University of Copenhagen (UCPH) and Eir Ventures, a life science focused venture fund, have established a limited company with the main aim of investing in the University’s own spin-out companies.
It is the first time that a Danish university establishes an investment company of this kind.
The newly-established investment company, UCPH Ventures, will co-invest in new companies that spin-out from the University of Copenhagen’s own research. UCPH Ventures will help the university’s researchers to get through the first challenging phase of their entrepreneurship ventures.
“Spin-out companies represent one way in which the university transfers knowledge to society. But especially in the early phase of a spin-out’s life, it is difficult to find patient investors who are also willing to take a risk on early ventures. At the University of Copenhagen we believe so much in our innovative researchers that we are also willing to invest in them and contribute to their resilience and sustainable development. We hope that our support will rub off on other investors,” says Rector of the University of Copenhagen, Henrik Wegener.
Funded with a DKK 15 million capital commitment
The University of Copenhagen has established UCPH Ventures as a side vehicle to the venture fund, Eir Ventures. Eir’s investors include the European Investment Fund, Vaekstfonden, Novo A/S, the Swedish investment fund, SamInvest, and six Swedish universities as well as a number of private investors. The Eir Ventures investment team consists of experienced individuals who have raised €122.3 million for the fund whose investment focus is within the health sector, and primarily on new drugs.
UCPH Ventures is founded with a DKK 15 million capital commitment. The company will only invest in spin-outs established on the basis of inventions created by researchers employed by the University of Copenhagen and on IP owned by the university. The basis for the collaboration with Eir Ventures is a co-investment agreement. Eir Ventures is responsible for evaluating the investment potential and UCPH Ventures will be able to co-invest in companies based on UCPH inventions.
“The collaboration is a great advantage for University of Copenhagen. It gives us the opportunity to establish an investment company to support our researchers, and it also provides access to the considerable investment expertise concentrated in Eir Ventures. Eir will be able to leverage UCPH’s investments into our own spin-outs – exactly what is needed if our new companies are to succeed,” says Henrik Wegener.
A unique Nordic initiative
“UCPH Ventures is a unique initiative. This is the first time that a Nordic university has established a partnership with a venture fund in this way. The Nordic region has a long tradition of drug development and health innovation. The shortage of professional capital is often the limiting factor for the development of products for the benefit of patients. This is why we have founded Eir Ventures, and that is also why UCPH Ventures has been established. We look forward to working with one of the highest-ranked European universities within medical research and to investing in new, innovative companies from the University of Copenhagen,” says Stephan Christgau, one of the four founders of Eir Ventures.
The board of UCPH Ventures will consist of Kim Brinckmann, deputy director for Research and Innovation at the University of Copenhagen and chairman of the board, Susanne Kure, previously Vaekstfonden and currently a board member in several private foundations and companies, and Alexander Schröder from the company Private Equity Administrators (PEA) who will handle the administration and the day-to-day operations of UCPH Ventures.
UCPH Ventures is expected to make the first investments in the course of early 2022.
Photo of University of Copenhagen, Nørre Campus: Jakob Dall