Edinburgh sets new record for company creation on campus

A record number of 44 spin-out and start-up companies have been established through the University of Edinburgh's enterprise support network in the past 12 months.

The University supported the formation of three spin-out and 41 start-up companies in 2014/15 – a total that supersedes the previous best of 40 five years ago.

Investment in University-founded companies has also hit a record high, with a total backing of £237million invested in the past year. The development strengthens the University’s position as Scotland’s leading research institution.

Over the past five years, Edinburgh has supported the formation of 184 companies, which employ a total of 343 people.

They are supported by Edinburgh Research and Innovation (ERI) – the University's commercialisation arm – and wider enterprise network on campus.

The new companies have contributed more than £140 million to the Scottish economy and helped to create a further 2,300 jobs, according to the independent consultancy BiGGAR Economics.

Since Edinburgh’s first recorded spin-out, Reynolds Medical, was established more than 40 years ago, the University has created a total of more than 400 start-up and spin-out companies.

Recent commercial successes include spin-out, pureLiFi. Its light-enabled internet technology, developed in the University’s School of Engineering, is being incorporated at the home of the Golden State Warriors basketball team in San Francisco.

Also performing well is Krotos, which was set up by sound design graduate Orfeas Boteas. It has developed Dehumaniser sound effects software for film, television and video games and was recently used as the voice of Ultron in the latest Marvel’s Avengers movie.

Commenting on the year’s achievements Grant Wheeler, Head of Company Formation at ERI said:
“Edinburgh is now emerging as the largest technology hub outside London, and at the heart of that phenomenon is the University and its enterprise scene.

“Whether it’s from the world class research base or from the student entrepreneurs, we're seeing new companies being formed here and in record numbers. And more and more have the potential to develop further.”

One example of these high flying technology companies is FanDuel, a fantasy sports league enterprise, with roots in the University’s School of Informatics, which recently secured US$275 million of investment. Fanduel now joins Skyscanner as Edinburgh’s second Unicorn company – defined as a company worth over US$1billion.

The Principal of the University of Edinburgh, Professor Sir Timothy O’Shea said:
“Edinburgh is amongst the most entrepreneurial universities in the United Kingdom. The first class support provided by the University and the wider enterprise support network play an important role, not only in the student experience but in delivering impact for the world class research coming out of our University.