5 university spin-offs innovating their sectors

5 university spin-offs innovating their sectors

The University & Spin-off hub debuting at 4YFN24, pays tribute to the central role that universities and research centres play in propelling new thinking and inventions. Below is a glimpse into how exceptional university spin-offs are pushing boundaries and generating impact in their respective markets.

The interface between research and production

Undoubtedly, the corporate landscape has undergone profound changes in recent years, and at the forefront of this evolution are university spin-offs. Globally, these spin-offs have burgeoned into a corporate sector comprising over 4.000 companies, playing a pivotal role in disseminating knowledge from scientific domains to the broader populace.

Thus, spin-offs play a very important role in the transfer of knowledge and information from the most scientific fields to the population. They are companies that are normally formed based on certain pioneering research carried out in academic institutions and which, after being launched, become the property of the University.

Representing a type of business that has gained a lot of momentum in a short time, spin-offs are making their way to the very top of business innovation. This is because they manage to completely bridge the line between academia and industry, translating academic research into practical application. They constitute a new generation of companies, in which it is the scientists themselves who commercialize their research, fostering innovation through this constant contact between production and research. This characteristic makes them unique, as well as highly adept at rapid commercial development in complex areas such as quantum, artificial intelligence, biotechnology, renewable energy conversion or early drug development.

Adaviv is a spin-off from MIT. In the image, Adaviv’s team. Source: Adaviv

However, university spin-offs continue to face major challenges that sometimes limit them, such as the scarcity of funding from public academic bodies, as well as limited regulatory frameworks. However, it is true that their importance is increasingly recognised, and policies and initiatives aimed at their growth are increasing exponentially.

In this context, it is worth highlighting some of the spin-off companies derived from university centres that are completely changing the landscape of business innovation. Here follows a selection of some of the most groundbreaking companies that are innovating key fields including energy agro-tech, manufacturing, and healthcare.


Adaviv is a spin-off from MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) focused on developing artificial intelligence and digital vision for the agricultural industry. Any type of plant, whether in a house or a greenhouse, requires certain care based on the observation of the plant's own condition and the surrounding environment. Thus, Adavivi proposes a platform for precision virtual agriculture, capable of capturing all the plant data and returning it to growers, eliminating guesswork and showing them directly what treatments can be effective now and what the expectations are for the future.

Computer vision applications in agriculture and farming have been growing in the last five years. Source: Linknovate

Overall, Adaviv's goal is to make farms more profitable by automating normally time-consuming tasks. To do this, it uses a patented machine vision system, as well as user-friendly applications and powerful analytics that help crops to greatly increase yields and reduce costs. All this technology is packaged in a platform called Lean Cultivation, which can automate tedious tasks, giving growers unprecedented visibility and remote monitoring of their plants and people.

Stabl Energy

Born out of the University of Munich, STABL Energy is a spin-off company based on the redesign of battery storage systems with the aim of making them more efficient, dynamic and safe. To this end, the company has developed an innovative battery power control system that almost completely replaces the central inverter, thus improving the efficiency and safety of the entire system. The aim is to offset losses, reduce operating costs and make battery storage systems more accessible and affordable.

Battery power control system developed by STABL Energy. Source: STABL Energy

Its core product, the power control system, enables the seamless use of second-hand batteries on a commercial scale, which greatly increases the profitability and sustainability of ecosystems. In fact, production success has been so high, that the company plans, in the long term, to move from being a hardware supplier, to representing a hardware-as-a-service model, providing all its customers with its products with little or no capital investment and operational risk, thus unlocking large recurring revenue streams.

Although the company currently only operates in Germany, Switzerland and Austria, the company has a strong potential to grow globally and has recently raised €15 million in a funding round which includes Nordic Alpha Partners and the European Innovation Council (EIC).


Knowing that 97% of the batteries we use end up incinerated or in landfill, wouldn't it be ideal to have some kind of environmentally responsible battery? This is the idea behind BeFC, a spin-off of the Université Grenobel Alpes that focuses on the development of eco-friendly paper-based bioenzymatic fuel cells for sustainable energy generation. In other words: it is a pioneering company in the creation of biofuel cells that, since they are made from bio-based materials, are easy to recycle and dispose of safely and sustainably.

Companies leading R&D in paper-based bioenzymatic fuel cells are pioneers in the sector which is still mainly led by academia. Source: Linknovate

BeFC has become a benchmark spin-off in environmentally friendly production which, in addition to having a low environmental impact, stands out for its low cost and reusability. In addition, its paper-based batteries have become one of the options when looking for solutions in portable health monitoring, single-use medical diagnostics, logistics or IoT (Internet of Things).

As proof of its great potential, the company has recently secured €16M in a Series A round of funding supported by Avolta Partners as the sole financial advisor.

Artiria Medical

In the sector of spin-offs dedicated to improving the efficiency of the healthcare landscape, Artiria Medical stands out as one of the strongest. Spun out of the Technical University of Lausanne, this company focuses on creating specialised products for endovascular surgeons that can help reduce mortality after a stroke, colloquially known as ictus.

High precision guides created by Artiria Medical. Source: Artiria Medical

Specifically, Artiria Medical focuses on the enhancement of catheters and guidewires. By improving the efficiency of these tools, it is possible to operate and treat patients with greater precision and quality, which can help improve their quality of life, and even save it, after a stroke. In this way, its cutting-edge technology pushes the boundaries of previous neurointerventional procedures, enabling flawless stroke treatment.

The startup was granted US FDA clearance for their guidewire solution in 2023.

Niron Magnetics

Finally, Niron Magnetics is a spin-off from the University of Minnesota that has developed a patented process for making high-performance magnets without relying on rare earth minerals. Its clean earth magnets are made from iron nitride, offer several advantages over traditional rare earth-based magnets, such as higher performance and sustainability, and have been chosen by Time as one of the best inventions of 2023.

In addition, Niron Magnetics has recently secured a $33 million funding round led by GM Ventures and Stellantis Ventures, which further validates the company's technology and will help them expand their pilot production facilities and manufacturing capacity to scale.

Internal topic trends for rare earth-free magnets. Source: Linknovate

The Spanish Scene

In this context of innovation and technology, educational institutions in Spain have not been left behind. They play a crucial role in the dissemination of knowledge and information in highly specialized scientific fields to the general population.

UPC’s spin-offs showcasing at 4YFN23. Source: GSMA

In the most technological fields, the universities and academic institutions that stand out for the creation of successful and highly innovative spin-offs, and that will be present at 4YFN, include Open University of Catalonia, Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC), Tecnocampus Mataro, University of Barcelona, Pompeu Fabra University, Ramon Llul University, Elisava, Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, and University of Girona.

These are just some shining examples of an entire business sector that is shaking the foundations of innovation. From medicine to energy, each of them is leading a sea change that goes hand in hand with academia and the practical application of knowledge and research. The phenomenon of university spin-offs is therefore not only evidence of entrepreneurial evolution, but also points to the great potential when specialised knowledge and entrepreneurial vision are combined, highlighting open innovation as the key driver of change.

Meet university spin-offs at 4YFN24

Over 90 university spin-offs and startups emerging from leading academic institutes will be exhibiting at 4YFN24. Head over to Hall 8.1 to discover how universities support entrepreneurship and meet the talented entrepreneurs translating research results into market success. Know more here.