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Attracting external investors

When Theo Gevers founded Sightcorp in 2013, together with his former PhD student Roberto Valenti, he wasn't completely fazed by what he encountered. "I had already built some experience with previous spin-offs, but Sightcorp was slightly a different story. The software that forms the core of Sightcorp was developed by my academic group to a rather advanced stage with the support of other parties, which meant that the university transferred something with an existing value to a company. This required more complex negotiations with all partners involved," Gevers explains. In various ways, he benefited from the involvement of the university's TTO team in the process. Gevers: "TTO participated in the negotiations and they also drafted and assessed the contracts, for Sightcorp as well as for the university and for my research group." But there was more. Gevers knew from the start that he did not want to devote all his time to Sightcorp. They needed to find an external candidate. And that's not easy, says Gevers. "You need someone you can trust. TTO really facilitated us in our search and thanks to them, we were able to attract our current ceo Jan Pruis."
Can he recommend starting a spin-off? "Provided you have an entrepreneurial spirit and the energy to take on an extra challenge, it is definitely worth going for."