The pandemic has not halted the creation of new spin-offs of the University of Barcelona
The Covid-19 pandemic has not dampened the entrepreneurial spirit of the University of Barcelona’s (UB) research staff, who have continued to create new companies based on technologies or knowledge developed at the University and in which the UB holds a stake.
The first company created in 2020 was Mind & Identity, a company dedicated to marketing the digital psychological assessment platform ‘Explore Your Meanings,’ whose goal is to learn about the perceptions of clients, patients and consumers. Also noteworthy is the creation of Accure Therapeutics, which arose from the merger of Bionure and Iproteos —a spin-off of the UB and IRB created in 2011— and was launched with the aim of developing candidate drugs for the treatment of diseases of the central nervous system (CNS). Another spin-off set up during this pandemic is Gate2Brain, which is based on technology formulated by researchers at the UB, the IRB Barcelona, and the Sant Joan de Déu Research Institute, and aims to develop innovative technology to increase the effectiveness of drug treatments for brain diseases.
Aigecko Tecnhologies, a company based on artificial intelligence, deep learning, and real-time image analysis techniques, will be launched in 2021 and has so far developed two products: LogMeal, which allows the recognition of different types of prepared food through pictures of customers’ plates, and LogMask, a technological solution that allows the detection of masks, facilitating the management and security of both indoor and outdoor spaces.
Solidarity in the time of Covid19
Some of the UB’s spin-offs have endeavoured to lend a hand during this pandemic. One example is Braingaze, a company that, following the appearance of Covid19, worked intensively to be able to monitor the eye-tracking capabilities of its therapeutic video game through the selfie camera of any tablet, allowing children to continue their ADHD treatments from home during lockdown. Other examples are Neurekalab, which offered its learning programme free of charge to children with dyscalculia problems, and Nostrum Biodiscovery, which collaborated with the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC) by providing them with data that could help in the intelligent design of in silico drugs to treat the virus.
Total turnover in 2019: EUR 5.4 million
The companies in which the UB holds a stake had a total turnover of 5.4 million euros in 2019, which represents an increase of 1.86% over 2018, and obtained almost three million euros in public and private funding. Two new spin-offs were created in 2019: Neurekalab, in collaboration with the Universitat Central de Catalunya (UVic-UCC), and Qilimanjaro Quantum Tech, in collaboration with the BSC, and the Institute of High Energy Physics (IFAE). By the end of 2019, the University of Barcelona holds shares in a total of 17 spin-offs that employ 118 people.
The FBG, the University of Barcelona’s knowledge and technology transfer office, is in charge of promoting the creation of these innovative companies. In addition to providing comprehensive support and guidance to the UB’s research staff, the FBG has tools aimed at the creation of new companies, such as the Fund for the Promotion of Innovation (F2i) programme —which has so far helped to create five spin-offs— and Science + Partners, an event that brings together research staff and investment funds and led to the creation of Kumux, a spin-off company that develops smart lighting systems.