The commercialisation process of Helsinki Innovation Services enables to turn research into business.
Problem addressed: Helsinki Innovation Services Ltd (HIS) has created a spin-out and entrepreneurial process in 2015 to help matching a researcher and his innovation with an entrepreneur. It also assists in the business plan development. HIS is a technology transfer company owned by the University of Helsinki and it is responsible for the commercialisation of the University owned intellectual property.
How the objectives are reached: When the researcher makes an innovation and an invention disclosure is done, HIS can start the entrepreneurial process. The researcher has typically a technical role in the spin-out and HIS searches for an entrepreneur for the business side. After a match between the researcher and the entrepreneur, a Non-Disclosure Agreement is signed and the development of the business plan begins. There are several meetings with HIS and with the University of Helsinki Funds. The business plan is presented to the Commercialisation Advisory Board of the University and based on its proposal, a company can be established. The researcher, the entrepreneur and the University of Helsinki Funds invest in equal terms in the share capital. Finally, there are negotiations on IP license agreement. After the launch, new seed investments are possible. The duration of the process after the match is about 3-9 months.
Main stakeholders: Researchers of the University, businesses, potential start-ups, experts on commercialisation and funding, financiers and investors
HIS receives an annual funding of 1.5 million € to enable researchers and the University to commercialise the research results. It has 14 employees and some personnel resources of the University, e.g. lawyers can be used. Some of the staff is recruited directly for the commercialisation projects.
Evidence of success
There have been more and more invention disclosures in the University of Helsinki. There were 57 yearly invention disclosures in 2014 and after the new university-wide commercialisation policy was released, the number of yearly invention disclosures has increased to 108 in 2017. After the release, there has been 10 spin-out companies launched.
Even though the positive results, commercialisation is still a challenge in the Finnish research, especially when it comes to expanding the base of the early innovation commercialisation.
Potential for learning or transfer
The HIS process from the invention disclosure to the market is systematic and can be transferred. It has established collaboration between highly-qualified researchers and business in association with the University. In addition, it introduces a methodological chain from the invention disclosure to the business. This methodological chain supports the potential of HIS to be transferred.
The timeframe is realistic and enough money is available. The resources of HIS aren´t huge, but it is worth noticing that the services and the experts of the University can be used, e.g. lawyers. In general, the HIS model is highly relevant for the regional economies, because it brings research institutes and businesses closer to each other and helps to commercialise innovations.
Please login to see the expert opinion of this good practice.