Club des Spin-offs

ULiège launches the ULiège Spin-offs Club

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In Research Business and Innovation

The convergence of the desire of the founders and CEOs of spin-offs themselves to have a dedicated space in which to exchange ideas, and ULiège's desire to keep in touch with them to improve the follow-up of future spin-off creation projects.

With more than 150 companies created in its laboratories over the past 40 years, the University of Liège (ULiège) marks a new milestone in its commitment to entrepreneurship and innovation with the launch of the ULiège Spin-offs Club. The club was launched on November 29 at the Château de Colonster, in the presence of founders of spin-off companies, managers of partner companies and directors of support structures.

The ULiège Spin-offs Club: an initiative designed by and for inno-entrepreneurs

Initiated by ULiège-RISE and Gesval, ULiège's technology transfer and investment company, several meetings were held in the first half of 2023 with some twenty entrepreneurs, CEOs and spin-off founders, to identify the needs of these entrepreneurs, to list the gaps or shortcomings of initiatives targeted at them, and to determine the services that the Club could offer.

Together, they then laid the foundations of the ULiège Spin-off Club to meet the specific needs of these atypical entrepreneurs (innovators and creators, hence the term inno-entrepreneurs), highlighting their arduous journey and their growing need for support and peer exchange, particularly in the early years of the spin-off's life.

Pr Michel Moutschen, Vice-Rector for Research at ULiège: " The paradox is that we often discover things as a team, in the laboratory, but find ourselves quite alone in carrying out a project to create a company from an innovation. Even if there are a lot of people around the cradle during the various stages of the spin-off's development, it's right afterwards, when other difficulties arise, that you need to talk to peers, people who have encountered similar problems. That' s one of the benefits of the club: to create a close-knit group of people specifically for innovo-entrepreneurs."

Didier Mattivi, director of ULiège-RISE, says: "We want to create with Rise and Gesval a powerful synergy within our community of innovator-entrepreneurs. The Club will not only strengthen ties, but also provide essential resources to support the entrepreneurial journey and ongoing development of spin-off companies."

Axel Kupisiewicz, CEO of Lasea, emphasizes:"The Club goes beyond simple networking, offering themost experienced entrepreneurs the opportunity toshare and pass on experiences and practices essential tothesuccess of spin-offcompanies andthese entrepreneurs."

 

Club objectives: Inform, Support, Exchange, Collaborate

The Club is open to all companies spinning off from ULiège laboratories, and is therefore positioned as a network of inno-entrepreneurs. Membership is free and reserved for individuals meeting specific criteria, such as being the CEO of a spin-off company, a founding member, or having a project to create a spin-off.

It offers its members an exchange and mutual support network based on trust and confidentiality. It aims to provide answers to the common concerns and challenges of these inno-entrepreneurs, by offering a varied program of activities such as themed meetings, company visits, experience sharing, and more. The aim is to strengthen ties and facilitate interaction between founders and/or CEOs of spin-off companies, who can then freely exchange views on specific themes.

Stéphanie van Loo, CEO of LiveDrop, a spin-off active in the design of cell analysis instruments for biotechnology, emphasizes the importance of sharing experience: "The transition from researcher to entrepreneur is not always easy. The Club des spin-offs will give entrepreneurs access to experienced contacts and valuable feedback."

Daniel Simon, CEO of V2i, an engineering, experimental testing and measurement office in the field of vibrations, adds: " For me, the Spin-Off Club represents an opportunity to consolidate our network of ULiège spin-off entrepreneurs, forged over two decades with V2i. Based on trust and mutual understanding, this informal circle has evolved. Thanks to the Club, I hope to extend this precious network, listen, open doors, share experiences and good times with young entrepreneurs. And to be inspired by the eyes of younger entrepreneurs!"

By joining, each member undertakes to work in a spirit of partnership, respect, non-competition, trust and listening. The Club aims to be a neutral space dedicated to constructive exchanges.

 

ULiège Spin-offs: a dynamic and flourishing ecosystem

ULiège, through its RISE department and its technology transfer and investment company, Gesval, created in 1993, has generated the creation of 159 spin-off companies since 1984, 110 of which are still in business. a further 3 are in the process of being created, bringing the total number of spin-offs created to 162 in the very near future.

The 110 companies still in operation include Eurogentec, Amos, Mithra, Ampacimon, Lasea, Spacebel and many others. Most of these companies have enjoyed considerable success and/or continue to expand, making them leaders in their sectors.

The latest news from these spin-offs includes recent fund-raisings by Ampacimon, Nomics and LiveDrop, the takeover of Nanocyl by the Indian group Birla Carbon, new strategic partnerships for KitoZyme and KiOmed, new developments for Aquilon Pharma and Cytomine, building extensions for Lasea, BVI-Medical (ex-Physiol) and Kaneka Eurogentec, and prestigious awards for RumeXperts and Sopiad.

And let's not forget the very young start-ups created in very different sectors:

  • LiveDrop, active in the design and development of instruments for single-cell protocols based on droplet microfluidics;
  • Theratrame, active in the development of new therapeutic solutions for cancer;
  • Beblue Crytoech, a strategic supplier of cryogenic tests in Europe;
  • Gembloux.beer, a brewing cooperative set up to relocate production of Gembloux Abbey beer to the Gembloux campus

To capitalize on the research results generated by ULiège laboratories, these companies have benefited from the support of RISE, Gesval and all the operators in Wallonia's research and innovation ecosystem, such as funding programs, incubators and invests.

This well-established innovation ecosystem is undoubtedly a key success factor in the creation of these companies and their survival rate, which is close to 85% after 10 years for ULiège spin-offs.

The ULiège Spin-offs Club

With the ULiège Spin-offs Club, we're not adding another structure. On the one hand, it's the only place that uniquely brings together creators of spin-off companies, and it's their wish to have a space like this to discuss their journey, help and advise each other. On the other hand, it's invaluable for us at RISE, because as a structure that supports the first steps between the start-up project and the creation of a spin-off, we need to listen to these innovo-entrepreneurs to remain relevant and effective with the next ones.

Didier Mattivi

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