Short Q&A with George Robinson, OIC Founding Partner
George tells us a little about his career, how he came to work with Oxford spinouts and some advice he has for venture-backed businesses.
What’s your role?
I am a founding partner of OIC and closely involved with the research process as well as sitting on the Investment Committee and helping to source and negotiate new investments. I also sit on the boards of a number of portfolio companies based in Oxford.
Tell us a little about some of your career highlights.
I co-founded and built Sloane Robinson, a successful London-based investment management specialising in listed equities in Asia and Emerging Markets. I have also been an early investor a number of Oxford success stories including Organox, OxSonics, Immuncore and Adaptimmune.
Why did you get involved with OIC?
I wanted to be part of the new wave of innovation coming out of British Universities and help to commercialise it profitably.
What’s your favourite thing about working with spinout companies in Oxford?
The people one meets and the extraordinary dedication they have to what they do.
Which OIC portfolio company excites you the most and why?
Oxford PV has a huge first mover advantage in commercialising Perovskites, a new type of solar material that is widely regarded as the future of the US$30bn a year market for solar cells.
What is the best piece of professional advice you’ve received?
Build your knowledge of companies from first principles. Read as much as possible and ask management questions about things that can’t be easily found in the public domain.
What are the three things key traits in a successful VC-backed company?
Great science, defensible IP and a management team that are driven to succeed.
What book are you reading at the moment?
The Rational Optimist by Matt Ridley.
What advice would you give to someone founding a university spinout company?
Don’t get started until you have analysed the potential market and identified who your potential customers might be.