Funds and support

The University holds shares and convertible loans across a portfolio of 175 companies. These holdings occur through three main funding vehicles, University Founder Shares, the University Challenge Seed Fund and the Spinout Equity Management Fund. At the end of 2017/18 the value of these holdings was £190m.

The University receives shares in companies created by academics who commercialise the University’s intellectual property. The University received shares between 5% to 20% of the initial equity of a spinout company called University Founder Shares.

In 1999/2000 the University established the University Challenge Seed Fund (“UCSF”). The fund was initially supported by £4m of funding from the UK Government, Wellcome Trust, Gatsby Foundation, the University of Oxford. In 2019 Oxford Science Enterprises joined as a partner through adding £5m to the fund. The UCSF aim is to accelerate the commercialisation of technology and intellectual property from the University of Oxford. The UCSF provides grants to researchers with the aim of increase the potential of either licences or company formation from its research. Where a company is formed the original award is converted into equity into the spinout.

The Spinout Equity Management Fund was established in 2006 to invest in spinout companies. The purpose of the fund is to deliver a significant equity investment return to the University. The fund invests into early stage companies in the form of equity and convertible debt instruments. These investments are a high risk investment with an average holding period in a company of 10 to 15 years.

In 2014 OUI launched in partnership with Parkwalk Advisors Ltd (“Parkwalk”) an EIS fund, the University of Oxford Innovation Fund (“UOIF”). The UOIF offers alumni and individuals the opportunity to invest in companies create by the University of Oxford in a tax-efficient manner. Since 2014 Parkwalk has raised five UOIF funds raising over £8m.

Parkwalk Advisors Ltd (Parkwalk) is the Fund Manager. Parkwalk is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority FRN: 502237 in the UK. Oxford University Innovation acts as an Advisor to the UOIF for the purposes of sourcing and evaluating investment opportunities, assisting with arranging and monitoring these investments and facilitating exit opportunities. By agreeing to invest in the UOIF, the investors have appointed Parkwalk to invest their subscriptions on a discretionary basis into SEIS and/or EIS Qualifying Companies.

For more information on UOIF please see Parkwalk’s website or email

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