Seed success in Oxford

Oxford Early Investments (OEI), a business angel network that specialises in raising finance for very early stage companies, has concluded its first year of operations and has appointed Joanna Sobek as its new manager.

OEI was established by Oxford Innovation to build on the success of Oxfordshire Investment Opportunity Network (OION), which operates in the £150,000 to £2m deal bracket. OEI complements OION by helping innovative companies at the very early stages of technical and commercial development raise investment capital from £20,000 to £150,000.

During the past year, the OEI Network has brokered deals for several developing companies, including Water Innovate, a spin-out from the School of Water Sciences at Cranfield University established to bring innovative ideas from research in the water and wastewater sectors to market.

In June, Water Innovate raised a total of £565,000, of which £193,000 was secured from a syndicate of business angels including OEI members, who invested alongside NESTA, an investor member and sponsor of OEI, and Oxford Technology 4 VCT.