In 2023, the University of Oxford achieved a milestone with the creation of its 300th company, confirming Oxford’s pole position as the UK’s most prolific creator of university-originated companies.

Starting with Oxford Instruments in 1959, the University has created academic spinouts, social ventures and startups across the breadth and depth of its many scientific disciplines. Companies are providing grand solutions to global challenges, with Oxford DNA at their core.

Quick Facts

  • 20 New companies

  • £730.8m raised across portfolio companies

  • £32m seed funding secured

Ideas born from Oxford’s physics research are creating quantum computers and fusion energy. Our life science researchers are developing life-saving vaccines and finding solutions to treat the untreatable. Roboticists and computer science academics are putting autonomous vehicles on the road and building new models of AI.

A science superpower

Pivotal to the UK’s aspirations of establishing itself as a science superpower, Oxford delivered 20 new companies between FY 2022 – 2023, raising £32m collectively at the seed round. Most notably, serial academic entrepreneur Professor Robert MacLaren co-founded Beacon Therapeutics, a life sciences company building on his work with Nightstar Therapeutics, raising £96m in series A funding for its genetic therapeutics technology capable of curing rare diseases which cause blindness.

Oxford’s Family

Our family of companies secured a further £698.8m in venture investment over the same period FY 2022 – 2023 – funding that will scale and accelerate transformative technologies for the benefit of our economy and our society.

Osler Diagnostics, a company realising the holy grail of fast and effective tabletop diagnosis equipment, capable of identifying a range of conditions from a single prick of blood, secured £71m when it emerged from stealth. Meanwhile, Oxford’s dynamic quantum community was bolstered by news of Quantum Motion, a company developing silicon-based quantum computers, raising £40m.

“Together with the University, our companies, and our partners in the Oxford ecosystem, OUI is helping support £3.4bn of economic impact per annum”*

This investment has been galvanised by the tremendous efforts of Oxford Sciences Enterprises (OSE). To date, OSE has invested £600m into Oxford companies, significantly contributing to the £6.3bn invested in Oxford companies since 2011. This direct investment has been met with co-investment from leading global investors and has catalysed our capacity to create ground-breaking companies. Since OSE’s creation in 2015, over half of Oxford’s 300 companies have been created, rising from an average company formation rate of 4 or 5 per year to 20 per annum.

 

“Oxford University Innovation, the conduit for impact between the University and the outside world, has recorded another strong financial performance, returning £15.9m to the University and its academic community.”

Evolving the offer

In addition, Oxford has evolved our offer to our entrepreneurial student body. The University recently launched EnSpire, connecting up initiatives across the Saïd Business School, OUI’s Incubator, Careers Services, the Creative Destruction Lab, and the wider Oxford ecosystem to bolster innovation from the next generation of startup leaders. This work recently received investment from OSE into the student-run Oxford Seed Fund to accelerate the innovative ideas of our student body.

Oxford University Innovation, the conduit for impact between the University and the outside world, has recorded another strong financial performance, returning £15.9m to the University and our academic community. Consulting Services in particular continues to smash its own targets year on year, while also working hard to support agreements with industry to more readily use University labs and facilities.

A growing community

Together with the University, our companies, and our partners in the Oxford ecosystem, OUI is helping support £3.4bn of economic impact per annum* with the combined research and innovation activity associated with the University supporting the creation of over 28,000 jobs

To meet the needs of the rapid growth in Oxford’s innovation community, the University formed a partnership with Legal and General to develop the infrastructure necessary to give these young firms a place to scale. This £4bn project committed £300m to shovels in the ground around the University’s Begbroke Science Park – Phase 1 of a plan to transform the area into an Innovation District. With multiple other developments in the pipeline, and job creation 140% higher than the national average, Bloomberg recently declared that “Oxford’s star is now on the ascendant”.

Despite the record growth of Oxford’s innovation community, many still share the view that our story is just getting started. Oxford Nanopore’s 2021 blockbuster IPO was a climactic moment for the DNA sequencing firm, but it was also a starting gun for the wider community, with many aspiring businesses vying for the same exponential growth and transformative impact from their companies.

This is our moment to realise the Oxford Opportunity. To secure its potential, we are reaching out to explore new partnership opportunities with the world’s technology, science and business leaders, impact-driven investors and industry partners.

Work together with OUI and the world’s number one University to make a better world and deliver impact tomorrow, and now and for future generations.

* Based on 2021 London Economics report Economic Impact of the University of Oxford for 2018-2019 period.