Queen’s University Belfast tops Entrepreneurial Impact Ranking 2020

The ranking remains largely unchanged since its inaugural release last year, placing the University of Cambridge, Cardiff University, Queen Mary University of London in second, third and fourth positions, respectively.

“The ranking shows the impressive progress that university spinouts are making”

The University of Dundee entered the top five, overtaking the University of Leeds, which is now ranked sixth.

Octopus sees universities as “foundational to the companies we invest in”, partner Simon King noted in the report.

“In the UK we are lucky to have a high density of world class universities that spin out world-class businesses,” he wrote in the foreword.

“These institutions are melting pots for smart people, technologies and ideas; the precursor to creating new companies,” he said.

“We believe there remains further opportunity to create world-leading spinout companies in the UK. Our goal with this report is to identify which institutions create investor-ready spinouts and to share the reasons why they are successful for the benefit of all.”

The report highlighted QUB’s early stage focus on “rigorous customer discovery” had helped the university build quality over quantity in terms of its spinout companies.

“The confidence that commercial leadership derives from this approach has also helped bridge the gap between risk and reward, which so many early stage spinouts find a challenge when going to market for commercial hires,” it noted.

“That, combined with a creative approach to early stage funding, is yielding continued success with exciting opportunities such as Re-Vana, Cibus Analytical and Sonrai Analytics all securing initial seed funding deals this year.”

Investor interest in deep tech companies continues to grow, and spinout companies offer both economic and societal benefits, such as job creation, it continued.

“The Entrepreneurial Impact Ranking shows the impressive progress that university spinouts are making. 2018-19 was a record year for universities in terms of their exits,” the report added.

“A diverse range of successful companies was produced, with specialisms spanning from genetics to robotics.”

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