Earlybird’s new UNI-X Fund of €75 million aims to support promising, cutting-edge ideas in Europe succeed commercially. The new fund targets attractive pre-seed and early-seed investments and especially spin-offs from tech academia.
The Earlybird UNI-X Fund will financially support and accompany super early startups to enable the build-up of entrepreneurial teams, development of their business plans, and preparation of a “proof of concept.” Across leading European universities such as RWTH Aachen University, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and Imperial College London, the fund connects a close network of 45 professors called “UNI-Xperts,” who have annual contact to about 50K students.
Hendrik Brandis, Co-Founder and Partner at Earlybird: “Basic and cutting-edge research at Europe’s universities remains absolutely world-class. Thousands of groundbreaking ideas are generated here every year yet we are still underexploiting this potential. Far too many technologies get stuck on their way out of universities. Especially in light of accelerating innovations in the deep tech sector, we urgently need to commercialize more of these ideas and technologies. To tackle this challenge, we have now launched Earlybird UNI-X with a dedicated team that complements the Earlybird family of funds structure.“
Every year, between 45K and 60K new technologies and innovations are developed at Europe’s top universities in a wide range of deep tech and high tech fields. Only half of these innovations find their way into a startup company, and then only half of these startup companies are seeking financing. This means that a lot of the innovation potential is lost.
The UNI-X team includes Frédéric du Bois-Reymond, Michael Hoeck, Stephan Rauscher and Johannes Triebs. They are joined by two experienced and high-profile seed investors, Philipp Semmer and Michael Schmitt, as well as Professor Achim Kampker from RWTH Aachen University, a renowned scientist adding experience in spin-offs to the UNI-X team as a Venture Partner. Natalia Ahmadian is the newest member to support the investment team.
“In recent years at many European universities, there have been very successful spin-offs. Far too often, however, our scientists lack the financial means, or the experience in how to build successful tech companies. In addition to technological excellence, one needs an ideal team and access to customers for pilot projects. Earlybird has precisely these resources paired with the respective know-how. That’s why I am very pleased that we can now better leverage this potential together with Earlybird,” says Achim Kampker, Venture Partner at UNI-X, Professor and Chair of Production Engineering of E-Mobility Components (PEM) at RWTH Aachen University.
Earlybird UNI-X Partner Frédéric du Bois-Reymond stated: “Following university spin-offs and emerging technologies for years, we have regularly encountered a lack of the right mindset to commercialize these ideas. Meanwhile, such startups are created either in the USA or in China. We must change this if we don’t want to lose further ground. In order to be as close as possible to the creation of these ideas early on, we built up a broad network of partners from science and research. With our new Earlybird UNI-X Fund, we can now scale this concept across Europe and help even more university spin-offs succeed.”