Earlybird launches fund for spin-offs

Earlybird sees universities as the breeding ground for unicorn founders. Now a fund is to support more spin-offs.

Of 116 European unicorns funded by venture capital, just four spin-offs come from the pens of universities. Venture capitalist Earlybird wants to change that: It has launched a 75-million-euro fund that is primarily intended to support early-stage start-ups within colleges and universities in the deep-tech sector. A six-figure amount per investment is to flow into the spin-offs.

The fund, called Earlybird Uni-X, works with 45 professors in Europe, including RWTH Aachen University, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and Imperial College London. Earlybird has formed a team of six investors for the fund, including former employees of Aachen-based tech investor P5 Capital and the founders of Motu, a Berlin-based seed fund. As Gründerszene learned, P5 Capital is dissolving in favor of Earlybird Uni-X.

The problem: according to Earlybird, colleges and universities in Europe develop up to 60,000 new technologies or innovations a year, but only half of the ideas are transferred into a company. "In the US, people are taking the opportunity to spin out their great ideas. Here we are still at the point where people prefer to go to BMW, Bosch or one of the bigger players after their engineering studies," says Stephan Rauscher, one of Uni-X's investors.

Initial funds have already flowed into the mobility sector, as Gründerszene writes. A total of 40 spin-offs are to be supported.

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Investor 1997 Berlin Earlybird Earlybird is a venture capital investor focused on European technology innovators.

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