The paper aims to provide an overview of the phenomenon of university spin-offs in Italy.
Academics spin-offs constitute one of the ways in which knowledge developed in universities
and public research institutions transfer into the productive sector. Differently from other
modes of technology transfer they are characterized by the direct involvement of researchers
and the support of the parent institution. The possibility for university and research institutions
to authorize spin-offs was introduced in Italy in 1999. Up to 2012 nearly 750 spin-offs were
set up in Italy. They registered a high survival rate and, overall, a good financial performance.
However, the spin- offs that have shown significant growth rates are just a few. Very often the
spin-off is used to facilitate the supply of advanced services developed within the university
rather than developing new products and services. The paper also analyse the ownership structure
of spin-offs and other factors affecting their growth performance.