Limited research, mostly atheoretical, has been conducted on what universities can expect for themselves by creating spinout firms and less so in a historical context. Given that commercial activities in the academia were initially seen as a threat to the mission of contemporary education, it is worth investigating the following questions: 1) was the decision to engage in spinout creation rational or not? 2) how were commercial activities in the form of spinouts legitimised? 3) what are the returns of spinouts for their parent institutions?