What we do
We serve as investment advisers to Thompson Taraz Managers Ltd, the investment manager of the Oxford Technology and Innovations EIS Fund (OTIF), which has raised approximately £30m, with £24.8m of this invested in 21 companies as of January 2018.
In so doing, we identify investment opportunities, conduct due diligence and produce detailed research analysis on prospective investments, monitor investments and seek out potential exit opportunities.
We work closely with the companies we have invested in, often taking board roles.
What is the Oxford Technology and Innovations EIS Fund (OTIF)?
OTIF invests in spinout companies from world-leading universities in the UK, with a focus upon Oxford and Cambridge.
The fund is structured to take advantage of HMRC’s Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS), designed to help small companies less than ten years old raise finance by offering tax reliefs to individuals investing in these companies.
Under the existing EIS rules, tax relief is at 30% of the shares’ cost, and can be claimed up to a maximum of £1m per annum. A minimum of 90% of each of OTIF’s funding tranches is allocated to EIS eligible companies.
What are spinout companies?
Spinouts are business entities formed to commercialise research and technology which has been developed by university academic groups and usually protected by patents.
Often recipients of significant grant and endowment funding, universities are centres of innovation developing many novel technologies that become world leading.
OTIF predominately concentrates on later stage companies—those that are three to five years old.
Why are spinout companies better?
Spinouts receive significant support from the universities they have emerged from, both financially and in terms of general support.
Academic founders are also able to carry on working at the University: teaching, conducting research and supervising postdoctoral students doing parallel research that helps the spinout company. Moreover, the opportunities that these technologies present, coupled with the university’s reputation, attracts high quality external management teams.
It is no coincidence then that spinout companies have the potential to be successful, combining top patent-protected science supported by ongoing R&D in a lab grant funded by the University with good management and governance. However, as these are still early stage companies the high risk of failure does still remain.
The OIC team covers a broad skill base to identify opportunities, facilitate the analysis and due diligence processes and offer investment advice to Thompson Taraz Managers Ltd which manages the Oxford Technology and Innovations EIS Fund (OTIF). Senior team members also act as representatives on the boards of OTIF investee companies.
George is a Partner and co-Founder of Sloane Robinson LLP, an investment management business which invests in listed equities globally, with a particular focus on Asian and Emerging Markets.
Prior to this he worked for 15 years in Asia, initially for John Swire and Sons in Hong Kong, Korea and the Philippines, and then for Asian based stockbroker WI Carr in Korea, Thailand and Hong Kong where he was Director of Regional Research.
George is an active investor in early stage technology and biotech companies with a particular focus on Oxford spinouts, and is a founding Partner of Technikos, a private equity partnership which invests in spinout companies from the Oxford Institute of Biomedical Engineering.
George is an honorary fellow of Keble College, Oxford where he graduated with a BA in Engineering Science, and is a former-member of Oxford University Endowment Management’s Investment Committee.
Ross is a Senior Partner of PFP Wealth Management and heads a team that specialises in the provision of wealth management services to high net worth individuals and organisations.
Ross has helped to establish a number of businesses in a variety of market sectors and successfully raised finance to ensure their success and continued growth. This has included several which have qualified under HMRC’s Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) rules to allow investors favourable tax treatment of their investment.
Ross was also an executive director of the British Racing Drivers’ Club which owns Silverstone race circuit, home of the Formula 1 British Grand Prix.
Christopher has had a career in telecommunications, technology, finance and law spanning more than 30 years, working in North and South America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
In early 2017 he stepped down as a senior finance partner in the London Office of Latham & Watkins, a global law firm. Prior to that, he was an Executive Vice President of a pan-European data communications company with responsibilities including mergers and acquisitions, joint venture development, and capital markets issuances.
Christopher serves on the Boards of a number of companies in the technology sector, specialising in FinTech, EdTech and HRTech. Christopher is a solicitor of the Senior Courts of England and Wales and is a member of the New York Bar.
James joined OIC in January 2018 following a 15-year tenure managing the University of Oxford’s technology spinout portfolio, latterly as Director of Oxford Spinout Equity Management.
He brings over 25 years’ experience as a venture capital advisor and investor, both at the seed and later stage, to the OIC partnership. He has an MA in Engineering Science from Oxford and an MBA from Cranfield University.
James has made and managed investments in many technology spinouts which have been successfully sold or taken public, including NaturalMotion, Oxitec, Oxford Immunotec and Adaptimmune. When he left the University at the end of 2017 the portfolio comprised shareholdings in over 100 technology companies spanning life sciences and other technology.
Sian has had a 30-year career in both investment banking and policy development. In addition to her role as Advisor to OIC, she is currently a Non-Executive Director of the JP Morgan Income and Capital Trust PLC, a Non-Executive Director of Pacific Assets Trust and an Advisor to EBF International (Shanghai) Ltd.
She is active in a number of not-for-profit enterprises including The Women’s Refugee Commission in the USA, a Patron of Create Streets and Trustee of the Almeida Theatre.
From 2013-2016, Sian was Executive Director of the Legatum Institute, a global public policy think tank, and previously she spent seven years as Managing Director of the think tank Policy Exchange, an educational charity promoting research and discourse on public policy in the UK.
In her early career, Sian was Co-head of Sales at Societe Generale and a Senior Analyst at Enskilda Securities.
Emily qualified as a Chartered Accountant at KPMG where she spent four years working in the corporation tax department focusing on the oil and gas sector.
After a year spent in KPMG’s consultancy department advising clients on financial management she moved to the leading UK think tank Policy Exchange, initially to run their Business Forum comprising 40 companies across a range of sectors, including many FTSE 100. She also researched and published several reports on financial policy and corporate governance.
After a spell working in the British Banking Association’s strategy team and writing a report on CSR in banking for them, she was commissioned to produce a research paper on trade and exports for another think tank, the Legatum Institute. Emily joined OIC in December 2016. She read Law at the University of Bristol.
Frederick joined OIC in early 2017 after spending time in a research capacity with Nominet Trust, the UK’s largest social tech funder.
He has an MPhil in Development Studies from the University of Oxford and a Bachelor of Environments with First Class Honours from the University of Melbourne.
Scientific Advisory Committee
Our Scientific Advisory Committee is in the process of being formed of respected academics from within the Oxford and Cambridge ecosystems. They will meet quarterly, using their experience to support the partners with their investment advisory decisions.