On May 30th 2019, ten ventures from the Oxford Foundry, University of Oxford’s high -growth Accelerator programme, OXFO L.E.V8 pitched to an audience of high-profile guests from the world of venture capital and industry at the Foundry's Demo Day. Special guests included Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter, Jelly and Medium, and Arlan Hamilton, founder and Managing Partner at US-based venture firm Backstage Capital.
Covering sectors ranging from access to healthcare, financial inclusion, diversity in children’s publishing and early disease diagnosis, each of the L.E.V8 teams has been provided with a package of support worth around £60k in value, including a tailored 6-month learning programme which delivers strategic commercial support in areas such as tech and product development, sales and distribution, hiring and building a team, raising venture funding and more. The L.E.V8 programme also offers dedicated office space in central Oxford, and professional legal and financial support.
Drawing on Oxford’s impressive industry networks, the Foundry has brokered introductions for the ventures to potential investors, corporate clients and partners. They have also had direct access to a wide array of top-flight experts and mentors, such as Paul Polman, former CEO of Unilever, and Kal Patel, former EVP of Best Buy Inc and CEO Best Buy Asia, to guide and advise them as they’ve developed and grown.
The impact of this investment is being felt globally as well as locally: in addition to creating an extra 30+ jobs, the ventures have saved over 5000kg of CO2 in the hospitality industry. They have enabled children in rural India to study for an additional 30 minutes each night, and women in those communities to double their incomes. They have improved safe and efficient patient care, making savings for one NHS Trust that equate to more than £144,000 in a year, and they have enabled around 500,000 children from BAME backgrounds in 35 countries to see themselves represented in the stories they read.