Development & Alumni Relations Office 



LAUNCH OF SECOND INNOVATION INVESTMENT FUND FOR UNIVERSITY SPIN-OUTSRed brick Lanyon Building in late afternoon shadow with blue sky

20 May 2022

QUBIS Ltd (the commercialisation arm of Queen’s University Belfast) has announced the launch of the second Innovation Investment Fund in conjunction with Sapphire Capital Partners LLP.

The Innovation Investment Fund is an early stage, growth-targeted (S)EIS Investment Fund. It provides qualifying investors with an opportunity to invest in university spin-out companies formed to commercialise scientific and technological research from Queen’s and other partner universities, while benefiting from SEIS and/or EIS tax reliefs.

It aims to accelerate the growth of spin-out companies by providing crucial funding to help commercialise research, building upon the impressive track record that Queen’s has in this area.

In 2021 the debut Innovation Investment Fund was launched raising £1.2M, with significant contributions from Queen’s Alumni and local investors. The Fund to date has invested significantly into new Queen’s spin-out companies (including ReproGo, Aramune Technologies and Amply Discovery) providing a vital source of new capital to these impactful companies.

QUBIS Ltd is recognised as the leading University Technology Transfer Office in the UK in respect of realised returns to investors according to the 2019 and 2020 Octopus Ventures Entrepreneurial Impact Ranking Reports.

An extract from the November 2019 Report reads:

'Queen’s University Belfast has been found to be the most effective in terms of its production of spin-out companies and successful exits, relative to the total funding received.

'Through QUBIS, the commercialisation arm of Queen’s, the university has had a number of notable successes such as Kainos, Andor Technology and Fusion Antibodies, all of whom have been listed on the London Stock Exchange. Andor Technology was subsequently purchased by Oxford Instruments in 2013 for £176 million.'

Other key highlights of QUBIS Ltd include:

●    Achieved three IPOs of portfolio companies including Kainos Group Plc listed in 2015 and currently valued at over £1.3 billion.
●    Attained circa £75 million in equity realisations from investments. Current unrealised equity holdings amount to circa £212 million.
●    Cumulative dividend income received by QUBIS Ltd from investments to date in excess of £13 million.
●    Over 100 spin-out companies to date.
●    QUBIS Ltd spin-out Sonrai Analytics awarded ‘Best University Spin-out’ in Ireland at InterTrade Ireland’s Seedcorn 2020 Investor Readiness competition. Aramune Technologies was named the ‘Best Early Stage’ at InterTrade Ireland’s Seedcorn 2021 Investor Readiness Competition.

Speaking about the investment opportunity Brian McCaul, CEO of QUBIS Ltd, said:

“We are excited to launch the second Innovation Investment Fund alongside Sapphire, to enable investors to work with QUBIS Ltd and to support our companies on this journey.

“QUBIS Ltd has a track record in creating disruptive start–ups, and otherwise helping commercialise cutting–edge technology from the Queen’s University research base.  Crucially, QUBIS Ltd also has a strong record in generating investor returns. For the second year running, Queen’s University, via QUBIS Ltd, has been ranked as the number one of all the 100+ universities in the UK for generating returns ahead of peers. This placed us ahead of universities such as Oxford and Cambridge, again, in terms of converting research investment into investor returns.

“The fact that this ranking measures university spin-out activity, and investor returns, over ten years underlines Queen’s University’s continued ability to efficiently translate research innovations into commercial success.

“Naturally we’re also proud of our significant contribution to the economic development of the Northern Ireland region. Behind QUBIS Ltd we have University colleagues in our IP, Innovation, and Commercial teams that have helped achieve this double benefit of investor return, and economic impact for Northern Ireland.”

Check out this video to hear more from Brian about the QUBIS Innovation Fund :

Sapphire Capital Partners LLP are the appointed Fund Manager. Sapphire, a multi-award-winning investment management firm based in London and Belfast, currently manages over 35 SEIS and EIS funds across a wide variety of sectors, bringing the partners’ expertise in investment management, corporate finance, accounting and taxation to the funds. The partnership, founded in 2009, is authorised by the FCA (FRN: 565716) to act as an investment manager. Further details can be found at https://www.sapphirecapitalpartners.co.uk/

Please visit https://www.sapphirecapitalpartners.co.uk/innovation-fund  if you would like to find out more about the QUBIS Innovation Fund.

Investing in start-ups and early-stage companies involves risks, including illiquidity, lack of dividends, loss of investment and dilution. It should be done only as part of a diversified portfolio. There is no assurance that the investment objectives of any investment opportunity will be achieved or that the strategies and methods described herein will be successful. Past performance is not necessarily a guide to future performance and the value of an investment may go down as well as up. Investors are recommended to seek independent advice before committing or if they have any doubts as to the appropriateness or suitability of such an investment in relation to their specific circumstances. Investments made in investee companies via alternative investment funds are not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). For more details, please contact us or refer to their website: www.fscs.org.uk.

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