The Oxford Foundry is excited to announce the ten high-potential, high-impact ventures joining Cohort 4 of the OXFO Elevate accelerator.
The Oxford Foundry was established by Saïd Business School for the benefit of all students and alumni of the University of Oxford.
The pre-Seed and Seed stage Oxford University-affiliated ventures joining the OXFO Elevate accelerator were selected from hundreds who applied following a five-stage selection process that included judging from leading experts in entrepreneurship and venture capital.
Ventures were selected based on their vision, the experience and capabilities of the team, the stage of their minimum viable product, knowledge of their lead market and roadmap, and the venture’s potential to globally scale and tackle a tough world problem that puts people and the planet first whilst delivering economic impact.
The cohort is truly international with entrepreneurs currently working from countries including the UK, France, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Norway, Chile, and Canada. 90% of ventures are led by Oxford University alumni. There are co-founders from 12 Oxford colleges, with 37% of founding team members from the Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences Division, 35% the Social Sciences Division, 21% Medical Sciences, and 7% Humanities. 30% of ventures have a founding team member from Saïd Business School, and 70% of ventures have a woman on the founding team.
The ventures receive a bespoke six-month programme from April – October 2021, with support to leverage the Oxford Foundry and Oxford University’s powerful networks, partnerships, and talent. They receive a comprehensive venture building and leadership curriculum including core curriculum on equality and equity and building diverse and inclusive teams, and coaching on personal development and mental health. This includes hands-on support from the Foundry’s exceptional global resident experts, mentors, and founder coaches who are some of the world’s leading experts across different sectors, seasoned entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, thought leaders and academics.
With the launch of the Foundry’s Entrepreneurial Fellowship Initiative for students from Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic backgrounds, ventures have access to Oxford’s incredible talent for funded Summer placements. Ventures are also given direct introductions to potential investors, funds, clients, partners, and opportunities to secure grant funding, leveraging on the Foundry’s network of high-net-worth individuals and corporate sponsors, and an extensive tech, legal, and HR support package.
The first OXFO Elevate accelerator cohort joined in 2018, following the launch of the Oxford Foundry (OXFO) entrepreneurship centre in October 2017. To date, the 32 ventures in the Oxford Foundry’s portfolio - cohorts 1-3, have raised £43m+ in investment since joining the programme, created 170+ jobs, and are valued at over £150m.
Ana Bakshi, Director of the Oxford Foundry, said:
“The UK is a pivotal epicentre of entrepreneurial opportunity and technological innovation but there is still so much untapped potential. Universities have unique and unparalleled assets, talent, academic expertise, and industry partnerships they can leverage to support ventures.
OXFO puts this into action through our OXFO Elevate accelerator programme. OXFO ventures are proof that profit and social impact aren’t mutually exclusive, and technology can be used to address inequalities rather than widen them. They are the ones helping us build back better and who are creating new vital jobs to replace the ones lost during the pandemic. We’re really looking forward to bringing people together across the Oxford community, our global entrepreneurial ecosystems, and the public and private sectors to support this next cohort. Thank you to our community and everyone that makes this possible.”
Biz Stone, Co-founder of Twitter and Chair of the Oxford Foundry Advisory Board, said:
“The OXFO Elevate accelerator is a place where entrepreneurs can leverage the incredible resources and networks university accelerators have to offer. Since 2017, OXFO ventures have consistently proven to be highly investable – I, myself, have personally invested in several of them – and have shown what is possible when we back early-stage ventures. There are some incredible start-ups in the Foundry’s portfolio - Infogrid, Nye health, Oxwash, iLoF to name just a few. I’m looking forward to getting to know the new cohort and seeing the impact we can make together over the next six months and beyond.”
Peter Tufano, Peter Moores Dean, Professor of Finance at Saïd Business School, Advisor to the Oxford Foundry and Vice-Chair of OXFO Academic Steering Committee, said:
“Congratulations to the ten ventures joining Cohort 4. The past 18 months have shown how entrepreneurs rapidly rise to address pressing needs, providing creative and effective solutions in the face of unprecedented challenges. Working across many different sectors -public health, education, the workplace, and more- our entrepreneurial students and alumni inspire me with their dedication and creativity. The Oxford Foundry provides the support, space and resources these ventures need to thrive, and I am grateful to the Foundry team, our advisors, and supporters for all they do.”
Professor Chas Bountra, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Innovation at the University of Oxford, said:
“Oxford University has produced more founders of billion-dollar start-ups than any other institution in Europe (Sage UK, 2017). With such a strong innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem here, it’s vital that as well as commercialising research-focused spin-outs, we continue to extend our support, and accelerate student and alumni ventures at their earliest stages. The Foundry accelerates ventures at the start of their journeys incredibly well, and in working together across divisions, disciplines, and centres, and embedding entrepreneurship and innovation right across the University, there is phenomenal potential to substantially contribute towards solving complex global problems and improving our society and the economy.”