UU Invest and Beijer Foundation’s innovation-friendly investments
27 January 2022
Uppsala University, through UU Invest AB, and the Kjell and Märta Beijer Foundation are now adding depth to their work by jointly creating better conditions for the funding and commercialisation of novel research ideas. UU Invest has long invested in research that generates new enterprises – and with this collaboration, they will gain improved access to investment capital through the Beijer Foundation.
“Thanks to this collaboration with the Beijer Foundation, UU Invest AB will be able to offer researchers improved scope for building solid companies of major value to society. We’re very glad the Foundation has chosen to work with UU Invest. It’s a stamp of quality for us,” says UU Invest’s CEO Gunilla Lundmark.
UU Invest, a state-owned holding company managed by Uppsala University, is the investing arm of the University’s innovation activities. It invests in innovative firms originating in research and/or knowledge in all three disciplinary domains at the University.
“We’re often the first ‘external’ investor in the company, and at that stage the other owners may be the founders and their families. We then often make various follow-on investments, while trying to help find other investors. We finance a handful of new firms annually and make a total of 20 to 30 investments a year,” Lundmark says.
Collaborating with the Beijer Foundation means that UU Invest will evaluate the innovation or the company, and then propose a potential investment to the Foundation (if the company concerned agrees). The Foundation will match UU Invest’s contribution, enabling the companies to benefit from “twice the capital” at this early stage.
As an owner, the Foundation will be passive and impose no demands other than those UU Invest makes. For the next three to four years, it will make “shadow investments”, provided that UU Invest and the companies opt to include them.
“The Beijer Foundation has been funding research in Sweden since 1974. Through our new collaboration we want to support researchers’ important work in a new way, thereby promoting innovation,” says Anders Wall, the Foundation’s Chair.
More Uppsala businesses with research ties
Lundmark hopes the improved scope for financing innovations will bring about more research-oriented companies in Uppsala.
“We’d like researchers and students to contact us if they’re thinking of starting a business and see they’ve got a business idea they need help with, but perhaps don’t want to form a company themselves.”
Facts: UU Invest and The Kjell and Märta Beijer Foundation
UU Invest, a state-owned holding company managed by Uppsala University, is the investing arm of the University’s innovation activities. It invests in innovative firms that spring up from knowledge and/or research at the University. Since it started, UU Invest has successfully implemented investments in about 100 enterprises and is now a minority owner in 44 “portfolio companies”.
The Kjell and Märta Beijer Foundation was formed in 1974 with a donation from Kjell and Märta Beijer. Under the statutes, its primary purpose is to promote natural science research in Sweden. A further aim is to contribute to education and teaching, and the Foundation also seeks to foster culture, especially in design and interior decoration. Over the years, it has also supported activities and projects in music, art handicrafts, history and literature. Its share portfolio consists mainly of holdings in Swedish companies, and shares in Beijer Alma AB make up one of the largest holdings.