Spinout PR: Am I agency ready? A guide for UK spinouts
As of 2018, Research England says that approximately 3,000 IP-based UK university spinouts had been created. And, spurred on by the pandemic, university spinouts are on the increase in the UK — providing a wide range of additional services and solutions while maintaining a strong link to their higher education and general public sector roots.
Investment in commercial ventures run by university academics has also grown. Parkwalk Advisors, a growth fund manager backing UK university spinouts, says that the amount invested into these types of companies grew from £1.07 billion in 2019 to £1.11bn in 2020. Support for spinouts can come from all kinds of backers, from Vice Chancellors to investors, peers, and colleagues.
The journey of a spinout tends to be similar from one to the next. Working from an idea in its most basic form, working with a Technology Transfer Office, patenting an idea, and securing funding. Then you build, gain customers and sell your product, float on the stock exchange… just like that.
You might, at any of these points, consider boosting your market reach using PR as a tool. At what stage is a spinout PR ready, and when can an agency help? To learn more about what PR could do for your spinout, you can start by seeing which one of these profiles suits best.
- Visionary Violet: At this point, your product is just an idea. It isn’t built yet, there is no income, and you are a one-person band with no go-to-market strategy. At this point, you might not have the budget to get the full potential out of a PR agency, but there is still room to begin to build your credibility for future customers through thought leadership content, and even some social media support to widen your reach in the circles you are looking to target.
- Entrepreneurial Eddy: Now your product is built, and you have gained your first few customers and you might employ a few people — your turnover is somewhere under £1 million. You have now secured your first round of investment. An agency can help you with the beginnings of customer content based on your first wins and will align with your sales cycle to help drive the right topics forward at the right time.
We have been able to support FerryX [opens as pdf], a developer of live biotherapeutic products, at this stage in its journey.
- Proven Paul: You have multiple customers, a proven seller. Turnover is now in the millions and your budget can stretch to accommodate a rich level of marketing and PR activity.
A tech PR agency, specialising in spinouts can help you with customer and corporate content, as well as influencer communications support, much like we do for our client CoSector (University of London).
- Trusted Teddy: By now, you are a recognised name in your industry. A PR agency can help you to maintain your reputation through a regular cycle of news content based on your new wins and implementations, thought leadership, and you might even have a blog on your website which needs a stream of content to upload. An agency can position you as a leader in your field.
All spinouts are at different points in their growth curve, from infancy right up to a seasoned sales cycle and a good reputation behind them. Once you have a real idea of the character of your spinout and what stage you are at, you can approach PR companies armed with the knowledge of what to expect, and a vision of where the publicity could take you. The right level and type of activity at each stage will help you to reach the next one, supporting you at every step of the journey.
Get in touch with us to see where we can support you as you grow.