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Business

Over 200 startups worth over 1 trillion yen

TOKYO -- The University of Tokyo, also known as Todai, is now proud parent to more than 200 startups born from university patents and personnel. Those startups have a combined value exceeding 1 trillion yen ($8.07 billion), and in fiscal 2013 they garnered the university record-high revenues exceeding 610 million yen through avenues such as patent royalties and listings on stock markets.

     The university's Division of University Corporate Relations recently conducted a survey to calculate the scale of Todai's startups. It looked at companies set up to commercialize university patents and research results, and also included companies founded by Todai graduates, companies whose management teams include university professors, and companies in which university-affiliated venture capital firms have made investments.

     As of the start of April, there were a total of 224 Todai-related startups, or roughly double the number from five years ago, including 16 listed companies and 208 unlisted.

     Those 16 listed companies, which include bio-food venture Euglena and biopharmaceutical venture PeptiDream, have a market capitalization topping 960 billion yen. When the venture capital invested in the unlisted companies is added in, the 224 startups have a combined value of around 1.3 trillion yen.

     The 610 billion yen that the university reaped in fiscal 2013 from patent licensing fees and stock acquisition rights was triple the amount garnered five years ago.

     The Japanese government looks to the intellectual property of the universities as seeds for growth, so Todai will likely see these kinds of revenues continue to grow in the years ahead.

     But while Todai's startups are gaining attention in global markets, with some even being acquired by the likes of Google and Chinese Internet company Baidu, the relative scale of its association with startups is still small.

     Todai has transferred intellectual property to only 68 companies, which pales next to the over 700 companies that the University of California has seeded.

     Nothing compares to the more than 40 trillion yen market value of Stanford University's Google. But a more telling example is that of Israel, which has a national policy of promoting startups from universities. In 2014 alone, 13 such Israeli startups went public in the U.S. and five in the UK, procuring total funds of $9.8 billion.

(Nikkei)

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