What is a new business idea?

IT Hothouse has a wide range of technologies available to industry across a range of sectors:

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DIT Hothouse has a wide range of technologies available to industry across a range of sectors: ICT, Industrial Technologies, Manufacturing, Clean Technologies, Life Sciences and Food.

Many of these technologies have a unique combination of features which make them an ideal foundation on which to form a company, the sole goal being to commercialise that technology. The technology can form the basis of an entirely new business idea, and ultimately a new spin-out company.

Features we look for in a technology with potential to form a great spin-out opportunity are:

  • A large global market opportunity, i.e. a product with export market potential and a total addressable market of €500m+.
  • A platform technology, i.e. a technology which has the potential to form the basis of a suite of products, not just a single product.

When a technology with these unique features is developed and commercialised by a great entrepreneur (i.e. an experienced professional, with knowledge of the target market, commercial experience, access to a great team and to capital), this provides the ingredients for a great spin-out company.

This type of opportunity is an excellent route for would-be entrepreneurs who are searching for the right business idea.

What is a new technology (i.e. a DIT research technology)?

A new technology is a novel invention, discovery or technological innovation which has been developed by a DIT researcher, academic staff or student through their research in DIT.

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A new technology is a novel invention, discovery or technological innovation which has been developed by a DIT researcher, academic staff or student through their research in DIT.

Research will often fall into the following spectrum:

DIT research tends to occupy the more applied side of the spectrum, meaning that many of our research projects deliver a technology which can be used commercially by industry.

Our technologies typically fall into two categories:

  • Spin-out technologies – technologies that meet our criteria for a potential spin-out company (i.e. large market, platform technology).
    In this case, DIT Hothouse is looking for entrepreneurs or entrepreneurial teams with an interest in starting a company based on the technology. 
  • In-licensing opportunities – technologies that are specific to a niche market or have an application for a limited number of companies.
    In this case, DIT Hothouse is looking for established companies to license the technology for commercial use.

What is a spin-out company?

A spin-out is a start-up company which has been created and registered as a new, limited liability company.

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A spin-out is a start-up company which has been created and registered as a new, limited liability company by the entrepreneurial team and DIT for the sole purpose of commercialising a particular DIT technology. This involves a licence of the technology from DIT to the spin-out company and will include terms under which the technology is licensed. Typically DIT will be a shareholder in the new company.

How to form a new spin-out company with DIT

Every new spin-out company is different, with each one varying in terms of the parties involved, target market, business structure, etc.

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Every new spin-out company is different, with each one varying in terms of the parties involved, target market, business structure, etc. However, there are common stages that you can expect to go through when working with DIT to establish a new spin-out company:

Stage 1: Technology review

Review the current DIT Spin-Out Technologies and consider those of particular interest to you.

Stage 2: Engagement with DIT Hothouse

Contact the relevant Licensing Executive in Hothouse (contact information with each technology description) who will typically arrange a meeting to review the technology, the “fit” of the entrepreneur and the commercial opportunity.  You will be advised on routes to market and funding options available to help develop the company.

Stage 3: Engagement with the research team

Many of the technologies will require the engagement of the inventor to help develop the technology from a research output to a commercial stage. DIT Hothouse will set up a meeting, or series of meetings, with the research team to help drive the project forward.

Stage 4: Heads of Agreement

If all parties (DIT Hothouse, the entrepreneur, the researcher) agree on the best way to commercialise the technology, we then formalise the company structure, shareholding breakdown, terms of the licence and specific detail on the technology that will be licensed in.

Stage 5: Company set-up

The entrepreneur will set up the company as a limited liability company in Ireland with the Companies Registration Office.

Stage 6: Execution and Agreement

A licence agreement will be executed between DIT and the new company. This will include terms on DIT’s shareholding in the company, and the royalty that will accrue on products sold by the company. A shareholders’ agreement will also be signed by all shareholders in the company.

How to license a DIT technology to your new spin-out company

A licence is a simple agreement between the company and DIT.

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A licence is a simple agreement between the company and DIT. As the owner of the intellectual property upon which the technology is based, DIT grants access rights to the know-how (designs, drawings, secret formula, algorithms, etc.), patents, design rights or other IP to the company under licence, so that the company can use, manufacture or sell the technology

The commercial terms of the agreement are between the company management and DIT Hothouse.

Key elements include:

  • Field of use – in what sector or application area the technology can be used.
  • Access rights – exclusive (sole licence granted) or non-exclusive (other licences to the same technology can be granted).
  • Royalty terms – this varies depending on the market, the margin on the product, the readiness of the technology and other factors, and can be fee- or percentage-based.

What we look for in our business partners / CEOs

We look for entrepreneurs that have the vision, drive and commercial experience to manage a new business venture. Typically we look for the following capabilities:

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We look for entrepreneurs that have the vision, drive and commercial experience to manage a new business venture. Typically we look for the following capabilities:

  • Senior level commercial experience.
  • Ability to sell the product and the company.
  • Reasonable understanding of the technology (but specific technical qualifications are not necessary).
  • Ability to bring in a team.
  • Ability to work with the research team.
  • Domain knowledge of the target market.

We typically require a business plan to be completed prior to the full licence agreement being signed.

What help can DIT Hothouse provide?

DIT Hothouse can help bridge the gap between the new company and the technology.

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DIT Hothouse can help bridge the gap between the new company and the technology.

The Hothouse licensing team is made up of experienced industry professionals who can:

  • Evaluate the business opportunity.
  • Review the business plan.
  • Negotiate an effective licence agreement.
  • Manage the engagement with the research team.
  • Support the promotion and development of the company, both for investment and sales.

On the technology side, DIT also has access to research funding sources which can help develop the technology and take it to a more commercially-ready stage.

Funding opportunities for spin-out companies

There are multiple funding routes that can only be accessed through DIT.

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There are multiple funding routes that can only be accessed through DIT. These include sources of support for technology development such as:

  • Commercialisation Fund support – used to support technology development of a research project prior to licensing to a spin-out.
  • Innovation Partnership – used to support technology development in a collaborative way and is accessible for Enterprise Ireland HPSU (High Performance Start Up) companies. The company contributes 20% of the overall cost.
  • Innovation Vouchers – small consulting level vouchers worth €5,000.

 

There are also funding routes for entrepreneurs for company development:

  • Hothouse New Frontiers Programme  – a training and support programme, with €15,000 in support for the lead entrepreneur.
  • NDRC Venture Lab – a seed accelerator for IP-heavy projects, with equity funding of €100,000.

Where do research technologies come from?

DIT spends close to €20 million annually on research.

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DIT spends close to €20 million annually on research. The output of all this research is new technology and/or incremental innovations with serious commercial potential for the right company or entrepreneur. DIT has some of Ireland’s best researchers working across the following research groups and centers:

DIT Research Centres

There are serveral DIT research centers

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DIT Research Centres

Legend

   Clean Technologies
   Industrial Technology
   Life Sciences
   ICT
   Food
   Manufacturing


Research Centres

     Antenna & High Frequency Research Group (AHFR)
     Centre for Research in Engineering Surface Technology (CREST)
     Electrical Power Research Centre (EPRC)
     Nanolab Research Centre (NRC)
     Photonics Research Centre (PRC)
     Applied Intelligence Research Centre (AIRC) / CEADAR
     Communications Network Research Group (CNRG)
     Digital Media Centre (DMC)
     Graduate School of Creative Arts & Media (GradCAM)
     Dublin Energy Lab (DEL)
     Food & Health Research Centre (FHRC)
     Centre for Elastomer Research (CER) 
     Industrial Engineering Optics (IEO)
     Inorganic Pharma & Biomimetric Research Centre (IBPRC)
     ‌Radiation & Environmental Science Centre (RESC)



Research Groups and Other Units

      The Marine Research Group (MRG)
      The Audio Research Group (ARG)
      People-Oriented Technology (TeaPOT)
      DIT Digital Retail Research Unit (DRRU)
      Control Systems and Robotics
      Information and Communications Security Research Group