What Does £320m Really Get Your Business?


By Siobhan Clarke

This week, we’ve had some very welcome news in the UK for university spring out, startups and scale ups.  Much has been written, commented and set forth across LinkedIn, X, the coverage has been overwhelming positive – more funding to support the creation, development and scaling of new companies that solve demanding problem from #deep tech to consumer driven health care.  This is great news. BUT it’s not enough.

One of the key call outs from the UK Government Independent review of University spin outs calls for 10 recommendations to address the whole scale acceleration and enablement of sustainable businesses.  I stand behind all of the recommendations, especially those associated with spin out deals on standard market terms – this will enable positive change for the companies, all investors and ultimately for economic benefit.

There is one recommendation – number 7 that stands out to me – access to the right knowledge:

“Recommendation 7: Founders need access to support from individuals and organisations with experience of operating successful high-tech start-ups, regardless of the region founders are based in or sector they operate in.”

For all of us involved with the journey of turning an idea in a business and then scaling that business to meet and exceed customer value – for founders, investors and those supporting we know some of the most common startup mistakes are:

  • No clear business model
  • Building a solution without problem validation
  • Skipping early customer engagement
  • No systematic sales process
  • Failure to achieve product-market fit
  • Scaling too fast beyond product-market fit
  • Not adapting to customer feedback
  • Focusing too much on fundraising
  • Founder ego and not admitting mistakes
  • Taking too much low quality business
  • Getting stuck in analysis paralysis


So how do we get better at spotting these mistakes and crafting a different course that enables a better outcome?  We learn from those that have come before?  We learn from the successes, from the failures, we’re open to what possible paths and we work with those that bring passion and insight.  £320m is a welcome start, now let’s get on the path to realising a return through the collective insight of diverse talent. 

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