Oxford Investment Opportunity Network set to participate in £50 million Business Angel Co-...


Oxford Investment Opportunity Network (OION), Europe’s leading technology business angel network, is to participate in the Business Angel Co-investment Fund (Angel CoFund) announced by the government that will provide £50 million to invest in high growth companies alongside business angels.

OION was established as one of Europe’s first business angel networks in 1994 and remains one of the few private sector angel networks in the country. Today, OION and two sister investment networks in the group, Thames Valley Investment Network and Oxford Early Investments, assist growing companies across the UK to secure crucial business development funding from £20,000 to £2 million.

The OION Network was one of five private sector partners who worked with Capital for Enterprise to develop the successful bid submitted to the Regional Growth Fund for the £50 million Angel CoFund.

The Angel CoFund will invest alongside business angel syndicates in growing companies. Its objectives are to boost the quality and quantity of business angel investing in England, and to support long-term, high quality jobs in high growth companies. The Angel CoFund will not be open to direct approaches from individual businesses who will be encouraged to put forward their investment propositions through business angel networks.

Chris Baker, head of investment services at the OION Network, said: “We are delighted that the Angel CoFund is now open for business. The scheme is partly modelled on a highly successful co-investment programme that OION operated with Bank of Scotland during 2008 and we know from experience that the availability of government capital to match funds committed by angel investors will significantly boost angel investment, enabling high quality companies to grow and create employment.

“We look forward to working with our partners and Capital for Enterprise to facilitate deals and ensure that the Angel CoFund is an outstanding success.”

During the past three years, OION has helped over 40 companies raise more than £27 million.

They include:

Microvisk Technologies, the developer of the first reliable handheld device that patients on Warfarin can use to test their blood clotting status at home. Seven million people take Warfarin and over one million new patients start taking the drug each year. Currently, they must have weekly tests at a clinic to ensure they take the correct dose but the Microvisk device will enable patients to test their blood clotting ability at home. The device uses the world’s first diagnostic SmartStrip® based on a Micro-Electro-Mechanical System, which incorporates embedded sensors to measure blood coagulation from a drop of blood provided by a finger prick sample, with the results displayed on a handheld reader. Following patient trials, the company is preparing to launch its devices in Europe and the US during 2012.

Bladon Jets is developing micro gas turbine engines for cars and power generation. The company is working with Jaguar Land Rover on the development of a micro gas turbine engine to operate in a plug-in hybrid car. A Jaguar C-X75 super car incorporating two Bladon Jets micro gas turbines proved to be a star attraction at the Los Angeles Motor Show. Bladon Jets used the investment provided through OION as match funding against a Technology Strategy Board funding award for developing low carbon vehicle technology.

OrganOx, an Oxford University spin-out company, is developing a device for sustaining organs outside the body that will be used to prolong the preservation of livers before transplantation. There are over 30,000 patients on the liver transplant waiting list in Europe and the US with only 12,000 transplants each year. Around 20 per cent of patients die whilst awaiting transplantation and many donated livers have to be discarded as they are damaged by oxygen deprivation. The OrganOx technology will allow livers to be preserved for up to 24 hours, increasing the number of livers available for transplants.

OION and its two sister investment networks are managed by Oxford Innovation, a leading operator of coaching programmes and business and innovation centres for start-up and growing companies.


About Oxford Investment Opportunity Network (OION)
Oxford Investment Opportunity Network (OION) is Europe’s most successful technology business angel network that links investors with entrepreneurs seeking business development funds up to £2 million. OION holds monthly meetings where selected companies pitch their proposals to OION’s members, which include over 150 active business angels, VCTs and fund representatives.

OION has two successful sister networks. Thames Valley Investment Network links investors in the Reading and Thames Valley area with companies in the general technology, media and green tech sectors seeking funding from £150,000 to £750,000. Oxford Early Investments helps very early stage companies raise funding from £25,000 to £150,000.

OION is managed by Oxford Innovation, a leading operator of coaching programmes and innovation centres for start-up and growing companies. The Network is sponsored by Laytons, the Harwell Campus Programme, Marks and Clerk and MEPC Milton Park. For more information: www.oion.co.uk

About the Angel CoFund
The Angel CoFund has been established with a £50m commitment from the UK Government’s Regional Growth Fund and will make investments alongside business angel syndicates into eligible SMEs on the same terms as the angel syndicates.
The Angel CoFund has been established in recognition of the importance of business angel investment to SMEs, especially those seeking amounts in the range £200,000 to £2m, where other sources of risk capital have become more constrained. The Fund builds on the experience of the Scottish Co-Investment Fund, a private sector co-investment programme in Oxford that was backed by the Bank of Scotland and the Department for Business Early Growth Funds.

Proposals for investment by the Angel CoFund may only be made by angel syndicates who should be looking for the Fund to provide equity investment from £100,000 to £1m into eligible SMEs up to a maximum of 49% of any investment round.
The bid for the Angel CoFund was put forward by a group of syndicates who are active in the early stage investment arena. The Fund is open to all angel syndicates making investments in England subjective to certain geographic constraints.
For more information: www.angelcofund.co.uk

About Capital for Enterprise Ltd (CfEL)
CfEL will provide the fund administration for the Angel CoFund.

CfEL is an asset management business that designs, implements and manages finance measures to support Small and Medium Size Enterprises (‘SMEs’) across the UK. CfEL is the largest single investor in UK early stage venture capital funds and manages guarantee programmes to support bank lending. With current investment commitments of over £500 million in more than 40 venture capital funds, together with its responsibility for the Enterprise Finance Guarantee, CfEL has over £2 billion in commitments, assets and liabilities under management.

CfEL commenced trading in April 2008 and is wholly owned by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skill. The business is managed by an independent board of directors, drawn from across industry and finance. For more information: www.capitalforenterprise.gov.uk



Press enquiries to: Margaret Henry, PR Director.
Tel: +44 (0)1865 261491 Email: m.henry@oxin.co.uk


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