Wegener, Rector, University of Copenhagen.
Several investors join new, large-scale venture fund
The need for collaboration with private investors is evident in the structure behind UCPH Ventures. The University of Copenhagen has established UCPH Ventures as a side vehicle to the venture fund, Eir Ventures. Eir’s investors include the European Investment Fund, Vækstfonden, Novo A/S, the Swedish investment fund, SamInvest, and six Swedish universities as well as a number of private investors.
Collaboration is crucial for success
The basis for the collaboration with Eir Ventures is a co-investment agreement. Eir Ventures is responsible for evaluating the investment potential and UCPH Ventures will be able to co-invest in companies based on UCPH inventions.
The collaboration is a great advantage for University of Copenhagen. It gives us the opportunity to establish an investment company to support our researchers, and it also provides access to the considerable investment expertise concentrated in Eir Ventures. Eir will be able to leverage UCPH’s investments into our own spin-outs – exactly what is needed if our new companies are to succeed”: Henrik Wegener, Rector, University of Copenhagen
A unique Nordic initiative
The Nordic region has a long tradition of drug development and health innovation. The shortage of professional capital , however, has frequently been a limiting factor for the development of products for the benefit of patients. According to Stephan Christgau, one of the four founders of Eir Ventures, this is why they founded Eir Ventures, and that is also why UCPH Ventures has been established.
UCPH Ventures is a unique initiative. This is the first time that a Nordic university has established a partnership with a venture fund in this way. We look forward to working with one of the highest-ranked European universities within medical research and to investing in new, innovative companies from the University of Copenhagen.”: Stephan Christgau, Co-founder, Eir Ventures.