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University of Tartu to establish intellectual property investment company

BC, Tallinn, 07.12.2020.Print version
The council of the University of Tartu on Nov. 30 , 2020 decided to establish the company UniTartu Ventures OU, adding an opportunity to direct the intellectual property created by University of Tartu researchers to research- and technology-intensive companies, informs LETA/BNS.

"With a university-owned private limited company, we can help researchers and also students to launch their business by directing the university's intellectual property to start-ups they establish and by looking for investors for that," Erik Puura, the university's vice rector for development, said.

According to University of Tartu council member Heidi Kakko, the establishment of UniTartu Ventures OU is a long-prepared key decision both for the university and Estonia, creating new opportunities for accelerating research-based entrepreneurship stemming from the university. "In 10 years, Estonia has achieved an excellent position in developing startups in IT. Now, we are aiming to upscale the creation of innovative international companies based on research done also in other fields. The timing is right and the expert knowledge of the researchers of the University of Tartu is the best intellectual capital for investing," Kakko said.

One objective of the University of Tartu is to be the accelerator of smart economy in Estonia. This also means that the university is more actively participating in the creation of new high-tech companies. The need for a new company mainly resulted from the success and rapid development of the Institute of Genomics, institutes of the Faculty of Science and Technology, the university’s Feasibility Fund and the university’s spin-off program in recent years.

The university-owned intellectual property to be invested in growing enterprises via UniTartu Ventures may include, for instance, data, research findings or patents. In addition to emerging companies stemming from the university, UniTartu Ventures can also cooperate with other Estonian or international technology companies that are in the early stage and need the intellectual property created at the university to develop.

The university will start looking for a CEO for the company in the second half of December. "A promising CEO candidate has extensive experience in the field of new entrepreneurship, the ability to recognize good business ideas and motivate academic staff to think along and act," Puura said.

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