Who we are

Cambridge Enterprise was formed by the University of Cambridge to help students and staff commercialise their expertise and ideas. What we do is central to the mission of the University, which for more than 800 years has contributed to society through the pursuit of education, learning and research at the highest levels of international excellence.

At Cambridge Enterprise, we help academics achieve the impact that is central to securing long-term funding for research. Our success is measured in the success of our University partners as they bring their work to market, be it ground-breaking stem cell research, critical suspension technology used in Formula 1 racing, or a flower seed mix to enable bees to flourish and crops grow. We’re here to make the world a better place by helping to create a legacy of products, services and advice that benefit not just the University and the UK, but everyone.

What we do

  • Triage disclosures and note the economic and societal benefits of an invention/idea.
  • Assess whether publishing or protecting is the best route for dissemination/achieving impact.
  • Assign a case manager and provide continuity throughout the period of our collaboration.
  • Assess or suggest routes for commercialisation consistent with the inventor’s ambitions.
  • Provide clients with access to expert help and guidance, drawing upon external sources when necessary.
  • Provide Seed Investment to start new companies and help to run them in the early years.

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    • Pay for patents, proof of concept, external legal costs (‘out of pocket expenses’), recover income and distribute net revenue under University policy.
    • Work with professional attorneys and inventors to register valuable intellectual property rights (IPR).
    • Undertake due diligence risk, patentability and freedom to operate assessment.
    • Assist founders in the creation of new businesses by helping them to build a team and develop a business plan.
    • Introduce spin-out companies to the financial community when further funding is needed.
    • Provide costing and pricing advice for academics providing consultancy services.
    • Ensure that contracts and agreements protect our clients’ best interests.
    • Negotiate business terms, licences, contracts and other agreements.
    • Assist in informal dispute resolution, as necessary.

We always

  • Manage expectations upfront
  • Keep inventors informed and involved
  • Respect confidentiality and safeguard data

What we don’t do

  • Draft patents (we use patent attorneys)
  • Decide revenue share (this is determined by University IPR policy)
  • Write business plans, but we will offer advice, comment on and review them
  • Fund lifestyle companies
  • Extensive market assessments
  • Calculate Return on Investment (ROI), Net Present Value (NPV), etc
  • Formal dispute resolution
  • Provide legal, financial and tax advice
  • Project manage, except in cases where we have provided proof of concept funding


Image: The Hauser Forum.