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Parkwalk invests £50 million into university spin-outs in 2019


Parkwalk’s Opportunities EIS Fund, the largest EIS Fund in the 2018/19 tax year having raised £63m, has invested in over 20 deals this year with investment rounds varying from £0.75m to £25m with an average of £5.5m. The university spin-out sector has been burgeoning with deal activity this year.


 

Parkwalk has deployed £50m in the spin-out space, backing companies from plant genetics to graphene production, AI driven insurance platforms to genomics.

Moray Wright, CEO of Parkwalk Advisors, told GBI Magazine: “Our investment team has seen record deal flow in the past 9 months and we have closed a number of deals across the university spin-out sector – often as part of double digit funding rounds.

“Our thorough due diligence process in addition to the university layer of due diligence means that we are only investing in the most commercial and innovative science and technology businesses coming out of our UK universities and research institutions”.

As a result of the deployment figures, Parkwalk have been named 7th in the global top 10 Internet of Things venture capital investors in 2018 by Global Data, alongside an impressive list of VC firms around the world.

Beauhurst, the research firm, also named Parkwalk the most active investor into venture deals in 2018 and the most prolific investor into UK AI deals in the UK since 2011.

Wright continued: “As a result of our deployment rates, we continue to invest EIS subscriptions within 12 months and have visibility on a further £30m of investment this tax year.”

Recent investments by the Parkwalk investment team include:

MoA Technology, which was spun out from Oxford University’s Plant Sciences Department. MoA Technology has so far developed three proprietary platforms, which, when used in combination, offer the opportunity to revolutionise the herbicide discovery process and critically identify new, effective, and environmentally-sustainable herbicides.

MoA closed a £6.3m Series A funding round, co-led by Parkwalk and Oxford Sciences Innovation.

Congenica has translated research from the Sanger Institute, Cambridge. The software enables the accurate, rapid and scalable clinical interpretation of genetic and clinical data, enabling clinicians and researchers to diagnose ‘rare diseases’ in weeks rather than multiple years, and to develop prognoses and treatment options. The company is a provider of diagnostic support services to Genomics England (who recently completed the 100,000 genome project).

Congenica raised a £13m Series B investment round led by Parkwalk. The round attracted new strategic investors, including Digital China Health Technologies Corporation.

PredictImmune is a Cambridge spin-out which is providing tools (biomarkers) to physicians to help manage the treatment of various auto-immune diseases. The issue is that immune diseases are characterised by a high degree of disease heterogeneity and treatment is associated with high costs and severe side effects – the company’s IP reduces both.

PredictImmune raised a £10m Series B investment round co-led by Parkwalk, alongside BGF who are a new investor in the company.

Paragraf from Cambridge University is harnessing the extremely high conductivity, strength, low weight and ultimate flexibility of graphene. Paragraf’s technology is the first ever commercial-scale method validated to reproducibly deliver functionally active graphene with properties targeted to its final device-specific application, with both high quality and high throughput.

Paragraf closed a £12.8m Series A round led by Parkwalk. The round also included investment from IQ Capital Partners, Amadeus Capital Partners and Cambridge Enterprise.

Cytora is a spin-out from the University of Cambridge with the aim of applying AI to commercial insurance supported by various public and proprietary data. This includes property construction features, company financials and location, combined with an insurance company’s own internal risk data.

Cytora raised £25 million in a Series B round. New investor EQT Ventures led the round with Parkwalk, Cambridge Innovation Capital and a number of other investors participating.

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