QUBIS Innovation Fund

QUBIS Innovation Fund

Turning high-quality academic inspiration into cutting-edge commercial innovation. 


What is the aim of this fund?

"Formed in 1984, QUBIS has a track-record in creating disruptive startups, and otherwise helping commercialise cutting–edge technology from the Queen’s University research base."

Brian McCaul, QUBIS

The Fund presents the opportunity for alumni and qualifying investors to make an impact investment in spin-out companies formed to commercialise scientific and technological advances made at Queen’s University Belfast ("Queens"). To support the Fund’s pipeline, consideration will also be given to Queen’s Student ventures and spin-outs from partner Universities participating in the Queen’s administered NxNW ICURe Programme. The NxNW consortium encompasses Ulster University, University of Edinburgh, University of Liverpool, University of Sheffield, University of Manchester, and the University of Leeds.

Brian McCaulKey Individuals - Brian McCaul is the CEO of QUBIS and also Director of Innovation at Queen’s University Belfast. Having worked both within technology transfer environments and as an entrepreneur with his own start-up companies, Brian’s experience prior to joining QUBIS includes: co-owning an aerospace manufacturing business based in the UK and Poland; co-founding an innovation software company in the UK and Netherlands; establishing the Innovation Commons – a community and shared platform of university Technology Transfer Offices bringing entrepreneurs to work on early-stage projects, and working on numerous national knowledge transfer initiatives as Chair of the Association for University Research and Industry Links (AURIL).

Brian is supported by a team of experienced investment professionals with backgrounds in private equity and entrepreneurship. 

At a glance

Investment goal


Relative risk

High / Adventurous. Capital at Risk

Risk 7

Invests in

Early stage university spin outs

Student ventures


Target Return

2.5 return after 7 years

Not a reliable indicator of future income.



Closed to new investors as of 07/07/2021

Fund Details

Investment Strategy

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The objective of the QUBIS Innovation Fund is to invest in a portfolio of early stage high-growth companies from Queen’s University and other UK based universities on the North by North West (“NxNW”) ICURe programme, funded by the UK innovation agency Innovate UK. Queen’s University, as the lead partner, facilitates the ICURe programme to be a customer discovery pathway for identifying the most commercially promising opportunities, and to assist them through the Spin-Out stage.

The Fund will aim to invest in a portfolio of early stage start-up companies in order to provide a portfolio of SEIS and/or EIS qualifying companies to Investors. The QUBIS Innovation Fund will seek to fuel the commercialisation of University Spin-Out companies from QUBIS and NxNW ecosystems. These early-stage companies from leading UK universities often address problems at the heart of society. Such companies will often have a national and international economic impact. The result will be a professionally managed source of funding to exponentiate the growth of maturing projects within the QUBIS ecosystem.

The pipeline of opportunities will predominantly come from the Queen’s University ecosystem. The Fund’s pipeline will also consider Spin-Outs from partner universities participating in the North by North West (NxNW) ICURe programme. The programme includes Ulster University, University of Edinburgh, University of Liverpool, University of Sheffield, University of Manchester & University of Leeds. Exceptional companies from other leading UK universities can enter the ICURe programme and will therefore be eligible for inclusion in the Fund. The Fund also reserves the right to consider outstanding alumni and student ventures as potential Investee Companies.

The preferred route for commercialisation is to enrol promising concepts onto two commercial development programmes, the Lean Launchpad and the Innovate UK NxNW ICURe programme. These programmes are used as customer discovery pathways to establish the commercial viability of intellectual property by exploring whether there is a genuine market opportunity that a Spin-Out company can target. The Fund will consider promising companies from these programmes that exhibit market potential.

The Fund will not be bound to a specific sector but, will rather focus on the potential disruptive impacts of commercialised research. Historically, QUBIS has a track record of commercialising research from data analytics, cybersecurity and life & medical sciences however the current QUBIS portfolio includes successful Spin-Outs from various sectors.


QUBIS portfolio companies.

Liopa Ltd

Liopa spun out of Queen’s University Belfast in 2016. The company is onward developing and commercialising research carried out within the university into Visual Speech Recognition (VSR) , effectively automated lip reading.

Fusion Antibodies PLC

Fusion Antibodies is dedicated to the discovery and early development of antibodies to help bring about a positive change in the healthcare industry.

CV6 Therapeutics

CV6 Therapeutics is dedicated to the development of novel innovative therapeutics to improve the lives of patients with cancer and inflammatory diseases.


Investor Charges

Full initial charge 0%
Annual management charge 0%
Administration charge 0%
Performance fee on exits 20%


Investee Company Charge

Initial charge Up to 3%
Annual management charge 2%
Transaction Fee 0%


Please check the fees section of the Information Memorandum for full details. All fees and charges are stated exclusive of VAT, which may be applicable in some cases. Any fees and charges payable by the investee companies or the underlying businesses do not directly come out of your investment. However, they will effectively reduce the returns generated by investee companies and therefore directly impact your investment.




If you have any questions regarding the QUBIS Fund or the application form - please feel free to contact us.

Important Information

Eligible Investors

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To invest, you must be an eligible investor. To be an eligible investor, you must be qualifying as one or more of the following:

Risk Warning

Important information for private investors – Reliance on the information provided here to engage in any investment activity may expose an individual to a significant risk of losing all of the property or other assets invested. Your attention is drawn to the risk section contained within the Information Memorandum. Investments are typically in unquoted shares in small companies, the value of which can be volatile and are often difficult to sell. Nothing on this website constitutes investment, tax, financial, legal, regulatory, or other advice by Sapphire Capital Partners LLP.

The value of an investment may go down as well as up, and you may not get back the full amount invested, and you may therefore lose some or all of your investment.

If you are unsure of the suitability of any investment for your circumstances, please contact your independent financial advisor or other professional advisor authorised under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (FSMA) who specialises in advising on investments of this type. Tax reliefs depend on individual circumstances. There is no guarantee however that the tax reliefs (such as EIS reliefs, CGT reliefs or IHT relief) will be available on any investment made or that if it is initially available, it will not be subsequently withdrawn. Any references to tax laws or rates are based on current legislation, all of which are subject to change and are provided as a guide only. Prospective investors are advised to take their own investment and taxation advice and should consult their own professional advisors on the implications of investing.

Investments made in investee companies via funds managed by Sapphire Capital Partners LLP are not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). For more details, please contact us or refer to their website: https://www.fscs.org.uk

Past performance is not a guide to future returns. 

View QUBIS Limited website.