Oxford University Innovation’s contribution

We have assisted University of Oxford researchers in setting up over 100 spin-out companies.

Our contribution is in three main areas:

  • business planning

  • identifying management

  • identifying investment

Business planning

We can help with the preparation of the business plan, which will provide the basis on which your investors will construct their proposals. We can assist in deciding how best to structure the new company (debt/equity; shares, share options etc).

To help define the business of the company we have developed the spin-out questionnaire. Although some of the questions appear trivial we have found that discussing them with researchers (particularly if there is more than one involved) is very helpful in stimulating discussion, and clarifying exactly what the spin-out is to do. Our staff will be pleased to go through the questionnaire with you if you so wish.

Management

During the spinning out process, as well as in the subsequent running of the business, it is important that the team has a leader. This may be a researcher, or possibly one of the investors or an identified manager. We can compensate to some extent for lack of leadership in the spin-out team, but we will not be involved in the management of the resulting company (unless a member of our staff becomes involved as the University’s appointed director).

It is therefore important to establish a leader at an early stage. It may or may not be the case that the early leader eventually becomes the managing director of the company. We have a list of lawyers and accountants we have used before and can introduce you to them as well as to potential investors.

Investment

Oxford University Innovation can assist in identifying sources of investment finance through the Oxford Angels Network (OAN), Oxford Sciences Innovation plc (OSI) (external link) and other contacts.

  • OAN is a group of private investors (often called ‘business angels’) and venture capital companies with a keen interest in investing in University spin-out companies. It is not uncommon for business angels to take an active role in their investee companies which can bolster the spin-out team. Investment opportunities are presented to OAN members through direct mailings, meetings and formal presentation events held throughout the year; we have an extensive network of investors worldwide.
  • OSI was appointed in March 2015 as the University’s preferred partner for funding and development of spinout companies from Medical Sciences and MPLS Divisions. You can read more about it here.
  • We also have a dedicated fund for investing in Oxford companies, the University of Oxford Innovation Fund, set up by Parkwalk Advisors.

Although it is the University which must approve all spin-out companies, we are involved in the approval process. The University will consider the recommendations of Oxford University Innovation when deciding whether to accept an investment proposal.

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