Cambridge University is launching a fund to commercialise the ideas and inventions of its academics, with shares now available to private investors for a minimum of £25,000.
The Cambridge Enterprise fund will seek to invest in 10 to 15 early-stage science and technology companies and is being launched in association with Parkwalk Advisors.
The minimum investment is £25,000 and the fund is accessed under the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS). This scheme allows high net worth or sophisticated investors to receive up to 30% tax relief on their initial net investment, as well as tax-free growth should the investments perform well, or loss relief if they fail.
Jonathan Moyes, head of investment research at Wealth Club said: “University spinouts are a thriving part of the UK venture capital ecosystem. 2021 saw a record £2.54bn invested in the sector, up from £1bn in 2016: £501m of this was raised by spinouts from the University of Cambridge.
“It’s great to see private investors being given the opportunity to invest at a very early stage in some of the technologies being developed and commercialised at Cambridge.
“The university’s world-renowned for its research, having been home to over 100 Nobel Prize winners and discoveries such as stem cell research and IVF.
Around £500,000 is available to private investors via Wealth Club from today and the fund will close once its capacity has been reached.
“The fund invests in companies at an early stage, making it a high-risk and long term investment. But, for the right investor, we think this is an opportunity to gain exposure to an exciting asset class which is difficult to replicate elsewhere,” Moyes added.
Portfolio company examples from previous iterations of the fund include Sano Genetics and VocalIQ.
Founded in 2017, Sano Genetics aims to accelerate the future of personalised medicine, by making the R&D process faster, more cost-effective, and a better experience for patients.
The business has doubled revenues every six months since its founding. It raised $11m in February 2022 in a round led by Seedcamp and MMC, with participation from the University of Cambridge Enterprise EIS Fund. Proceeds are expected to accelerate research into long Covid, MS, Parkinson’s, and other chronic conditions.
VocalIQ – sold to Apple – was an early-stage investment and successful exit for the University of Cambridge Enterprise Fund II.
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