University of Bristol Enterprise Funds

Launched in conjunction with the University of Bristol Research and Enterprise Development Division, the University of Bristol Enterprise Funds offer alumni and investors the opportunity to invest in the development of scientific and technological innovations from the University of Bristol and from companies supported by its world renowned SETsquared Bristol Business Incubator in a tax efficient manner.

The University of Bristol Enterprise Fund is an important new source of funding for our young companies, and is an excellent way for Bristol alumni and friends to support the University. We look forward to spinning out further successes from the University and SETsquared Bristol.
Jaci Barnett, Senior Investment and Commercialisation Manager at the University of Bristol

University of Bristol Enterprise Fund III

The University of Bristol Enterprise Fund III closed to investors in April 2019 and will invest primarily in the 2019/20 tax year. Please click here to be notified of future University of Bristol Enterprise Funds.

The Fund

The University of Bristol Enterprise Fund will co-invest alongside the University’s own funds, taking advantage of the infrastructure and expertise already in place.

The Fund will provide the private investor with an opportunity to invest in early stage technology companies as they spin-out of the University, while supplying additional finance to ensure that companies are properly resourced for the initial stages of commercial product development.
The Fund will seek to invest with the tax reliefs of the EIS and SEIS, where applicable.

EIS Benefits

  • 30% Up-front Income Tax relief
  • Capital Gains Tax (CGT) deferral of unlimited gains
  • Capital Gains Tax free gains
  • Loss relief providing up to 61.5% total tax relief for a 45% taxpayer
  • 100% Inheritance Tax (IHT) exemption after two years

SEIS Benefits

  • 50% Upfront Income Tax relief
  • Capital Gains Tax free gains
  • Loss relief providing up to 86.5% total tax relief for a 45% taxpayer
  • 100% Inheritance Tax (IHT) exemption after two years


Parkwalk Advisors is the Fund Manager and Bristol Innovations Ltd is the Portfolio Advisor for the purposes of sourcing and evaluating investment opportunities for the Fund.

The University of Bristol sits as a key component of the Bristol technology cluster, with links to many of the companies (both large and small) in the Bristol cluster, a position reinforced through the University’s recent announcement of a £300m development over the next 5 years of a new campus in the heart of the city. Central to the vision of the new campus is, amongst other activity, a Digital Innovation Hub which is expected to contribute to the University’s long history of significant and disruptive innovation, some other examples of which are highlighted below.

  • Ultrahaptics – raised £35m in a funding round in December 2018
  • Ziylo – acquired by Novo Nordisk in Aug 2018 for up to $800m
  • KWS BioTest – acquired by Charles River in Feb 2018 for c.£15m
  • Zeetta Networks – raised over £10m to develop its operating system
  • XMOS – has raised $60m from investors including Bosch and Xilinx

The fully invested Funds are valued to BVCA guidelines and NAVs are published monthly on the Fund Management home page.

Investment Strategy

The University of Bristol and the Technology Cluster

The University’s Division of Research and Enterprise Development (‘RED’) is home to both the University’s research commercialisation team and to the SETsquared Bristol Business Incubator and Engine Shed team. The Research Commercialisation team has a track record in supporting technology companies spinning out of the University utilising the University’s Intellectual Property.

The SETsquared team has a world leading reputation in supporting the development of high growth technology companies – more that 80% of which are founded by entrepreneurs from outside of the University. In both cases performance can be demonstrated through the levels of follow-on funding raised by these companies, products reaching the market, employment levels and financial returns on early stage investments. In addition the Engine Shed has become a significant connector in the Bristol technology cluster with consequential access to a broader pipeline of technology businesses and a rich and extensive network.

RED manages a portfolio of 39 spinout companies and supports founders in developing commercial strategies to secure the resources needed to develop a business capable of taking forward the innovation. Extensive use is made of mentors and of experienced entrepreneurs as management or non-executive directors to build sustainable and growth focused companies from an early stage.

SETsquared Bristol

Through SETsquared Bristol, the University plays a role in the growth of the Bristol economy, providing intensive support to developing early-stage growth-oriented technology companies – including the majority of University of Bristol spin-outs and academic start-ups. Established 16 years ago, SETsquared Bristol is part of the SETsquared Partnership network of five university business incubators (in Bath, Bristol, Exeter, Southampton and Surrey) that are currently jointly ranked as the best university incubators in the world for the second time.

SETsquared Bristol is widely recognised as being at the centre of the technology cluster in Bristol and is the ‘go to’ organisation for any entrepreneur considering a technology-based venture and for technology companies looking to relocate to the city. It supports a membership of more than 85 companies at any one time, ranging from those in the pre-incubation/formation stage to more established fast-growing ventures with 15 or more employees looking to move to their own premises. Once they have reached a stage of maturity, most ventures leave the centre and remain formally linked as SETsquared Alumni members.