IP2IPO takes 20% stake in tech unit

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The Independent Online

The intellectual property company IP2IPO said yesterday it is to invest £2m in a group that commercialises technology spun out of research at the University of Leeds.

The intellectual property company IP2IPO said yesterday it is to invest £2m in a group that commercialises technology spun out of research at the University of Leeds.

Yesterday's deal will give IP2IPO a 20 per cent stake in Techtran Group, which itself has a 30 per cent interest in companies formed from research done at Leeds. IP2IPO's chief executive, David Norwood, said: "We have a lot of respect for Leeds, the question is whether we can take the deal forward commercially."

IP2IPO has invested between £100,000 and £400,000 in 20 companies spawned from research at the universities of Oxford, Southampton, King's College London and York. It invests capital, hires management and formulates business plans. "If you give a bunch of academics money, they just piss it away," said Mr Norwood.

IP2IPO was founded by Mr Norwood, a former England chess team captain, in 2001 when he was working for Beeson Gregory (now Evolution Group), which took a 40 per cent stake in the business. IP2IPO floated on AIM at 275p per share in October last year. They peaked at 500p but are now steady around 450p, the price Evolution achieved when it sold half of its holding in May.

Mr Norwood denies IP2IPO's staggering share price is reminiscent of the technology bubble. "When we floated it was a profitable company." Evolution is locked into its remaining stake. "It has already made a huge return on the initial investment and I believe the university commercialisation thing is just getting going," he said.

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