Advancing entrepreneurship and innovations

Technology transfer

Aalto University aims to transfer the results of its research, education and other activities as efficiently and quickly as possible for the benefit of the society. Technology transfer refers to the the transfer of intellectual property from the university to a registered company. Aalto University is the most active university in Finland in filing patent applications. In 2023, the university processed 137 invention disclosures, filed 77 patent applications and made a total of 18 technology or knowledge transfers to companies.

Our IP Commercialization Policy is designed to maximise societal impact by effectively leveraging outcomes from university research, education, and other activities. This policy also aims to generate funding to support the university's stated missions. The Vice President of Innovation and the Chief Financial Officer are responsible for the policy's implementation and may issue additional guidelines as necessary.
Cryostat used to cool down quantum devices
Cryostat

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Anu Honkalinna

Head of Spinoff Asset Management

Timo Rossi

Spinoff Portfolio Manager

What is a technology transfer?

Technology transfer involves transferring the ownership of, or user rights to properties from Aalto University to a registered company. These properties include: 

  • Intellectual property rights (e.g., patents, patent applications, invention disclosures, research results, software, trademarks, business secrets, design rights) 
  • Material property rights (e.g., equipment, materials) 

A university spinoff company (i.e., university spinout or academic spinout) is a business venture that is created to commercialise a technology, research, or intellectual property developed within a university. These companies are typically founded by university faculty, professors, researchers, or students and are based on innovations or discoveries made in university laboratories or scientific research projects. Also Aalto University will be a founding member in the new spinoff.

Objectives  

Aalto University strives to 

  • Align interests with all stakeholders, including inventors, company management and investors, to foster collaborative and productive relationships;
  • Negotiate mutually advantageous agreements that ensure the continued use of intellectual property (IP) in academic and educational pursuits; 
  • Comply with EU and national legislation regarding the pricing of IP transactions to maintain competitive neutrality. 

The coordination of technology transfer activities is managed by the Head of Spinoff Asset Management, who ensures all necessary criteria are met before reaching an agreement. 

Requirements for technology transfer 

Aalto University performs a due diligence process to ensure the potential commercialising partner is committed and capable of developing the innovation and scaling it up in the market (innovation readiness level). Assessments include 

  • the quality of the business plan (market potential, sales strategy, and financial plan), 
  • alignment with Aalto University values, and 
  • risk management capabilities. 

For spinoffs also team composition, secured funding and investability will be assessed.

Transfer to a spinoff company 

Aalto University evaluates similar factors as investors in a spinoff company, with the main university investment being the IP, while investors contribute cash and venture experience in managing a successful startup. The competence and composition of the founding team and a capitalisation table reflecting committed shareholders are crucial to attracting future investors. 

Technology transfer discussions may begin once the innovation has reached a suitable innovation readiness level (IRL) and the team has drafted their business plan, cap table including the team and roles and investment memorandum.

Transfer to an established corporation 

When transferring IP to an established corporation, Aalto University negotiates terms that may include a one-time lump sum or ongoing royalties. These terms are designed to balance immediate financial returns with long-term collaborative potential, such as joint research projects or partnerships. 

Terms of transfer 

For spinoffs, Aalto University joins the team as a founder with 10-19,9% stake. Aalto's share will dilute with the other founders from the first round. 

For established corporations, the transfer terms are tailored to the specific context of the IP and the strategic goals of the partnership. 

Document templates available for technology transfer 

  • IP Commercialisation Policy
  • Investment Memorandum
  • Capitalisation Table
  • Shareholder agreement
  • Technology Transfer Agreement 

For Aalto personnel, see also Ancillary activity policy.

These document templates provide a detailed framework to ensure transparency, efficiency, and alignment with the university’s strategic goals during technology transfers. 
 

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