from David Cleevely
CBE FREng, FIET
You’re reading this because either you want to spin out a company or you want to learn more about how spinouts work. Either way this handbook is full of useful information for would be entrepreneurs, those who help them, and those who fund them.
This handbook does two things. Firstly it provides you with a basic guide to how spinouts get spun-out, who the players are, what is involved in the process, why intellectual property is important, what you need in a business plan and information about fundraising and team building. If you are a would-be entrepreneur then study this as you would a vital piece of research about our own field. The process you are about to embark on is complex and takes time. Don’t assume it is obvious or common sense. The better you understand the map, the more straightforward your journey will be.
The second thing the handbook does is provide you with an insight into the motives and behaviours of everyone involved. This is much more complex than you might think – especially if you are an academic with an idea that seems so obviously brilliant that it must get funded. Perhaps the most valuable thing this handbook does is to encourage you to think about what is driving the other players in this game. You don’t need to agree with them, but if you can understand why they are saying what they say, then you have a much better chance of success. That is why we have paid so much attention to reporting how people think about the issues from their own point of view.
If you can master both the process plus the more difficult task of understanding and managing the people involved, then the chances of success will be greatly increased. For this you will need to both be humble enough to listen carefully and take on board advice, as well as sufficiently convinced that what you are doing is right and that you keep going despite set-backs and delays.
Much of this guide draws on the Academy’s experience of running our own spinout-focused grant programme since 2011, the Enterprise Fellowships, and the expertise of our Fellowship, alumni and network.
We've also reviewed existing materials, of which there are many. We’ve spoken to and surveyed academic entrepreneurs, Technology Transfer Officers, investors and more to bring all the important information and advice into one central resource. We are not attempting to replace those existing resources, and will often point you in their direction where they explain something better. This handbook is more of a companion piece to existing material. We hope it steers you in the right direction, and prepares you for the journey ahead.
David Cleevely CBE FREng, FIET Chair of the Royal Academy of Engineering Enterprise Hub, 2019 – 2022
David Cleevely is the Chair of the Royal Academy of Engineering Enterprise Hub