Spinning out with IP Group

Pete runs a team of five who work closely with the Group’s UK university partners to help commercialise some of the fascinating research output we see. He also sits on the Group’s Executive Committee.  Pete joined IP Group in March 2014 following the acquisition of Fusion IP plc, where he was co-founder and Operations Director.

How does IP Group work with its university partners?

Typically, my team is the first point of contact with our UK university partners and will work closely with the universities’ technology transfer teams and academics to assess initial disclosures for their potential commercial viability alongside possible exploitation pathways.  Our team in the US operates a similar close model with our partners there.

How many people are in the new business & partnerships team?

We are currently a team of six.  We have three people in life sciences with Dr Stuart Plant covering our university partners based in the South of the country and Dr Simon Chandler who covers partners based in the North.  Dr Keith Wreggett looks at biotech opportunities nationwide.  Then in physical sciences, we have Dr Lee Thornton who works with Stuart in the South and Dr Aidong Xu who works alongside Simon.

How does the process of starting a new company begin?

Almost always an introduction by the university TTO, which is followed by an initial meeting with an academic/inventor.  We might offer commercial and technical feedback or we might suggest getting more information to strengthen a proposition with the intention of shaping that opportunity for investment.  Other options include helping to obtain funding from public sources to move the technology up the technology readiness level, or TRL, scale or providing some initial funding ourselves to further prove a concept or help build a prototype.  In short, we’re fascinated by new technology breakthroughs and excited about building businesses around them.  We look at many different opportunities and adopt a variety of approaches, depending on what we feel is important to develop a strong investment proposition; it’s not a one size fits all approach.

What happens next?

A progression plan is discussed and additional meetings are held to make sure everyone is kept updated.  Typically, we’ll be looking to move projects up the scale to the point where they are ‘investment committee’ ready.  A positive decision at investment committee, which will involve senior members of the wider IP Group team, means the agreed development plan gets funded to progress the technology to a point where it enters into our portfolio and, typically, it will then be looked after by one of our sector team experts.

What’s different about the IP Group approach?

The key things, I think, are that we like to be very ‘hands-on’, are involved from an early stage, we are in it for the long-term as genuine partners from ‘cradle to maturity’ (and that is usually many, many years) and that we bring a lot of experience.  We’ve been doing this for more than 15 years now so we have seen a lot!

What specific services does IP Group offer other than funding?

We have spent many years honing our approach to business building and are able to offer our portfolio companies all of the key skills we think are critical to success under one roof.  So, for example, we have our own in-house early-stage executive search team, IP Exec.  They help recruit experienced individuals to lead new businesses alongside founders, something which we have found is critical to the success of the spin-out company. 
IP Assist provides operational and business support dealing with the formalities and day-to-day realities of running a limited company, while IP Capital can help source capital at later stages as well as provide advice on corporate finance matters. 
IP Impact, meanwhile, is an in-house programme aimed at improving company performance by working closely on personal development with members of company boards.

How should people get in touch with you?

We love hearing from all our partners and, indeed, non-partners with great ideas. 

Please just email us at newbusiness@ipgroupplc.com.

 

Posted on Tuesday, 20 December 2016 under Company News