Oxford retains top spot for spinouts

Tuesday 23rd May 2023, 8.14am

The third annual Spotlight on Spinouts report, sponsored by the Royal Academy of Engineering, highlights Oxford’s remarkable achievement in creating 205 spinouts since 2011.

The ranking comes after the University celebrated its 300th company creation overall earlier this year, supported by its research commercialisation arm Oxford University Innovation (OUI). 97 of the spinouts have stayed in or close to Oxford, the highest concentration anywhere in the UK.

These research-intensive spinout companies are joined by an ever-growing number of startups emerging from the University’s entrepreneurship and social venture programmes, and the OUI incubator, consolidating the region’s position as a thriving hub of innovation.                                                                                              

Oxford’s continued place at the top of this table is tantamount to the talents of our dedicated researchers who are commercialising their research, and of all those in Oxford’s innovation ecosystem who are working to support the creation and growth of its spinouts. These companies make a crucial contribution to the world from local to global level and we must strive to provide the best possible conditions for them to succeed.

Professor Chas Bountra, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Innovation

University of Oxford companies continue to be a magnet for investment. Figures from OUI for 2022 demonstrate that Oxford spinouts raised £956m in external investment, an estimated 45% of the £2.13bn across the UK tracked by Beauhurst.

This investment track record is further enhanced by the achievements of three prominent firms – Osler Diagnostics, OMass Therapeutics, and MiroBio – which have emerged as top five spinout investees in the UK in 2022. Collectively, these spinouts raised an impressive £400 million in this year.

Oxford Science Enterprises (OSE), which funds and builds companies from the University, has played a significant role in the growth of Oxford’s ecosystems. Its catalytic effect was demonstrated in the report findings: with 106 deals at combined investment value of £1.45 billion, OSE is the top investor in UK spinouts by value of deals.

Jim Wilkinson, Chief Financial Officer at Oxford Science Enterprises, said: ‘Oxford’s leading position is a testament to the vibrant innovation ecosystem built by the University and its partners to transform academic research into ground-breaking companies. As we begin to see the impact of this work, it has never been more important to sustain and nurture this thriving ecosystem through continued investments. At OSE, we are proud to be a key contributor to Oxford’s innovation community and remain focused on attracting the right investment, talent and support network required to help these companies reach their full potential.’

We’re delighted the University of Oxford has retained its leadership position, demonstrated not just through the number of new spinouts, but also through the success of our equity raises. But the broader investment climate remains fiercely competitive and challenging, we must accelerate the speed of our spinout creation and nurture the ongoing growth of our spinout companies in Oxfordshire, and across the UK, to realise our full potential as a Science Superpower.

Baroness Nicola Blackwood, Chair of Oxford University Innovation

Additionally, Oxford Science Enterprises has established itself as a prolific seed-stage investor, engaging in 63 seed deals worth £376 million, securing its status as the foremost seed-stage investor in UK spinouts.

OSE’s peers at the seed stage include the University of Cambridge Enterprise Fund (49 deals worth £82.8 million) in second place, and Mercia Fund Managers (42 deals worth £22.5 million) in third.