Launching your own spinout company is one of the most challenging and rewarding ways to bring your research to the wider world.  

A spinout company is a private company created by one or more academics or research staff with the aim of commercialising research carried out at Imperial.  

You can find more information on how Imperial defines a 'spinout' company in our primer on the policies that apply when staff and students form companies.

Imperial owns any intellectual property (IP) created by its staff in the course of their normal duties at the university, so in the spinout process, the IP is licensed to the company by the university so that it can be developed and brought to market.  

Imperial is committed to supporting spinout companies and working to help them succeed. Imperial Enterprise will guide you through every step of the spinout process. 

Why should you start a spinout company?  

Of the available routes to commercialising your research, creating a spinout company gives you the most control over how your research is commercialised, while also requiring a substantial investment of time and energy.

The role of an academic founder is varied – you may have to take responsibility not just for the technology, but for issues like raising funds, marketing, and staffing. As the company grows and the team develops, founders who are continuing their academic work may focus more on the technology, or join the company’s Scientific Advisory Board. Whatever your involvement looks like, it will likely take up a lot of time and energy. 

Whether this is right for you will depend on your technology, the market you are looking to enter, and your personal preferences. Of course, you won’t be alone – Imperial Enterprise’s specialists will lend their expertise in areas such as spinout formation, development of a business plan, investment, and entrepreneurship to provide support before, during and after spinout formation. 

Starting a spinout company brings many benefits:  

  • Improve the world. Creating a spinout is one of the most direct – and challenging – ways to get your research out of the lab and into the wider world.
  • Broaden your horizons. Taking your research to market is an intellectual challenge quite different to what you are exposed to in academia.  
  • Expand your network. Founding a spinout brings you into contact with a wide network including industry, investors and other academics – as part of Imperial’s enterprise ecosystem and beyond.  
  • Demonstrate your impact. Your spinout can help generate case studies and entries for REF and KEF.  
  • Financial reward. As a spinout founder, you will have personal equity in the company, plus you will receive a share in the royalties of your IP via the Rewards to Inventors scheme 

Founding a successful spinout can help create a virtuous circle whereby your engagement with industry helps you learn about more problems that need solving, which can generate research ideas and opportunities to create new spinouts.