University of Leicester eBulletin

£4 Million Seed Fund Will Transform Innovative Research Into Commercial Reality

June 2002

The University of Leicester is involved in an exciting £4 million venture to support the commercialisation of innovative research from five of the East Midlands’ universities.

Launched on June 17, 2002, the Lachesis Fund provides venture capital to support promising new technologies arising from research at the Universities of De Montfort, Leicester, Loughborough, Nottingham and Nottingham Trent. 

The Fund aims to fill the funding gap that exists for early-stage technologies, seeking those with the greatest potential for high growth and investment return. It will enable these technologies to be commercialised and licensed, new businesses to be started and will in turn enhance their prospects of attracting further venture capital.

Kate Murray, Commercial Contracts and Intellectual Property Manager at the University of Leicester, welcomed the launch of the Lachesis Fund, saying, “This is wonderful news for the partnership universities, for the East Midlands region and further afield. The Lachesis Fund will play a key role in wealth creation, encouraging entrepreneurship, nurturing high growth business and helping companies of all sizes access the partnership’s extensive research capabilities through technology transfer. Access to this fund, in addition to the establishment of other related initiatives at Leicester will help further encourage the development of entrepreneurship and technology transfer at Leicester.””

Dr Dan King, the Lachesis Co-ordinator, adds, The fund will work closely with the partner universities’ technology transfer units to identify and commercially exploit its emerging technologies. We aim to create an ‘evergreen’ fund that will be sustained by returns from its successful investments.”

Collectively the five university partners boast an impressive portfolio of research activity and intellectual property. In 1999-2000 their combined income from research grants and contracts stood at £110 million and over 100 UK patents were filed. They have collectively spun out over 65 companies and the Lachesis Fund will further boost this prolific rate of spin-out company formation. The Fund will also enable a greater flow of technology commercialisation from the universities, providing a strong portfolio of opportunities for third party investment in spin-out companies and technology transfer.

The Lachesis Fund was created under the Government’s University Challenge initiative, which awarded £3 million to the Lachesis consortium, with a further £200,000 contributed from each of the five university partners to swell the Fund to £4 million. Quester1, an independent venture capital company, will manage the Lachesis Fund operating under policies set by an Investment Advisory Committee, whose members are predominantly drawn from the world of business with experience of entrepreneurship and venture creation. The Committee is chaired by Cedric Brown, previously the Chief Executive of British Gas.

Dr Gee, Investment Director at Quester, says, We are excited to be managing this new fund, which we are confident will have a major impact on the region's ability to generate new businesses. The track record of the Lachesis universities in research and innovation is impressive. We hope to build on that by the creation of sustainable new high tech companies and technologies”.


Further details of the Lachesis Fund are available at www.lachesisfund.co.uk


For further information please contact:
Kate Murray, Commercial Contracts and Intellectual Property Manager, 0116 252 2696
Dr Dan King, Lachesis Coordinator, 0115 988 8568


Notes to editors:
Founded in 1984, Quester is an independent venture capital company specialising in unquoted growth companies and has approximately £250 million under management. The company focuses on producing diversified portfolios for investors. It has teams who specialise in two areas - information and communications technologies, and healthcare and life sciences. Quester manages venture capital funds on behalf of international institutional investors and funds from academic institutions including Oxford, Bath, Bristol and Southampton Universities and a consortium of East Midlands universities. It also has five listed venture capital trusts. Both its institutional funds and its venture capital trusts have strong track records. Quester website: www.quester.co.uk


Completing the wider investment picture in the East Midlands, is the recent launch of the Regional Venture Capital Fund. This Fund aims to fill the equity gap for small to medium sized companies while providing commercial returns to investors. Supported by the DTI and the East Midlands Development Agency, the Fund will invest in businesses looking for venture capital funding for the first time.

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Last updated: June 2002
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