At 10am on the first Thursday of every month, OTM organises presentations at which some of its investee companies pitch to investors. If you would like an invite to the next event on Thursday 2nd December 2021, please enter your details here.

This company from the OT(S)EIS portfolio is seeking additional EIS investment. They presented virtually on Thursday 4th November at 10 am. Anyone who wishes to contact the founders or Oxford Technology team with additional questions should contact us. Oxford Technology plans to host these investor presentations on the first Thursday of every month, free to subscribers to OT(S)EIS, and initially free to everyone.

To invest in this opportunity, you need to be a 'sophisticated investor' or a 'high net worth individual'. The definitions of these terms can be found here. You can receive the documents to invest by filling out this form.

Introduction

Expend

 

When OT(S)EIS first invested in Expend in 2014, the company consisted of two people with an idea about how the handling of business expenses and spending, a major problem for many companies, might be made better. Then, the basic idea was that all information should be collected at source using a payment card linked to the Expend system and mobile app, allowing an employee to take a photo of the receipt as soon as it is received and have all the information sent neatly to their finance department and accounting system. Since then, Expend has grown and evolved into a cutting edge innovative mobile app and web platform that takes expense management for SMEs to the next level.

Today, Expend provides businesses with optional contactless payment cards, receipt & invoice management that works with their existing payment methods, mileage tracking, spending approvals and expense reimbursements all in one platform.

Expend saves businesses time, money and effort by consolidating management, payment and accounting tools into a highly streamlined process. Company finance directors using Expend know about every expense as it occurs and can control and adjust company spending to meet changing needs.

Expend is used by a growing number of companies ranging from 1 - 500 employees paying a monthly fee per user. Their business model also sees them receive a small percentage interchange fee on all transactions whenever an Expend card is used. They have ever increasing interest from large commercial firms looking to partner and utilise their technology in order to add value to their own customer bases. Expend has been growing rapidly with almost every month being a new high. In Sep 2019 the monthly revenue was ca £11,000. In Sept 2021, two years later, revenue was more than £42,000.

Expend is now seeking to raise up to £1,000,000 at 15p per share. The funds will be used to continue to add additional team resources to help facilitate the commercial opportunities they have and to accelerate growth.

Expend regularly receives approaches from US fintech companies seeking to grow by acquisition, and this is the most likely exit route for investors. They have also been approached by some well known financial firms looking to partner with them and offer Expend's technology to their business customers, this is a sales channel that Expend anticipates will grow quickly.

The presentation was given by Johnny Vowles, CEO of Expend.

 

Finally, there was be a Q&A session, during which the presenters answered questions that have been submitted by the audience during the pitch.

 

If you have any questions about Oxford Technology or any of the companies presenting, please contact us.

 

Previous Presentations

 

Two companies from the OTSEIS portfolio presented virtually on 7th October 2021

Curileum Discovery

Curileum has been making very good progress, and is now seeking to raise £1.5m at £3 per share to be able to further exemplify the performance of its two leading compounds/treatments and to be able to negotiate with pharma companies from a position of relative financial strength. Dr Jeff Moore, the founder and CEO will make the presentation.

1. ULI -15 (Formerly known as PLE-015) but now renamed – ULI means powerful in Chinese.

Curileum received the first results of a trial of ULI-15 during September. Although the sample size was small, the results were dramatic. The treated mice showed a 10-fold reduction in polyps (the first stage of bowel cancer) compared to the untreated controls. So ULI, which should be safe since it is a component of a Chinese medicine that has been taken for centuries, is potentially a pill that would be taken by millions each day, to slow or maybe prevent the development of bowel cancer.

2 ATZ Stem Cell Therapy

Curileum has developed a treatment for anal fistulas, a painful and at the moment incurable condition that affects 40% of patients with Crohn’s disease. In a pig model, Curileum’s stem cell therapy has shown complete healing, including the growth of new blood vessels, compared to controls which showed no healing.

These dramatic results are partly the result of the fact that Curileum is based at St Mark’s hospital, the only hospital in the world which does nothing else apart from diseases of the gut, of which there are many. Curileum receives samples of both diseased and healthy human gut tissue and is able to grow organoids from these to try to understand what is happening at the cellular level.

Lightpoint Medical

Lightpoint is seeking to raise working capital, either by selling EIS qualifying shares at 99p per share, with a discount to 79p for early shareholders, or by means of a convertible loan note. The former would suit individual investors who can benefit from the 30% tax refund and tax-free gains that come with an EIS investment. The latter might suit institutional investors or those who cannot benefit from EIS tax relief. This compares to 65p per share in March 2019, since when Lightpoint’s product, SENSEI®, has been approved for sale in the US, Europe, UK and Australia; achieved its first sales; and signed significant agreements with strategic partners.

SENSEI® is used in keyhole and robotic cancer surgery, enabling surgeons to see which tissue is cancerous and which is not while they are operating. The patient is injected with a cancer-targeted imaging agent that concentrates in cancerous cells, meaning that they can be located by the SENSEI® probe which detects the emissions from the agent. A video on the website (www.lightpointmedical.com) shows this in action.

Unsurprisingly surgeons the world over find this enormously helpful. Dr David Tuch, the founder of Lightpoint, was once in the operating theatre with a surgeon doing prostate cancer surgery. The camera revealed a growth on the nerve bundle. At the time the SENSEI® probe was not in use. The surgeon said (paraphrased): Now I have to play God. If that growth is benign, I can leave it. But if it is cancerous, I should cut it out. But if I cut it out, the consequences for the patient are severe including no more sex, and incontinence. Your technology can tell me what I should do.

At the moment, the SENSEI® probe is sold as a single-use device and is priced at £700. However, the plan is to make it a re-useable device to ensure a very high margin for the device.

In March, Lightpoint appointed a new CEO, Graeme Smith, with over three decades of experience in commercialising medical devices, to focus on the commercialisation of SENSEI®. Commercial agreements for the distribution of SENSEI® have already been signed in multiple territories with more in the pipeline. The company has also signed a co-marketing agreement with a global surgical robotics company.

In August 2021, Lightpoint signed a Strategic Collaboration Agreement with Telix Pharmaceuticals Ltd, by which Telix’s cancer-targeted imaging agents will be used with SENSEI®. In the words of the press release: The collaboration between our two companies has the potential to transform the outcomes for patients across a range of cancer types.

The presentation was given by Graeme Smith, CEO of Lightpoint Medical.

Finally, there was be a Q&A session, during which the presenters will answer questions that have been submitted by the audience during the pitch.

One company from the OTSEIS portfolio presented virtually on 2nd September 2021

Cytoswim

In vitro fertilisation (IVF) is a large and growing market both for humans and animals. One of the key steps in the process is the selection of healthy sperm cells, characterised by swimming fast and straight. Cytoswim has developed an easy-to-use chip, essentially an obstacle course for sperm. The sperm are all placed at the starting gates and the sperm which complete the course first are then selected. No centrifugation is involved. Other methods involve centrifugation which is possibly damaging to the cells.

There are currently 5m human IVF cycles in the world each year, and rising, with 70k in the UK, 900k in Europe, and 300k in the US. Cytoswim will sell its product ‘spermalign’ for £125. So potential sales of c£600m. In addition there are about 500k IVF cycles in cattle, but carried out in relatively few central sites, mainly in the US and South America, so this market should be relatively easy to address.

Spermalign has now been used in animals and has produced excellent results. The cleavage rate increased from 63% to 72% and the 8-day blastocyst viability (the first stage of pregnancy) from 34% to 41%.

Cytoswim is now seeking to raise up to £500,000 at £6.18 per share, a pre money valuation of £2m . The investment will qualify for EIS tax relief. OT(S)EIS will be investing £70,000 (and possibly a little more) towards this total.

It is hoped that this fundraising will take the company through to breakeven. The funds will be used to achieve the following:

Patent costs £50k
Regulatory (CE mark etc) £140k
Manufacturing £40k
Clinical studies/sales & Marketing £130k
Overheads and contingency £140k

Total £500k

The last of these expenditures is forecast to be at the end of 2023. Initial sales are expected to be achieved in 2021 with sales rising steadily during 2022, but only for use in animals.

When its product, ‘spermalign,’ receives regulatory approval for use in humans, Cytoswim’s aim is to sell 50,000 at £125 each (sales £6.25m) by 2026. Based on the prices at which companies in the IVF field have been acquired, the hope is that this would value Cytoswim at about £36m.

After the presentation and before questions, Anita D'Attellis gave a live performance of Schubert Impromptu, op. 142, no. 3

Finally, there was be a Q&A session, during which the presenters answered questions which have been submitted by the audience during the pitch.

One company from the OTSEIS portfolio presented virtually on 1st July 2021

Covatic

Covatic, in which OT(S)EIS made an initial SEIS investment in 2017 is beginning to make excellent progress. It has now signed its first deals with some of the largest broadcasters in the world, including Bauer Media, Comcast, and Liberty Global. These deals are for an initial three years and are worth, £90k per year, £600k per year, and a minimum of £400k per year respectively over the initial three year periods.

However, the first payments under these contracts come in April (£90,000), August (£600,000) and November (£400k). So Covatic is seeking to raise up to £600k to provide working capital, and began a fundraising in March at a share price £9.41, which compares to £16 per share in 2018.

Since Covatic started this round in March, it has raised over £300k, so there is about £300k still available. During this time, the team have launched their new product ‘A-Type’. This has had a very positive market reaction and they have pipeline of 91 active opportunities, with a discounted value of £4m Annual Run Rate (ARR) by December.

In addition to the contracts mentioned above, since the start of the round, Covatic has been selected to build Sky News and Sky Sports future adtech privacy approach. The contract is an ad revenue sharing deal with a minimum commitment. The expectation is circa £40k per month on a three year deal.

Covatic is looking to achieve a monthly revenue of around £100k per month by the end of Q3 with this growing to over £250k by the end of December.

In addition to these contracts with large organisations, Covatic is offering the use of its software for a monthly fee to some 200 smaller organisations. This is forecast to begin generating about £20,000 per month from September, rising to £40,000 by December.

Why Covatic?

At the moment Google and many others collect as much data about people as they can, (by means of cookies) and are then able to know their browsing history, what they buy, where they are and where they travel. And this data is then used to target advertising to users. That same data is also sold to others.

There is growing concern that this huge invasion of privacy is not acceptable. But at the same time it is accepted that revenue from advertising is the means by which many industries, inc sport and television are funded. And if there must be advertising, then it is probably better for both the sender and receiver that it is targeted. It is better that someone who likes fishing receives an ad about a better fishing rod, than someone who doesn’t.

This is the problem which Covatic is seeking to solve. If you have the Sky app on your phone (with Covatic’s tech), this will gather data about you and your viewing habits and what you like and where you are at what time. But your browsing history will not be tracked. And crucially, all this data will remain on your phone (this is in complete contrast to Google, and the industry as a whole who store this information on their own servers and use the data themselves to target ads). Then the Covatic enabled app will be able to target ads (so fishing rods for fishermen) and also content (so clips of Manchester United goals to Manchester United fans) but the personal details of the recipient will never leave the user’s device. The app will suggest a fishing ad, but the sender of the ad will not know the details of the recipent or anything about him/her.

So Covatic’s hope is that Google’s mode of operation will become increasingly unacceptable both to users and to regulators and that Covatic will become the standard privacy-compliant means of targeting advertising in future. The fact that Covatic has now signed deals with major broadcasters, including Comcast (the largest media organisation in the world which also owns Sky) is a very good indication that Covatic is on the right track.

After the presentation and before questions, Anita D'Attellis gave a live performance of Schubert Impromptu, op. 142, no. 2 in Ab major.

Finally, there was a Q&A session, during which the presenters answered questions which were submitted by the audience during the pitch.

Two companies from the OTM portfolio presented virtually on 3rd June 2021

Oxvent

1. OxVent

OxVent arose out of Covid, and was initially established in great haste to design and manufacture low cost ventilators for the UK. There was an initial order for 3,000 ventilators from the UK govt, and the govt agreed to pay for the parts. The initial partnership was between Smith and Nephew, Kings College and Oxford University. In the event, the govt did not require these ventilators and Smith and Nephew decided to pull out, because their core business was in wound-care rather than ventilators.

So OxVent was formed and starts 3,000 ventilators which may be sold for £1,500 each, so £4.5m in total. It is estimated that it will take about 3 hours labour to assemble each one.

OxVent is now located in a small factory unit on an industrial estate near Oxford which is currently full to the brim with all the components.

However, the ventilator still needs regulatory approval before it can be sold. Approval to sell the ventilator in the US under the FDA ‘emergency use’ protocol has been applied for and it is hoped that this approval might be granted in June or July, although this is not certain. If this happens, then it is believed that most countries would either substantially shorten their own processes or accept FDA as sufficient certification, allowing it to be sold.

In many counties, especially in Africa, it is thought that local assembly would be preferred, so the sale would be of the components at maybe £650 to £750 rather than a fully assembled ventilator.

But the future is another ventilator. As a result of getting into ventilator design, academics in the engineering department at Oxford University have produced an altogether better and cheaper design of ventilator, which has no moving parts at all. Furthermore it is controlled by pressure, so that the patient could wear a mask and could themselves control the rate of breathing. A patent will be applied for, and further details cannot be given here. But if all goes well, it is believed that this design could become widely used globally in future.

OxVent seeks to raise up to £250,000 at 0.2p per share, which values the company at £1.2m pre money. Investors will receive a mixture of SEIS and EIS shares, with the ratio determined by the amount of money raised by 30 June, when the investment round will be closed. £70,000 of SEIS shares remain.

OxVent sees the most significant growth in the ventilator market coming from low to middle income countries where the annual market size is currently close to US$1 billion and growing yearly at 7%. To that end, OxVent has agreements in place with JRG healthcare in India and is working with groups in East Africa and Latin America to build its commercial base.

Acquisition, either by an in-territory partner, or by a multinational seeking a product range tailored for those markets is thought to be the most likely exit opportunity.

Atelerix

2. Atelerix

Atelerix is having a rights issue, seeking to raise £450,000 at 80p per share. This compares to 82p per share of the initial SEIS investment in 2018 and subsequent EIS raises at £1.70 per share in 2019 and £1.95 in 2020.

Atelerix has developed a range of alginate gels derived from seaweed which enable cells to be shipped and stored at temperatures above freezing for periods of up to 2 weeks. Quite how long depends on the cell type. This enables cells that could otherwise not be transported to go from their source to the labs that need them.

Essentially the Atelerix technology works exactly as hoped and is useful. Atelerix spent a great deal of time and effort on one global company which it was hoped would place very large orders and so to launch Atelerix commercially. But is transpired that the company would have had to make other changes to its operating procedures to do this and in the end , decided not to proceed. Then Covid resulted in most labs in the world being closed.

Atelerix had employed staff and increased overheads in the expectation of sales. So now Atelerix has run out of money. So it has now reduced overheads and is seeking to raise £450,000 at a reduced share price, which, it is hoped, will take the company to cash flow breakeven. More than £100,000 of this has already been raised from existing shareholders including the founder who is acting as unpaid interim CEO.

Atelerix is now focusing on leukobags. This is currently a £100m market but growing fast. Leukobags contain 500ml of white blood cells and are regularly shipped from the US to labs in Europe ands Asia. Blood donors may be paid in the US, but not elsewhere in the world, with the result that the US is the only country with an abundant supply of blood. The cells begin to deteriorate as soon as they leave the body. Some of the cells types are completely destroyed by freezing so that this is not an option. Atelerix has shown that the cells will survive for up to 14 days in their gel. Atelerix is now in discussion with the three largest suppliers of leukobags in the US, all of whom are interested.

One company from the OTM portfolio presented virtually on 6th May 2021

Zayndu

Agricultural seeds are very expensive - some more than £100,000/kg. It is important that the highest possible yield is achieved. One of the steps in preparing them for sale is to sterilise the seeds, so no bacteria or fungi can damage their growth prospects. Most agricultural seeds were treated with chemicals, but due to their damaging nature most of these have been banned. Zayndu has developed a method of sterilising seeds using a plasma generated in a chamber which does no damage at all to the environment or the seeds. It is also a faster and easier process with no drying or washing steps required. Furthermore, the treatment actually results in a higher % of the seeds germinating. In one case the % of seeds which germinated increased from 78% to 85%. Or, put another way, the % of seeds which did not germinate fell from 22% to 15%. This is of huge potential commercial value to farmers.

The founders of Zayndu are Dr Ralph Weir and Dr Felipe Iza. The technology was developed at Loughborough University, which is also a shareholder in the business. Zayndu has interest from several large seed companies. The business model will be a pay per use or monthly rental model.

OT(S)EIS invested £133,505 just before the end of the 2021 tax year. This investment was an EIS rather than an SEIS investment because Zayndu had already been in receipt of funding from Innovate UK. This investment secured the release of a £700,000 Innovate UK loan. To retain this loan, the founders needed to raise an additional £120,000 of EIS investment. This money was raised within an hour of the end of the presentation, and Zayndu are no longer accepting further investment at the current time.

If you have any questions about Oxford Technology or any of the companies presenting, please contact us.