Universities create £250m investment company

The eight research intensive universities that form the Midlands Innovation organization have established a new investment company called Midlands Mindforge Limited “to accelerate the commercialisation of university spinouts and early-stage IP rich businesses.”

Midlands Mindforge Limited has been co-founded by Aston University, University of Birmingham, Cranfield University, Keele University, University of Leicester, Loughborough University, University of Nottingham and University of Warwick.

“This ambitious, patient capital investment company plans to raise up to £250 million from strategic corporate partners, institutional investors and qualifying individuals,” said Midlands Innovation.

“It aims to transform ground-breaking science and technology into successful businesses with real-world impact.

“Midlands Mindforge will help to address the significant funding deficit for early-stage technology businesses in the region.

“Through the combination of additional capital and company-building skills, Midlands Mindforge will lay the foundations of a more vibrant ecosystem for emerging science-backed companies in areas such as Clean Technology, AI and Computational Science, Life Sciences and Health Tech.”

Professor Trevor McMillan, chair of Midlands Innovation Board and Vice Chancellor of Keele University said: “We have one of the largest research communities in the UK with more than 14,500 academics who have a strong track record collaborating on innovative research ideas that turn spinouts into successful businesses.

“This new company creates an ecosystem to better support our research entrepreneurs and encourage innovation. By cultivating an environment where post graduate students and researchers with commercial ideas can benefit from early access to investment, we can create opportunities for our people, place and partnership to flourish.

“Midlands Mindforge will allow our universities to scale-up their research and enterprise activity. It is a catalyst for building ground-breaking businesses that help to boost economic growth, create highly-skilled jobs and support the UK’s bid to be a global science and technology superpower.”

John Peace, chairman of the Midlands Engine Partnership, said: “The Midlands has always been associated with exceptional invention and creativity, but has long experienced significant underinvestment and consequently productivity levels have lagged behind the rest of the UK.

“This bold and ambitious initiative led by the Midlands Innovation universities has the potential to help close the investment gap, supporting our region to reach its true potential for sustainable economic growth.

“Midlands Mindforge will help to further fast-track commercialisation of research ideas, creating a more resilient economy and playing an important role in levelling up the Midlands.”