The history of QUBIS Ltd spin out company KAINOS Software Ltd heralds an important development in the spin out story from UK universities and could be the model for many future spinouts from UK Universities in being a ‘seminal company’, ie a producer of spinouts from spinouts.
To date five new companies have been spun out either by KAINOS or former KAINOS employees.
Meridio Software, which concentrated on a Document Management System developed within KAINOS and was eventually spun out with its own management team and subsequently raised substantial venture capital investment from both UK and US based VCs. Meridio grew rapidly and was acquired by LSE listed Autonomy.
Lagan Technologies was established by an ex-kainos manager and colleagues, and grew to become the leading CRM software supplier into local government in the UK and the US. Lagan was backed by a number of UK and European VCs and was eventually acquired by US based Kana Communications Inc.
Amacis Holdings provided e contact software for major banks and other large organizations. The company was backed by a number of UK and RoI VCs and was acquired by a number of companies, the final acquisition being by giant US based software house Oracle Inc.
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Speechstorm which has developed a range of IVR applications - inbound, outbound, touch-tone, speech recognition, SMS, and video which it provides to some of the UK's best-known names in retail, telecoms and financial services. Speechstorm’s spin out from Kainos was been funded by a local VC fund.
Meanwhile KAINOS itself the mothership, now employs over 300 software engineers and consultants and has offices in Belfast, Dublin, London and Gdansk. Leading edge solutions are provided by KAINOS to Financial Services, Utilities, Retail and Healthcare sectors. KAINOS was set up in 1986 and was a corporate venture between QUBIS Ltd and ICL (now Fujitsu).
QUBIS Ltd believes that KAINOS is indeed proving to be a seminal company but it is not an isolated example, Andor Technology has acted as a corporate investor alongside Qubis Ltd in Avalon Instruments Ltd which was eventually acquired by US based Perkin Elmer Inc.
The QUBIS Ltd board has a policy of investing in each of these spinouts from spinouts as they involve human capital built up within our University spinout portfolio. These spinouts from spinouts have had the benefit from exposure to experienced management and marketeers as well as to their technology and may even have better prospects than our first generation spinouts.
Between them the aforementioned companies already employ nearly 600 people in a regional economy where manufacturing employs less than 100,000. University spinouts will become a central and growing part of the local knowledge based economy.