date and time icon Tue, 05 Sep 2023

Edinburgh Napier enters UK Top 10 for successful spin-outs

Edinburgh Napier has been named a top 10 university in the UK and second in Scotland for generating spin-out companies, according to one of Europe’s largest venture capital teams.

The report from Octopus Ventures – Gateways to growth: Entrepreneurial Impact Report 2023 – sees ENU climb an impressive 33 places since the last report in 2020, making the University the third highest climbing institution in the UK. Gateways to growth - entrepreneurial impact report 2023

And ENU is among high-profile company in the top 10 which includes the universities of Oxford and Cambridge as well as University College London and King’s College London. The University of Dundee was named number one. 

The report explores and celebrates how UK universities are fuelling economic growth and solving society’s biggest challenges. At the heart is an impact rating, which ranks universities using crucial indicators influencing spin-out activity at universities.  

These are disclosures, patents, spin-outs created, and subsequent financial transactions associated with exits. The exiting of spin-out companies is fundamental to how well universities perform in the ranking.  

The wide variation in resources available to each of the universities is taken into account and weighted according to the funding inputs received by each institution. The ranking uses the latest available data from a decade long-period, sourced from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), and the approach emphasises long-term performance. 

The report has taken into account high-profile spin-outs from Edinburgh Napier in recent years, including many in the cyber arena, as well as emerging sectors of augmented reality and renewables such as:  

  • 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. 

Professor Nick Antonopoulos, Deputy Vice Chancellor and Vice Principal of Research & Innovation at Edinburgh Napier, said: “This is wonderful recognition of the work that goes on at Edinburgh Napier. We have a track record of delivering pioneering research and translating this research into economically impactful spinouts which are creating high-value jobs and helping put the City of Edinburgh and Scotland on the map as a leading research and development nation.  

“Our academics are also entrepreneurs who provide our graduates with the skills they that need to grasp the opportunities of the continuing digitalisation of all sectors of our economy and support Scotland’s economic transformation.” 

Fiona Mason
, Head of Business Engagement and IP Commercialisation within the University’s Research, Innovation and Enterprise Office, said: “As the top modern University for research power and research impact (REF 2021), the Octopus rankings reflect the commitment we have made to propel our world-leading research onto the commercial world-stage.  

“Together with the support of the broader entrepreneurial community such as Scottish Enterprise and the Royal Society who have invested in our emerging spin-outs and championed our entrepreneurs-in-residence, we are now creating a strong pipeline of future change makers to add to our growing success. By investing in our infrastructure, embracing a strong commercialisation process and inspiring entrepreneurial culture from the heart of our University, we are working together to make a difference on the world-stage.” 

Dr Amy Nommeots-Nomm, Deep Tech Investor, Octopus Ventures said: “Edinburgh Napier University is a great example of how institutions can demonstrate spin-out success and build a pipeline of academics turned entrepreneurs. With their expertise and support, it is no surprise that they have climbed 33 spots on our Entrepreneurial Impact Ranking since 2020, to take the number 10 spot. Alongside others in the top 10, including The University of Cambridge and The University of Dundee, Edinburgh Napier University has created an environment in which entrepreneurs can thrive and we are thrilled to have spotlighted their success.”

Download the report here >