IFE has a long tradition of commercializing ideas from research, and has gained various experiences. Some commercializations have become successful companies, including Scandpower, SPT-group, Resman, Restrack, Visavi, APT, Kjeller Vindteknikk and Zeg Power. In other cases, such as the multiphase technology OLGA, licensing has provided good income over many years.
Innovation and commercialization
IFE is an active partner in the innovation environment at Kjeller, which is probably the most complete innovation system next to the Trondheim environment around NTNU and SINTEF. IFE has a 10 per cent stake in Kjeller Innovasjon AS, which is the commercialization actor (Technology Transfer Office) for the institutes at Kjeller. Akershus county municipality and Siva are also key owners. Business developers at Kjeller Innovation assist IFE and IFE Invest with developing ideas, establishing and developing companies, and seeking funds from the policy apparatus.
In 2008, IFE Venture AS was established as a wholly owned subsidiary with the aim of increasing the commercialization of research at IFE. Since its inception, established commercialization companies have purchased research services from IFE for approx. NOK 230 million. The company changed its name to IFE Invest AS in 2017 and former CFO at IFE, Jørgen Lundberg, has been employed full-time in the company since autumn 2017. IFE Invest AS establishes and develops the companies with active owner follow-up in the form of assistance to day-to-day management, further market development, scale-up and capital raising. The investment capital is approx. NOK 30 million, and there are currently six companies in the portfolio. In 2018, the company Restrack was sold to Resman, based in Norway, which shows IFE’s ability to transform research and technology into robust growth companies. The company Sunphade was established in 2018 from IFE’s Solar Department. In addition, IFE Invest manages the holdings in the NIK III fund and IFE’s housing company. IFE has had access to a certain amount of early-stage capital through IFE Invest AS, Akershus Technology Fund, Kjeller Innovation and Norsk Innovation Capital (NIK).