OT(S)EIS can invest up to £150k in an SEIS-eligible company based on an innovation in science or engineering.
Beyond that, each company that Oxford Technology invests in is and will be different. Our one rule is to not have any rules. However, we have noticed there are a few commonalities across our portfolio, and here we will attempt to explain some of the things we look for in our investments and lessons we have learnt.
What we look for:
- A clear problem that is not already well served. Ideally, it is obvious once pointed out to us, but generally ignored because everyone thinks it's unsolvable.
- A clear solution. Ideally easy to explain and implement, but overlooked and very protectable (or using know-how that is very difficult to replicate).
- A potential big market for the solution. When we first invest, the company is often seeking to operate in a “non-market”. By this, we mean the company will need to create the market, as well as the product, and not simply replace an existing solution. This makes it impossible to quantify the addressable market. But, of course, we need to believe there is demand.
- A business model that makes money for all involved and improves life for all, especially anyone with decision-making powers.
- A straightforward route-to-market, without many external dependencies.
- People who we think will be easy to work with. We seek people who are open to new ideas, but thoughtful about implementation and not easily distracted. We look for people who act quickly, and push for change when required. We seek a team who will ask for the help that they need.
- A sensible valuation. Our investments should have scope for ~100x return if all goes well.
- A way we can contribute to the company. We don’t always know exactly what this will be, in advance. We help in any way we can including with fundraising, contracts, recruitment, finding customers, suppliers, partners, new technologies etc.
- A strong IP position. This might include a defensible patent or trade secrets.
- No, or very little, competition. When we see too many pitches on the same topic, we don’t invest in any of them.
- Something not in this list that makes the company much more investable. We know it when we see it!
What we avoid:
- A business model which requires further invention by the company.
- A product which requires a complicated and expensive change to a large system or process before adoption. Especially, where maintaining the status quo is in the interest of powerful decision makers. For this, we need to understand how everyone profits from the current system.
These are not rules, but an insight into what we consider when making investment decisions. If you think you have an investment opportunity that would interest us, please get in touch.