University of Oxford Innovation Funds

Launched in conjunction with Oxford University Innovation, the University’s Technology Transfer and academic consulting subsidiary, the University of Oxford Innovation Funds offer alumni and investors the opportunity to invest in companies formed to develop and commercialise technology and intellectual property developed at the University of Oxford in a tax efficient manner.

There is an overview of Oxford University Innovation’s year here.

We are delighted to help facilitate the spin-out of new companies with additional funding made available through the University of Oxford Innovation Funds, which are a very tax efficient way for alumni and friends of the University to support Oxford
Adam Workman, Head of New Venture Support and Funding at Oxford University Innovation.

University of Oxford Innovation Fund III

The University of Oxford Innovation Fund III closed to investors in May 2016. Please click here to email the funds team to be notified when the University of Oxford Innovation Fund IV opens in 2017.

The Fund

The University of Oxford Innovation Funds invest in companies selected by Oxford University Innovation, the Funds’ Portfolio Advisor, taking advantage of the knowledge, expertise and infrastructure already in place.
The Funds provide the private investor with an opportunity to invest in early stage technology companies as they spin-out of the University, while supplying additional finance to ensure that companies are properly resourced for the initial stages of commercial product development.

The Funds seek to invest with the tax reliefs of the EIS and SEIS, where applicable.

EIS Benefits

  • 30% Up-front Income Tax relief
  • Capital Gains Tax (CGT) deferral of unlimited gains
  • Capital Gains Tax free gains
  • Loss relief providing up to 61.5% total tax relief for a 45% taxpayer
  • 100% Inheritance Tax (IHT) exemption after two years

SEIS Benefits

  • 50% Upfront Income Tax relief
  • Capital Gains Tax free gains
  • Loss relief providing up to 86.5% total tax relief for a 45% taxpayer
  • 100% Inheritance Tax (IHT) exemption after two years

Track Record

Parkwalk Advisors is the Fund Manager and Oxford University Innovation is the Portfolio Advisor for the purposes of sourcing and evaluating investment opportunities for the Funds.
Since 1987, Oxford University Innovation has been responsible for creating spin-out companies based on academic research generated within and owned by the University of Oxford, and has spun-out a new company every two months on average. Over £266 million in external investment has been raised by Oxford University Innovation spin-out companies since 2000, and five are currently listed on London’s AIM market.

Some notable start-ups from the University include:

  • Oxford Instruments
  • Oxford BioMedica
  • BioAnaLab – acquired by Millipore Corporation in 2010
  • Oxford Nanopore – raised over £145m in follow-on funding
  • NaturalMotion – acquired by Zynga for $527m in Q1 2014
  • Oxford Immunotec raised $64m in Nasdaq IPO in 2013

Investment Strategy

The University of Oxford: Excellence in Research

The ‘dreaming spires of Oxford’ are known around the world as a haven for learning. To make the most of this learning, Oxford also endeavours to excel at identifying, protecting and finding commercial partners for ideas that will make a difference in supporting both the excellence of Oxford and helping to improve the health and wealth of society.

The University of Oxford is the largest research-based University in the UK, with research expenditure of £612m in 2013/14.

In the December 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) exercise, Oxford University was ranked number one in the UK for the quality of its research, with the largest volume of world-leading research in the country.

Oxford University Innovation was established by the University “to ensure that the results of research, having been adequately protected by way of patents, bring reward to the University and the inventors”. Since then Oxford University Inovation has filed over 1300 new patent applications on Oxford inventions, concluded over 700 technology licence agreements with industry around the world and helped establish over 100 new Oxford technology companies, which have raised in excess of £500m investment finance, transferring technology and expertise to industry and society.

The University of Oxford Innovation Fund will help fill the gap between current funding support for research and infrastructure in the University and later-stage investment from industry and the finance sector, and enable the progression of the most exciting innovations from all departments within the University.

Oxford University Innovation, the Fund’s Portfolio Advisor, is acknowledged worldwide as being an expert in protecting, patenting and licensing early-stage technologies, and setting up new ‘spin-out’ companies. Its growth over the last 10 years has been core to the University’s success in spinning out over 50 new companies based on Oxford intellectual property.

The Fund may provide seed and follow-on investments into University of Oxford spin-outs and start-ups providing greater financial resources to investee companies.
Realisations will be returned to investors as and when they are attained. There will also be a return to the University and society as Investee Companies seek to maximise social and economic benefits in a commercial manner.

In the last ten years Oxford University Innovation (or Isis Innovation, as it used to be known) has set up 54 new technology spin-out companies, over 90% of which are still in business, and concluded 500 technology licensing transactions. These achievements make Oxford University Innovation one of the leading university technology transfer offices in the world.