Opened in October 2017 by Apple CEO Tim Cook, The Oxford Foundry (OXFO) is the University’s new entrepreneurship centre. The atmosphere in the Hythe Bridge Street centre is already humming, but less well known is that Oxford alumni who graduated within the past 12 months can use the centre freely, while alumni within ten years of graduation get ten free ‘passes’ for the centre per year.
Furthermore, the Foundry’s start-up accelerator programme, OXFO L.E.V8, (Ed: ‘Elevate’, geddit?) will open applications for the second cohort in June. Eligible is any start-up at an early stage of development, whose team includes at least one Oxford University student, member of staff, or alumnus / alumna within 10 years of graduation. Ventures selected for the accelerator receive a support package worth an estimated £60k in value, including office space for a six-month term. Crucially, the accelerator requires no transfer of Intellectual Property (IP), and takes no equity in the ventures it supports.
The first ten start-up teams currently in residence include students and recent alumni from 14 different areas of study, including medicine, physics, international development and anthropology, with a 50/50 split between current students and alumni. Here they are:
- Util – responsible investing, placing sustainability at the heart of mainstream finance.
- Boresha – fintech to efficiently manage working capital loans for supply chains in Africa.
- Scoodle – a platform to intelligently connect students with tutors.
- Veratrak – Blockchain-based enterprise software, making the pharmaceutical supply chain more efficient.
- Metronome – an energy company eliminating the need for future fossil fuel consumption.
- Propmatch – enabling real estate buyers and sellers to make smart, data-driven decisions.
- Ecosync – Tech to optimise the energy performance of buildings, reducing energy consumption.
- BreatheOx – A home monitoring system to predict and prevent asthma attacks.
- Pod Health – Providing patients with convenient, high quality, tech-driven healthcare, with a focus on diagnostics.
- EnRecover – a physiotherapy app helping patients to enjoy pain-free movement post-surgery, and enabling doctors to monitor progress remotely.
Ana Bakshi, Director of the Oxford Foundry, says, ‘Each of our ventures is working on impact-driven and purpose-led solutions to global issues. OXFO L.E.V8 connects these ventures to a valuable ecosystem of peers, experts and advisors, all of whom will accelerate them on their journey to scale. The L.E.V8 tailored learning programme will support each participant as they evolve into resilient, empathic entrepreneurial leaders, strong communicators and strategic thinkers. We are creating a collective, a family of Oxford Foundry entrepreneurs who contribute to, and benefit from, an evergreen cycle of support.’