Navigating the early stages of running a business can be daunting. We partner with you and any fellow founders on a range of venture development areas to help the spin-out gain traction at the critical and often riskiest early stages of the business. This will cover the breadth of business needs from finding a CEO to customer introductions.

Recruitment of a CEO is a key element of the formation of the spin out, as having a strong leader in place means that full and part-time employees and key external stakeholders in the business will have a unified sense of direction and confidence in the spin-out and its aims. The leader may be the inventor or an external CEO.

Spin-outs require a very specific skill set and industry expertise in a CEO. Hiring the right person early on is critical to the success of the spin-out process. The CEO will help to devise a robust mission, strategy and operational plan for the business to succeed. If an external CEO is sourced, it is still critical to have you and other founders involved in the earliest stages to help the spin-out gain momentum quickly.

We will help to source the right CEO early on through our industry relationships, networks, and knowledge of how to assess and incentivise a good CEO candidate. The costs (including recruitment costs) of this initial selection will also be covered by the Ploughshare Accelerator Fund. Once the CEO is hired, we will act as the conduit between you and the rest of the founding team, CEO and government department to ensure an effective working relationship to maximise the spin-out’s chance of success.

leadership 2
leadership 1

The transition to leading and running a business can be a steep learning curve, particularly for inventors, and comes with emotional peaks and troughs. Our Commercialisation Managers will support you not only with the early commercial aspects of the business, but also the leadership journey in the critical early phases.

In addition to recruitment of the CEO, Ploughshare will work with you for the selection and recruitment of the wider spin-out leadership team. Moreover, we can help to supplement the founding team with an experienced board to advise and steer the business in the right direction.



“When the founding team and Ploughshare have decided it would benefit from an experienced CEO to help kickstart the business, Ploughshare uses its extensive network and professional recruiters to help the team find the person with the necessary background, skills and personality to join them on their journey.”

Lily Chan, Commercialisation & Portfolio Manager

Helping spin-outs access the market:

  • Market opportunities
    We will help founders brainstorm technology applications and identify the best market opportunities. Though we aren’t experts in all sectors, we will help the team to look at how to segment the market (grouping prospective customers and looking for a common approach to selling to them) and how to build a sustainable pipeline of products for those segments and with high-growth potential.
  • Strategic decisions on monetisation
    Monetisation for a spin-out literally means turning your technology into revenue-generating activities, services, or products. To ensure the best market opportunities identified above are maximised, we will help the spin-out team triage the opportunities based on feedback with potential customers to reach a decision on the first product to launch. Once this is complete, we will assist the team in planning how they can deliver the product. In addition, part of the monetisation strategy will include looking at the product pipeline and future market expansion strategies.
    Support will include:

    • Technology road mapping for the first iteration of the product
    • Business plan creation
    • Creating a revenue-generating business model
  • Customer engagement
    Ploughshare links key stakeholders together and has connections to industry. We can help spin-outs make their first useful engagements with customers to better understand the market and inform how best to go to market. We can also support founders to attend key tradeshows and make introductions to relevant stakeholders.
  • Product and business development
    As part of product and business development there is the opportunity for further funding through PAF, for example, to raise the TRL of the technology. We can also help in setting up key collaborations/relationships with manufacturers.

Sentinel Photonics case study

Mission and strategy
Sentinel Photonics is a spin-out from the Dstl and it provides class-leading laser detection and protection products with the aim of negating the threats of lasers both on the modern battlefield and in the civilian domain.

Ploughshare’s help
Ploughshare helped the founding team by providing a £100,000 loan which was used to pay the first few months of the CEO’s salary, raise the TRL of the company’s product and test it in the field to validate its effectiveness. We also helped them to secure funding from the Defence And Security Accelerator and identified a new source of potential funding from the Defence Innovation Unit which was eventually secured.

Spin-out impact
The technology enables the detection of laser sources which provides critical situational awareness for users. For instance, the technology can be used to detect invisible lasers for guided missiles resulting in a quicker user reaction time to evade threats and, ultimately, save lives.



Continue your journey


Ready to Spinout?

Are you an investor looking for your next venture or an inventor looking to make your idea real. Fill out our form and one of our team will contact you.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.