Imperial College Incubator opens in I-HUB

Imperial College ThinkSpace has opened an 18,000 sq ft technology incubator at Imperial College London’s White City Campus, providing a new home for early-stage research and technology based companies.

The new Imperial White City Incubator provides facilities for laboratory-based start-ups and spinout companies looking to commercialise their research into innovative products and services. These new ventures will operate from a mix of fully-fitted laboratory and office spaces, alongside meeting rooms and conference facilities.

The Incubator opened in December 2016 at Imperial’s recently completed Translation & Innovation Hub, the I-HUB. The Incubator is a key tenant within the I-HUB, which provides a total of 187,000 sq ft (17,373 sq m) of space for corporate partners, start-ups, spin-out companies and entrepreneurs at every stage of their development and growth. The facility is managed by Imperial College ThinkSpace, which specialises in the co-location of knowledge-intensive organisations with Imperial research groups. 

The I-HUB is the first co-location building to open at the College’s new White City Campus. 
Still in development, the 23-acre site will be similar in scale and ambition to Imperial’s South Kensington Campus and will support the College’s mission to achieve enduring excellence in research and education in science, engineering, medicine and business for the benefit of society. The first company to move into the Imperial White City Incubator is Polymateria, a company that has developed a plastic which is 100 per cent biodegradable into biomass, water and carbon dioxide. The resulting products are recyclable, customisable and cost-effective.

Lead Scientist at Polymateria, Dr Graham Chapman – who completed his PhD at Imperial – said: “Non-biodegradable plastics are an unchecked and growing source of pollution worldwide. Our new technology has been developed by a team of world-class chemists, material scientists and plastic specialists with support from Imperial and provides a completely biodegradable plastic.

“As we develop our product, the Incubator provides both the facilities we need and an exciting new community of researchers, scientists and entrepreneurs at the heart of the White City Campus.”

The Incubator is managed by Imperial White City Incubator Limited. Imperial Innovations Group plc has been selected to act as service provider following a competitive tendering process and will handle day-to-day operations at the Incubator. Since 2006, Imperial Innovations has operated the successful Imperial Incubator at South Kensington, which has supported more than 60 science and technology-focused spinouts and start-up companies that between them have raised over $1 billion. Imperial Innovations is Imperial’s technology transfer partner and combines the activities of technology transfer, intellectual property licensing and protection, company incubation and investment.

Dr Simon Hepworth, Director of Enterprise, Imperial College London and chairman of Imperial White City Incubator Limited, said: “Imperial’s start-up and spinout networks are growing and becoming more sophisticated. This new agreement with Imperial Innovations gives us the depth and breadth of business and technical help that will enable many more firms to join the community in purpose-built facilities in White City. We have already had a great deal of interest from companies and I am delighted to welcome Polymateria as our first licensee.”

Tony Hickson, Managing Director of the Technology Transfer team and an Executive Director on the board of Imperial Innovations Group PLC, said: “The new facilities at the I-HUB are an exciting opportunity to build on the tremendous success of the Imperial Incubator at South Kensington.”

Dr Eulian Roberts, Chief Executive of Imperial College ThinkSpace, said: “Establishing the incubator facilities in the I-HUB is more than just about providing physical space. The Incubator offers a great platform for start-up businesses that need laboratory infrastructure to enable them to commercialise their products and services. This facility provides the necessary infrastructure and benefits from a wide range of on-campus support, world class research and healthcare innovation.”