In this article, we analyze whether venture capital (VC) firms have a bias against investment in academic spin-offs based on empirical evidence from the micro- and nanotechnology sector in the UK. We also investigate the characteristics of academic spin-offs to capture the differences in their ability to attract VC funding. Finally, we examine whether the propensity to invest in such kinds of new ventures varies between private and public VC firms. The results of our regression analyses on a sample of 247 new ventures (123 academic spin-offs and 124 other companies) reject the presence of bias in this type of science-based business. They also highlight intellectual property rights, presence of academic-industrial collaborations, scientific reputation of the parent university and type of business model as important factors in the academic spin-off's ability to access VC financing. Furthermore, we show that private VCs devote a weaker attention than public VCs to the university's scientific reputation when deciding to finance academic spin-offs.

This article analyses whether and how the impact of publicly backed venture capital (VC) funds varies across regions, depending on their level of innovation intensity and in comparison with private VC funds. Building on agency and human capital theories, the authors distinguish public VC funds into regional and governmental types, to assess potential differences in the performance of their portfolio companies. The analyses rely on a sample of 628 VC-backed companies in the United Kingdom during 1998-2007, and they confirm that regional characteristics matter for rigorous assessments of the effectiveness of public VC programmes.

This paper provides theoretical and empirical contributions on how patent scope varies over time and by type of applicants in the initial phases of an emerging technology. We refer to the literature on technology life-cycles and on appropriability regimes in order to study the evolution of patent scope – as measured by the number of claims – in the specific case of nanotechnology. Our regression analyses, based on a sample of 58,244 nanotech US patents, show that – once time, sector and firm effects are controlled for – patent scope decreases over the subsequent phases of the technology life-cycle. Moreover, we find that university nanotech patents tend to be characterized by a broader scope than other patents. We conclude by discussing the managerial and policy implications of our empirical results.

Progetti di ricerca

1. January 2018 – Present, Principal Investigator for the research project "MOBILITI – The academic MOBILITy in Italy: determinants, relevance and impact" financed by the University of Bologna to sustain the basic research through the channel "ALMA IDEA Grant Senior" with deadline January 2020.
2. June 2017-February 2018, Responsible (with M. Mura) for the management part of the Accelerator Project financed by the Climate KIC entitled Integrated Technology for Electric Mobility (TIME) (Project Leader: Prof. Claudio Rossi).
3. June 2017- February 2018, Responsible (with M. Mura) for the management part of the Pathfinder Project financed by the Climate KIC entitled Mechanical storage for household renewables (Project Leader: Prof. Alberto Bellini).
4. 2011-2013, Principal Investigator for the research project “Corporate Venture Capital and Firm's Innovative Capabilities” (Grant number ES/I028625/1) at the Business, Management and Economics Department of SPRU (Science and Technology Policy Research), University of Sussex, REGNO UNITO and financed by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).
5. January – August 2009, Responsible for the Investment Readiness Project (advisor Prof. G. Murray), UK Department for Business Enterprise & Regulatory Reform (BERR)

Laura Toschi

Ordinario non di diritto, Università di Bologna,


Socio dal 2018