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Bristol showcases the economic and social benefits of cutting-edge spinouts

The University of Bristol has a rich history of research commercialisation and has been spinning out companies since the 1990s University of Bristol

Press release issued: 21 November 2023

As the Government publishes its much-anticipated review of spinouts, the University of Bristol highlights why these companies are thriving in the city – and bringing significant social and economic benefits with them.

Professor Michele Barbour, Associate Pro Vice-Chancellor for Enterprise and Innovation at the University of Bristol and herself a spinout founder, said of the review: “The Government’s review of spinouts identifies a number of very useful recommendations for creating a thriving ecosystem for spin-out companies, and for supporting the academic founders whose research gives rise to them. We welcome the review and the greater consistency, transparency and cooperation across the sector that it seeks to create.“

A spinout company is a new company that is formed to apply academic research in a commercial context. By applying research in this way, spinouts can generate real world impact by helping solve some of the world’s biggest challenges. These companies also contribute to local and national economic growth and productivity.

As such, many spinout companies specialise in technological advances, and the University of Bristol is no exception, with companies thriving in fields such as quantum computing, artificial intelligence, clean energy, and health technology.

The University of Bristol has a rich history of research commercialisation and has been spinning out companies since the 1990s with a steadily increasing output. Typically, between four and six new spinout companies are created each year.

Beauhurst, a company which runs a searchable database of the UK’s fastest-growing companies, has ranked Bristol 6th in the UK for the number of spinouts.

Professor Evelyn Welch, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Bristol, said: “Spinouts are an excellent way to maximise the impact of the University of Bristol’s outstanding research while creating new jobs, economic growth, and significant social benefits.

“As a university and a city, Bristol is one of the best places to create and grow a company. We are committed to making the processes involved as transparent and seamless as possible and welcome the Government’s recommendations.”

Highlights of the University of Bristol’s spinout portfolio include:

  • Semiconductor chip company Xmos, which had a turnover of $24m last year and has spun out a company of its own called Graphcore.
  • Bristol has generated one of the largest clusters of quantum companies in the UK, with recent University spinout funding including KETS Quantum Security (£3.8m in 2021), QLM Technology (£12m in 2022) and Phasecraft (£13m in 2023). 
  • Scarlet Therapeutics have created a new technology to develop red blood cells that carry additional proteins within them to provide therapeutic benefits which can reach all parts of the body.
  • Purespring Therapeutics have developed technology to advance gene therapies for the treatment of chronic renal diseases that are currently poorly addressed with existing treatments.
  • Inductosense has developed a cost-effective ultrasonic sensing system for monitoring internal corrosion and erosion which is used by operators across a range of industries to provide highly accurate wall thickness readings.

Harry Destecroix, University of Bristol alumnus and founder of Ziylo and the Science Creates incubators, said: “Over the last five years, the University of Bristol has seen a number of game-changing spinouts emerge, catalysed by research excellence.

“From Quantum to AI through to engineering biology, the deep-tech - as well as the entrepreneurial ecosystem, including venture capitalists, dedicated incubators and accelerators - has been thriving and is starting to be globally recognised. And it is only just getting started!” 

Find out more information about the University of Bristol’s spinout companies here: Our spin out companies | Business and partnerships | University of Bristol.

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