Edinburgh University forms record number of start-ups

Old College at the University of Edinburgh. The institution has created more than 180 companies over the last five years. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Old College at the University of Edinburgh. The institution has created more than 180 companies over the last five years. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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A RECORD number of companies has been formed by the University of Edinburgh in the past 12 months, taking the total created over the past five years to 184.

Last year the institution supported the formation of 44 start-ups and three spin-outs, bosses said.

Edinburgh is now emerging as the largest technology hub outside London, and at the heart of that phenomenon is the university and its enterprise scene

Grant Wheeler

Investment in university-founded companies has also hit a record high - with backing of £237 million invested in 2014/15.

Since Edinburgh’s first recorded spin-out was established more than 40 years ago, the university said it has created a total of more than 400 start-up and spin-out companies.

Recent commercial successes include spin-out pureLiFi, whose light-enabled internet technology is being incorporated at the home of the Golden State Warriors basketball team in San Francisco.

The university said the businesses formed over the past five years employ a total of 343 people.

Grant Wheeler, head of company formation at Edinburgh Research and Innovation, the university’s commercialisation arm, said: “Edinburgh is now emerging as the largest technology hub outside London, and at the heart of that phenomenon is the university and its enterprise scene.

“Whether it’s from the world-class research base or from the student entrepreneurs, we’re seeing new companies being formed here and in record numbers. And more and more have the potential to develop further.”

Professor Sir Timothy O’Shea, principal of the university, said: “Edinburgh is amongst the most entrepreneurial universities in the United Kingdom. The first-class support provided by the university and the wider enterprise support network play an important role not only in the student experience but in delivering impact for the world-class research coming out of our university.”