Photo: Kaare Smith

DTU is exceptional at creating spin-outs

According to the report ‘Knowledge for Growth 2016’, for the past five years, more than every third spin-out from Danish research institutions comes from DTU.

DTU accounts for a large part of the spin-outs emerging from Danish research institutions over the past five years. Thus, 34 out of the 90 spin-outs come from DTU, states the Danish Ministry of Higher Education and Science in a press release about the annual ‘Knowledge for Growth 2016’ report.

DTU spin-outs include Shape Robotics which develops educational robots, so children and young people can learn to program, Find Zebra which develops Big Data solutions that help to spot rare diseases, MonTa Biosciences which develops cancer immunotherapy, and Aqubiq which develops a Smart IoT (Internet of Things) water consumption system.

Highest number of spin-outs
The number of spin-outs is the highest, since the Ministry started counting the number of spin-outs in 2000. In 2016 alone, 21 new spin-outs were reported from universities and regions.

Furthermore, spin-outs from universities often evolve into large companies more often than other entrepreneurial businesses. Figures in last year's ‘Knowledge for Growth’ showed that these spin-outs after six years had a staff of 10 full-time equivalents on average, while the same figure for the average entrepreneurial activity was 1.7 full-time equivalents.

Benefits society
“The report shows that DTU’s strategic prioritization of bringing early technology to the market via spin-outs works. All the new businesses originating from DTU are examples of how we deliver new technology for the benefit of society. This can help generate growth and jobs,” says Marianne Thellersen, Director for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

DTU was behind the record number of start-ups in 2016, where a total of 67 new companies were created, of which 44 were established by students, while employees were behind the remaining 23. This represents an increase from 2015, where 54 companies were established—31 by students and 23 by employees.

Hip to be entrepreneur
Marianne Thellersen notes that the large number of student start-ups is due in part to the current social trend that it is ‘hip’ to be an entrepreneur. This trend is being supported at DTU through entrepreneur environments like DTU Skylab and Scion DTU science park, where students from different fields meet.

Other initiatives also target students, among other things, they can get advice from mentors, lawyers, and accountants at an entrepreneurs’ dinner. The ‘student start-up of the year’ has also been honoured for the past four years at DTU’s Commemoration Day.

Watch video on innovation at DTU Skylab.