Start–Up Service

Have you developed some innovative technology that could be used commercially? If so, let’s work together to maximise both its potential in the marketplace and its impact in the world.

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Tip the odds in your favour

Why work with QUBIS?

Tip the odds in your favour

QUBIS has one of the strongest track records in spin–out success of any UK university. Our companies survive longer, raise more investment cash and scale more quickly than most Northern Ireland start–ups, or spin–outs from other universities.

Understand your market

Why work with QUBIS?

Understand your market

A successful company doesn’t just make products – it serves the needs of the market. We engage with potential customers early and often, listening to their feedback and then iterating on the potential business offering.  This helps us to identify ‘the problem’ that the technology can solve, rather than trying to simply push the technology into a particular solution.

Get experts on board

Why work with QUBIS?

Get experts on board

We build entreprenerial expertise into our early–stage ventures, which has proved invaluable time and again.  Typically, these outside entrepreneurs become equity holders in the business. In return, they deliver on agreed value–enhancing milestones, and align their interests with the other equity shareholders.  

Direct source of funds

Why work with QUBIS?

Direct source of funds

QUBIS may be able to invest cash, and we support our portfolio companies through many funding rounds to exit of sustainable profitability.

Start-Up Service Steps

It all begins with our Start-Up Service: a step-by-step approach to creating a successful business. Together we’ll walk you through the journey of forming and developing a company that has a product the market will want, and a team with the right skill sets to put you on the path to success.


Idea Generation and Invention


Technical Development and Proof of Concept


Team Formation and Execution


Validation and Customer Discovery


Funding and Growth

  • Idea Generation and Invention

    We’ll start by protecting your intellectual property (IP). We’ll help you to complete an official Innovation Disclosure Form, capturing your inventive step and those who have contributed to it. The proportions will impact on the share of any future commercial return from a spin–out or licensing.

    You’ll also check out your competition. Who are the existing players? What patents have already been granted? How could your technology achieve a unique competitive edge?

    We’ll offer you a small amount of Proof of Principle (PoP) funding to help move your proposition towards a commercial goal.

  • Technical Development and Proof of Concept

    Next, we’ll help you to identify and apply for proof of concept (PoC) funding. This will help finance the further technological development that your commercial idea is likely to need.

    See our Funding Commons website, which outlines the various forms of funding available at certain points along the commercialisation journey

  • Team Formation and Execution

    We’ll help you to pick the right team to nurture your spin–out to success, comprising:

    • The Entrepreneur – ideally with relevant domain knowledge and growth company experience, who will likely become an equity holder in the spin–out
    • The Principal Investigator – who leads the research study
    • An Early–Career Researcher
    • A QUBIS team member – typically taking a Board position on the new spin–out to bring skills and experience from across our portfolio to your decision–making process.

    We’ll also introduce you to excellent local business support services as and when required, including:

    • business and enterprise training and development providers;
    • corporate secretary support – from accountancy and legal to share register and IP.
  • Validation and Customer Discovery

    This is a central tenet of our approach, helping you to focus on the market rather than the technology. We use “lean start up methodology” which aims to minimise risk and rapidly assess the viability and scale of your commercial opportunity.

  • Funding and Growth

    Since our spin–outs typically don’t generate revenues from day one, and we don’t want to saddle you with debt, we’ll help you to find financial support via grants and/or equity. For example:

    • we’ll use our contacts and experience to help you structure grant applications to maximise your chances of success;
    • we’ll connect you with Venture Capital funds and talk you through the pros and cons of venture investment to help you make an informed decision;
    • we can offer you our own financial support through multiple investment rounds (while we don’t lead funding rounds, the fact that your long–standing institutional shareholder is prepared to follow its money is a reassuring signal that many new investors will be looking for).


We have a number of successful software companies across areas such as cyber security, digital government, digital pathology, AI and machine learning.

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Northern Ireland has a strong historical track record of engineering excellence and, since Queen’s University’s research base reflects this, our portfolio has several companies based around this expertise.

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We have successfully supported a number of cleantech ventures, and are keen to build our portfolio in this exciting area.

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Our growing portfolio across the life sciences includes specialist drug delivery, antibody discovery and engineering through to diagnostics.

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We have supported a number of portfolio companies based around deep science that has emerged from the Physics department in particular.

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What our CEOs think

Hear from some of our company CEOs describing their varied experiences of how working with QUBIS has helped their spin-out journeys.

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