The CERCA system, made up of the CERCA centres and their spin-offs, forms a single system. There are currently 180 spin-offs from CERCA centres and a further 15-20 are set up each year. In recent years, 18 have closed and 12 have been sold. In other words, they cease to be spin-offs and, in most cases, continue with patent license contracts and similar.
These companies provide centres with an alternative route to commercialising their knowledge, with greater added value and a major social impact, incorporating highly qualified personnel, generating opportunities for their own staff and a means of attracting new talent and, evidently, associated funding.
While many of the companies are following their path of natural growth, which is often a very long one in the case of deep-tech, some have gone on to two rounds of funding and are considered to have reached advanced scaling stages.
It is worth stressing the health sector, where CERCA centre spin-offs have played a major role in developing the Bioregion, attracting a large amount of foreign capital and putting the Catalan innovation ecosystem on the map of European and world innovation.
For some years now, the CERCA Institute has been cataloguing centres’ spin-offs and is now sharing this knowledge with the Catalan RDI system through ACCIO (StartupHubCatalonia) and BIOCAT. To do this we use Flintbox, a technology developed by the transfer expert Wellspring, which enables us to organise a catalogue of technologies from CERCA centres. It also gives us access to the AIM Marketplace of the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM, a worldwide network of tech transfer offices), aimed at the North American and Asian markets.
Work on the technology catalogue is carried out in conjunction with the centres. The CERCA Institute maintains the records of spin-off companies and projects that have received support from the GÍNJOL Patent Fund. The area responsible for the transfer of each centre manages any other technologies it may have.
The CERCA Institute’s presence on the centres’ boards of trustees and governing councils also allows it to interact with these projects.
Work is currently under way on pre-seed financing mechanisms, quality accreditation and other mechanisms to accelerate the creation, funding and growth of these companies.