Founders & Funders


A community to bridge the gap between science and business

Founders & Funders is a community and digital event series that brings notable alumni and funders in conversation with researchers and executive students at the coalface of science and business.

We offer:

  1. Keynote events: The keynotes are science business founders and funders, some Oxford-based, many alumni, but mostly drawn in from the wider ecosystem, such as leading experts and alumni based in Silicon Valley, Boston, and beyond.
  2. A unique community and ecosystem network: An integrated access point for science-entrepreneurship, addressing venture building, funding, mentorship, as well as academia – industry collaboration. The community facilitates peer-to-peer knowledge exchanges between entrepreneurial peers that are starting or have started a (science-)venture, notable alumni, and relevant ecosystem stakeholders.

Who can participate

Early career research scientists (Postdocs and DPhils), (Executive) MBAs, ecosystem stakeholders (entrepreneurs, investors, incubators and accelerators), and others interested in innovation and entrepreneurship (Oxford alumni and interested parties both local and across the globe).

How to participate and join the network

To attend please email Each chat has a max of 20-25 people to ensure fair interaction among the attendees.

    Season 3: Speakers


    Anthony Rose, Founder & CEO, SeedLegals

    Anthony is co-founder and CEO at SeedLegals, a legaltech platform that lets startups and investors complete the legals needed to build, grow and fund their business, at a fraction of the cost of using a law firm. More than one in six of all early-stage funding rounds in the UK are now done on SeedLegals.

    Anthony’s career has included 3D graphics, P2P music, internet video, social TV and online communities.

    In 2015 Anthony founded 6Tribes, a world of communities based on shared interests. 6Tribes was acquired less than a year later. Previously, Anthony co-founded Beamly, a social and content network for television, which was acquired by Coty in 2015.

    Known as 'The man behind BBC iPlayer', Anthony ran the iPlayer and other BBC services from 2007 to 2010, taking the iPlayer from pre-launch to major success story. 

    Anthony’s patent portfolio includes patents for distributed online rewards, content discovery and interactive television.


    Anya Roy, Head of the Illumina Accelerator Cambridge, UK

    Anya joined Illumina in January 2020 to lead Illumina Accelerator Cambridge in UK. She has experience as an Entrepreneur, venture capital Investor and as a Banker.

    She was previously the founder and CEO of Syrona, a digital health start-up that develops low-cost, non-invasive screening kits for women’s health issues pioneering combination of digital and biological markers. She worked at Goldman Sachs and in life science venture capital at IP Group prior to founding her own company.

    She earned a MPhil with a focus in Bioscience from the University of Cambridge in Cambridge, England and currently completing her Executive MBA from Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, having been conferred the prestigious 30% club scholarship.



    Boudewijn Wijnands, Founder & CEO at Deedmob

    Boudewijn Wijnands is founder, CEO of Deedmob. Deedmob is the largest social-tech start-up for the social & voluntary sector in Europe since being launched at Oxford in 2017. The Deedmob software product is used nationally and internationally by more than 10,500 charities, companies, municipalities and governments. More than 2,600,000 people around the world volunteer using Deedmob’s technology.

    During the recent Covid-19 outbreak, the company gained a lot of international attention by launching several CoronaHelpers platforms worldwide. Deedmob’s technology was ranked highest in a report initiated by Bill & Melinda Gates on corporate volunteering technology. Boudewijn is a graduate of the University of Oxford, University of Amsterdam and was included in the Forbes 30-under-30 class of 2020 in the Social Entrepreneurship category along with Greta Thunberg. Boudewijn is also a member of the national Dutch think tank Denkwerk.


    Patricia Fraser, Chief Safety Officer at Ionis

    Patricia (Pat) Fraser is the Chief Safety Officer at Ionis Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: IONS), a California-based biotech that focuses on novel RNA-targeting therapies. As an executive director at Ionis, she is responsible for clinical safety strategy and driving risk management initiatives in accordance with global regulatory requirements. 

    Prior to joining Ionis, Pat was a senior director of safety at Genentech, EMD Serono, Millennium, and Genzyme.

    She is also a board-certified rheumatologist and a keen proponent of healthcare accessibility and affordability. 

    Join us on 18 November to hear Pat walk through a short case study highlighting challenges in healthcare accessibility and then to hear some of her noteworthy experiences as a safety officer at both pharma and SMID biotechs.


    Ian Smith, former COO Vertex

    Ian Smith is a biotechnology leader with more than 30 years finance and operations experience. In addition to serving as a Chair of the Board of Directors of Solid Biosciences Inc, Ian serves as a senior advisor to Bain Capital Life Sciences, Executive Board chair of Viacyte Inc and a Board member of Foghorn Therapeutics, Board member of Aavantii Bio and provides consulting services to these and other biotechnology companies.

    Prior to his current roles he was Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. as well as Chief Financial Officer between 2001 and 2019. Prior to 2001, Ian was a partner in the Life Science and Technology Practice of the accounting firm Ernst & Young LLP.

    Ian received a BA with honours in accounting and finance from Manchester Metropolitan University.


    The Oxford Venture Collaboratory (OVC)

    By Founders & Funders

    What does an ‘ecosystem approach’ mean for your entrepreneurial activities? 

    That is the question addressed over the course of 3 pilot events in July 2021 by the ‘Oxford Venture Collaboratory’ (OVC). Speaking from professional and personal experience the panellists explored what it means to adopt a ‘relational’ or ‘ecosystem-grounded approach’ to venture building: connecting, bridging, engaging. The work of entrepreneurs is versatile. We focus on managing complex relationships as a core activity of any entrepreneur. How can you use social networks in early-stage projects? After all, who you talk next with may shape where you go. 


    Past panels

    • Mary McKenna MBE (Serial Entrepreneur & Co-founder @ AwakenHub), Nicki Campling (Ecosystem Manager @ Barclays Ventures), and Greg FitzGerald (Chief of Staff, Canada @ Silicon Valley Bank).
    • Joyeeta Das (Venture Partner @ SuperSeed Ventures Chairperson & Co-Founder @ GYana), Dr Mira Kassouf (Oxford Scientist Director @ Innovation Forum), and Dr Tim Hannigan (Prof. Organization Theory & Entrepreneurship @ University of Alberta).
    • Dr Danuta Jeziorska (CEO & Co-Founder @ Nucleome Therapeutics), Kanika Mehta (Investor & Steering Committee member @ Oxford Angel Fund), and Stephanie Gnissios (COO & Co-Founder @ Climate Risk Services).

    Past sessions

    This programme is made possible by