German uni fund set-up

A British investment bank has set-up a €50m fund with a German university to support spin-outs from its technology department.

First London Securities is working with Humboldt-Innovation, the technology transfer office of Humboldt-Universitat zu Berlin, in a deal which will see First London manage the fund as well as use existing assets to fund investments, alongside potential contributions from institutional investors and business angels. The fund will have teams in both Berlin and London.

Humboldt is one of the leading hot houses for innovation in Germany, a recent spin-out being the German version of Facebook called StudiVZ, the largest on-line community in Germany. It was acquired by a major German publisher.

Humboldt-Innovation was set-up three years ago to facilitate research commercialisation, and currently supports 20 spin-outs. Guy Saxton, chief executive of First London, said: “It has an impressive track record of commercialising university spin-outs and by making up to €50m of capital commitments, First London will help it to significantly increase its IP commercialisation programme. This deal gives us a reliable and proven partner with access to all the interesting IP of Germany’s leading research University. Humboldt has a well-deserved world-class reputation for research, innovation and commercialisation and we are delighted they wish to strengthen their relationship with us”.