From education to employment

Europe’s largest student-led Seed Fund set to support leading-edge start-ups and create jobs across the world

The Oxford Seed Fund (OSF), led by the Entrepreneurship Centre at Saïd Business School, has raised £2.5m from Oxford Science Enterprises (OSE) to support start-ups over the next three years, for the first time making it Europe’s largest, and one of the world’s biggest, student-led seed funds.

This will create a five-fold rise in start-ups the OSF can support with pre-seed funding to 10 a year. Since launching in 2013, the fund’s investments have helped its portfolio companies catalyse a further £110 million from global investors into their ground-breaking new ventures. It has also helped create more than 1,200 new jobs.

The increase in the size of the fund comes amid consistently high demand for its continuously oversubscribed programme, with more than 50 applications last year for its four-managerial spots. The 2023/24 programme is about to start and has already received more than 70 applications. 

OSF is a key programme of Oxford Saïd’s Entrepreneurship Centre and the new fund is the beneficiary of a new partnership with Oxford Science Enterprises (OSE). Oxford Saïd students make-up the OSF team, bringing their experience in venture capital, investment strategy, management consultancy, financial services, and entrepreneurship. It educates students in investing and accessing funding and offers access to initial capital, and connections to a network of influential investors across the University of Oxford.  

Maria Zubeldia, Director of the Entrepreneurship Centre at Oxford Saïd, said:

‘This significant funding, thanks to Oxford Science Enterprises, means we can better support the global impact of our innovative students and colleagues from across the University. This is great news, not just here in Oxford, but for innovation and entrepreneurship across the world. I am excited to see how this money will create more exciting opportunities, inspire change makers and be a force for good.’ 

Since launching in 2013, OSF has built a robust alum community of 150 early career investors and 27 companies across the globe, spanning a wide range of sectors, from healthcare to edtech and fintech. It has invested in 24 ventures. This includes Yoxly, a direct-to-consumer digital sexual health platform, delivering remote medical services alongside interactive features to address the physical, mental, and social aspects of sexual wellness. Since closing its pre-seed round, of which OSF was a part, Yoxly has acquired over 3,000 users across the UK, secured new partnerships, and amassed an engaged community of more than 900,000 global followers.

Dr Danae Maragouthakis, co-founder and CEO of Yoxly, said:

‘OSF believed in us from the very beginning. They were wonderfully supportive – offering feedback or leveraging their network and diverse expertise. To this day, we continue to have meaningful relationships with members of their team.’

James Murray, Head of Investment at the Entrepreneurship Centre, commented:

‘It has been exciting working with Oxford Science Enterprises on this arrangement, which we are happy to announce today. This new, larger, fund takes us to the next level and illustrates the University’s commitment to support talented entrepreneurs, future venture capitalists and the thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem in Oxford.’

Lilly Bussmann, Head of Network, Oxford Science Enterprises said:

“As an investor of innovative companies, our goal is to bring Oxford’s best ideas to the world by working with brilliant people across the university to turn ground-breaking concepts into leading enterprises of the future. Our investment in OSF is part of our continued commitment to nurturing a strong entrepreneurial community at Oxford and making sure we are creating the opportunities to bring these ideas to life.”

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