Academic Spin-Offs and Technology Transfer in Europe
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Academic Spin-Offs and Technology Transfer in Europe

Best Practices and Breakthrough Models

Edited by Sven H. De Cleyn and Gunter Festel

While the US has traditionally been successful in commercialising new technologies, Europe is confronted with an increasing dependency for fast developing technologies like biotechnology or ICT, despite having some of the best universities in the world. This book will explore the key attributes of commercialising academic knowledge, focusing on spin-offs. Bringing together the visions and best practices used by leading academics and professionals across Europe, the editors provide new and practical insights on the topic in an attempt to resolve the European paradox.
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Chapter 4: Systematic spin-off processes in university–industry ecosystems

Helmut Schönenberger


This chapter discusses a new systematic spin-off process that has been developed and piloted since 2002 by UnternehmerTUM, the center for innovation and business creation at Technische Universität München (TUM). The objective of this university-affiliated entrepreneurship center is to initiate and accelerate more innovative companies that will develop into large global players. Munich, with its ongoing economic success, its cluster of mid-sized and large companies, its entrepreneurial history and its recently expanding culture of entrepreneurial endeavor, provides a highly supportive ecosystem for the development of scalable start-ups. Nevertheless, Munich has not been able to regain the momentum of the high-growth ‘Wirtschaftswunder’ period in the 1950s and 1960s. By constantly building and improving a new spin-off process, TUM and UnternehmerTUM have shown new ways to reignite a substantial flow of university-related start-ups. In 2013, more than 20 scalable high-tech start-ups were founded within the network. This chapter starts with an overview of regional characteristics, the entrepreneurship strategy of TUM, and the setup of its entrepreneurship center, UnternehmerTUM. In the second part, the implemented spin-off process is explained in more detail, followed by a description of KICKSTART, the incubation program of UnternehmerTUM and TUM. Around 80% of all TUM start-ups focus on business-to-business markets. This means that the entrepreneurship center is also specialized in initiating partnerships between start-ups and established companies. The enabling activities to generate more start-up-industry collaborations are the focus of the third part. The chapter ends with a discussion of current challenges and the future outlook.

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