date and time icon Thu, 09 Nov 2023

ENU contributes to bumper year for Scottish Enterprise spinout support

Scottish Enterprise (SE) has supported the highest-ever number of academic spinouts via its High Growth Spinout Program (HGSP), with Edinburgh Napier University (ENU) researchers among those bringing forward innovative ideas and projects.

Figures for the 2022-23 financial year reveal that Scotland’s economic development agency supported 33 research teams with a total of £2.06m in grant funding. Within the same period 14 HGSP alumni companies saw continuing growth, leveraging a total of £35.5m private investment as well as undertaking £9m of R&D activities.

SE supports research teams to commercialise their innovative ideas and projects, transforming them into successful businesses. This facilitates the creation of homegrown high-value jobs and the development of new products and services for domestic and international markets, generating significant economic impact for Scotland.

ENU was among eight institutions to bring forward successful projects in that period – with some notable ongoing examples of its work.

Cybersecurity project TrueDeploy secured £199,952 in funding in September 2022. Led by Pavlos Papadopoulos (pictured), who lectures at Edinburgh Napier University’s School of Computing, Engineering & the Built Environment, it aims to bring trust and transparency to the software supply chain.

More recently, LastingAsset – a tech solution to combatting phone-based impersonation and imposter scams – was also backed by the HSGP.

Adrian Gillespie, Chief Executive of Scottish Enterprise, said: “The HGSP supports brilliant academics to turn their ideas into commercial reality, creating high growth companies for the future. We are delighted that it has been a record year as spinouts are vital for Scotland’s economy, and our academic researchers play a pivotal role in tackling global challenges, such as climate change, energy and health.”

Innovation Minister Richard Lochhead said: “I congratulate Scottish Enterprise for such impressive results in ensuring through this programme that our world-leading universities have a clear pathway to market.

“Close working between government, industry and universities is central to the Scottish Government’s National Innovation Strategy to maximise our research potential and bring about new products and businesses which benefit society and our economy.

“We are committed to working with our universities to enhance the role they play. This is why the First Minister recently announced a ten-year Entrepreneurial Campus plan to strengthen global networks and support more university startup businesses.”

Edinburgh Napier has a strong record in supporting spinout projects in recent years:

  • Symphonic Software, which has developed technology to prevent fraud, improve cybersecurity and compliance, and was acquired by Ping ID in 2020. 
  • Cyacomb, a new generation of rapid digital triage for law enforcement, helping scan devices for known child abuse or terrorist content up to 100x fastest than traditional methods.  
  • MemCrypt, which offers recovery from ransomware attacks without paying ransoms or spending months retrieving data.  
  • ZoneFox, a unique data security solution that helps organisations and businesses identify, respond to and manage risky behaviours that put critical data at risk. It was acquired by Fortinet in 2018.
  • 3Finery, which specialises in augmented reality and how it can be used to bring objects to life. For example, through apps on mobile devices in museums or everyday environments.
  • Celtic Renewables, whose patented low-carbon technology converts unwanted and low-value biological material, such as that from the whisky production industry, into high-value renewable chemicals, such as sustainable biofuel. 

ENU was also recently named in the top ten UK universities – and second in Scotland – for generating spinout companies.

Pavlos Papadopoulos