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Spin-out venture fund achieves first close

MTI and The University of Manchester today announce the first close of Europe’s largest institutional fund to have a single university focus ndash; the UMIP Premier Fund (“the Fund”).

With funding from a broad range of UK and European institutional and supranational investors, including EIF (European Investment Fund), NESTA (National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts), Co-operative Insurance Society and others, the Fund has initial backing of €42 million (£32 million). The fund manager, MTI, believes that it is likely the Fund will eventually close at €65 million (£50 million).

The Fund will make most of its initial investments in the £250,000 – £750,000 range, but with the intention and the capacity to continue investing up to an average of £2m – £3m. Once it is fully invested, the Fund is expected to comprise a portfolio of approximately 20 investments.

The University of Manchester & UMIP
The University of Manchester is the UK’s largest university, with over 30,000 students and 4,500 academic and research staff, and the alma mater of 20 Nobel Prize winners. The University has a successful spin-out track-record, and the early stage commercialisation of the University’s intellectual property through successful spin-outs will continue to be managed by The University of Manchester Intellectual Property Ltd (“UMIP”).

Companies which have emerged from the University have attracted over £150m of funding over the last 5 years and include successes such as Transitive, and Renovo – a wound treatment company listed on the London Stock Exchange and valued at approx. £300m.

The UMIP Premier Fund will have preferred access to all investment opportunities generated by technology research at The University of Manchester, which has an abundance of 5-star research departments, and boasts some of the finest technology investment opportunities in the UK. The Fund will focus on investing in young technology companies, and will have both the ability and capacity to support their growth through follow-on investment.

Professor Alan Gilbert, President and Vice-Chancellor of The University of Manchester said: “This is a ground-breaking initiative establishing a hugely creative vehicle for providing academics with access to the capital to develop the world-leading research, for which the UK is renowned, into world-beating companies.”

UMIP has teamed up with the UK’s leading technology investment manager, MTI, in order to exploit the rich seam of latent opportunity within The University of Manchester and to turn it into commercial success.

The UMIP Premier Fund will draw on MTI’s experience of investing in technology companies and developing their operational and marketing excellence. MTI’s experience in injecting new skills, contacts and strategies will drive growth and success in these investment areas.
MTI has more than two decades of investment management experience, and over that period has managed four venture funds dedicated to technology investments. MTI is in the process of appointing a dedicated, professional technology fund manager for UMIP to be based in Manchester.

Ernie Richardson, CEO at MTI, said: “We have seen evidence of some incredible ideas within the research departments of The University of Manchester. This Fund will enable those researchers to gain access to the finance and business skills to turn their ideas into real businesses, and generate substantial value. What could be more exciting? The support of our investors like EIF, has enabled us to create the biggest such fund in Europe.”

A launch event will be held in London during May.

For further information on The UMIP Premier Fund please visit www.theupf.com

Contact information:
Ernie Richardson, Managing Partner + 44 (0) 1923 250 244
Robin Hepburn, Media contact for MTI + 44 (0) 20 7796 9999

The University of Manchester/UMIP
Professor Rod Coombs, VP for Innovation and Economic
Development, The University of Manchester + 44 (0) 161 275 8860
Clive Rowland, CEO, UMIP + 44 (0) 161 603 7751
Allan Prits, Marketing Manager, UMIP + 44 (0) 161 306 8532

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