Investors come to Liverpool for first Investor-University pitching event

The first cohort of the NxNW (North and North West Universities Consortium) ICURe (Innovation-to-Commercialisation of University Research) tech start-ups from the University of Liverpool joined other leading Universities from across the North of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland to present their technologies to an audience of investors and corporates.

The ICURE NxNW programme trains, funds and supports teams led by university early-career researchers (ECRs) to determine whether there is a market for products or services that utilise their research, science or technology. With support from InnovateUK, Up to £35,000 of funding is available to ‘get out of the lab’ and validate these commercially-promising ideas in the marketplace.

Queen’s University Belfast brought together the NxNW consortium last year, consisting of 5 universities and Helix, a specialist consultancy firm, to deliver Phase 2 of the ICURe Project in the North, Northern Ireland and Scotland. The University of Liverpool was identified as a key partner with the complementary skills, expertise and experience required for the successful delivery of the ICURe programme in the region.

Dr Emma Burke, Innovation Lead for ICURe at Innovate UK, said: “This type of extension to ICURe is exactly what is needed. The teams have gained so much market knowledge in the programme, and are ripe to take their technologies forward. Having the opportunity to present their ideas to investors and corporates is truly worthwhile for these aspiring businesses.”

The first cohort were put through their paces during the pitch event to a specially invited audience of investors, corporates, trainers and the media on the 1st February 2019, hosted by the University of Liverpool’s IP Commercialisation Team. Eight teams, who are developing technologies for industries ranging from human vascular stem cells to the prevention of food fraud, delivered ten-minute pitches seeking financial investment, non-financial support and advice to help with their propositions. The day was well attended and a number of investors have already expressed their interest in having further conversations with the individual teams.

Brian McCaul, CEO of Qubis Ltd and Director of Innovation at Queen’s University Belfast, said: “All the investors praised the ICURe approach – they liked the fact that the ICURe journey involves obtaining real-world feedback and validation from the market and end-users. This is further proof that ICURe is an incredibly valuable process for accelerating the transfer of University technologies out of the lab and into the marketplace.”

The line-up included innovations in chemistry technology based on research from the University of Liverpool, read more about the projects here.

An investor from a leading startup equity crowdfunding and investment firm in London said: “The quality of pitches was very good, overall the event was well organised and a great success. I will definitely be following up with the teams separately after this event”.

University of Liverpool’s Head of IP Commercialisation, Emma Nolan, said: Liverpool is proud to have hosted this first of its kind event in the North. The feedback was really positive, and a unique opportunity for our researchers to pitch to a room full of potential investors.”

To find out more please contact the University of Liverpool’s IP Commercialisation Team here.