The Krakow fund INNOventure is looking at the Polish universities for the results of research and development that can be introduced to the market and turned into a thriving companies that are attractive for capital investors. The creators of ideas are provided with shares or stocks in such established companies. INNOventure operates within the framework of the Bridge Alfa program implemented by the National Centre for Research and Development (NCBR).
The cooperation with INNOventure can be established by scientists, PhD students, graduates with their own innovative idea, experienced business developers and investors who want to participate in new projects with a large market potential.
– In the Bridge Alpha program, we cooperate with ten seed funds, whose aim is to search for promising projects of scientists and convert them into commercial success. We have started cooperation with INNOventure because it specializes in supporting research and development at Polish universities. Through this action, we support the best projects, providing scientists with the necessary know-how and funds to develop their breakthrough inventions to their full market potential – says Leszek Grabarczyk, deputy director of the National Center for Research and Development.
The task of INNOvneture is to find at universities interesting projects with market potential, offer them substantive support and to finance their business development at an early stage.
– We are aware of the fact that scientists are not entrepreneurs and when they decide to commercialize the effects of their work, they do not want to give up further scientific work. We understand this and therefore we provide them with all the necessary help to transform their inventions into business. We differ from venture funds in that we do not invest only in projects that have already been implemented, which have proved that they have market potential, customers and revenues. Such funds invest in existing companies, helping them only to expand their business or increase the scale of business. We invite originators at a much earlier stage. All we need is a unique technology, knowledge and idea, and we strive to create a business concept together with the designer, assess the chance of its success and implement it thanks to the support of the tools and people we have gathered around us – says Marcin Bielówka, president of the INNOventure board.
INNOventure is a project led by the Seed Fund of the Krakow Technology Park (among others), which has been operating since 2010. During this time, it has established over 20 companies offering innovative products or services; Nearly half of them have already been sold or have attracted private investors. The KPT Seed Fund portfolio includes projects such as HG Intelligence, DrOmnibus, Husarion, Coolomat or Sher.ly. The experience of people who have worked so far in teams responsible for financing and building new companies under the KPT Seed Fund today also serves scientists who develop their ideas with INNOventure.
– Projects from the academic environment must be treated as startups and in practice verify their business hypotheses. On the one hand, what distinguishes them is that their creators put the main emphasis on technology, based on many years of scientific work, unique inventions and often also the protection of intellectual property, which certainly creates harder barriers to entry for competitors. On the other hand, scientists attach less importance to market and business aspects, which, however, are the basis for success and in this respect they usually expect our support – says Dr Marcin Molo, Investment Director of INNOventure.
INNOventure does not limit its offer to any particular industry or university; it invites all scientists, students and graduates, and even entrepreneurs with an interesting technological projects. Within a few weeks of submitting the application, the fund decides whether to start cooperation based on an analysis of the idea in terms of its business opportunities. Then it co-creates the action plan and, where necessary, helps to build a team to implement it and supports it in legal, marketing, accounting matters etc. At the end of this process, it invests funds, which gives rise to a new company.
The fund seeks originators at universities, establishing cooperation with technology transfer centers and SPVs, as well as taking part in conferences and technology contests. INNOventure representatives look at the presented projects, talk to their creators and choose the best and most promising of them from the business point of view. Projects can also be submitted via the form at www.innoventure.vc