AU grant fuels entrepreneurial ambition among researchers and students
November 1, 2022
BY RASMUS ERIKSEN
Applications are flooding in for the entrepreneurial grant AU Launch, which is putting an end to a lack of investment for start-ups at Aarhus University. The first round of applications has resulted in a financial boost for seven promising companies.
Thanks to financial backing from Aarhus University, several entrepreneurial researchers and students can now take their business ambitions to the next level.
A total of DKK 800,000 has been awarded to five researcher-founded companies and two student-founded companies through the new AU Launch grant. The money is earmarked to help the companies commercialise new technologies or to become more attractive to investors.
MedicQuant is at the top of the recipient list. The pharmaceutical company, which is a spin-out from the Department of Chemistry, has developed a device that can quickly measure the level of medicine in the blood of stroke patients. This can help to reduce mortality and disability rates in the patient group and provide medical professionals with better treatment options.
The company is run by researchers Line Dubois and Malthe Hansen, who have received DKK 197,600 from AU Launch to help the company enter the European and American markets.
According to Malthe Hansen, the grant will help determine the direction MedicQuant goes in.
“We will use the money to determine the best way to get our product approved in the EU and the USA, in collaboration with an external consultant. The AU Launch grant will thus allow us to make an informed decision about which of our two primary markets to focus on first,” says the entrepreneur.
Financial support to develop untested concepts
AU Launch was set up in August 2022 to support newly established AU companies who find it difficult to raise venture capital to develop their business ideas.
Since research-based business ideas are often founded on untested concepts or emerging technologies that make it complicated to assess their commercial potential, it is often difficult to attract the funding required to get these ideas off the ground. External capital thus plays an essential role in helping these companies to grow and to ultimately contribute to the number of Danish workplaces and economic prosperity.
In the first round of applications, proposals poured in from almost all the AU faculties. In total, nearly DKK 3.2 million of venture capital was applied for. Such a considerable demand for financial injections among new entrepreneurs at the university suggests that AU Launch has hit on something in AU’s study and research communities.
This is the opinion of Jonas Brandt, who, in his role as lead business developer, was part of the selection panel.
“The interest really took us by surprise, and we are both happy and proud that so many entrepreneurs at AU are passionate about creating a business based on research. We awarded grants to both researchers and students, but all the recipients are striving to bring value to society – value created at Aarhus University,” says Jonas Brandt.
In fact, AU’s entrepreneurial researchers and students are exceptionally good at creating value once they have got through the start-up phase. This is confirmed by a new analysis of entrepreneurship at the university. In 2019 alone, researchers, students and graduates from AU employed almost 2,800 full-time equivalents and generated total revenues of DKK 3.8 billion.
The deadline for the next round of AU Launch applications is 13 November.
Facts about AU Launch
- Grant recipients can receive up to DKK 500,000.
- The selection panel consists of representatives from AU’s academic departments, The Kitchen and the investment sector.
- Money is awarded to develop business ideas that require a significant amount of financial backing to be transformed into practice.
- A wide range of AU entrepreneurs can apply for the grant. They may have conducted large research projects with spinout potential or study projects that have matured into a specific business.
Grant recipients, first round:
- Ardos DoseTracker
- Kripthonite Therapeutics
- Science Melting Pot