During a year unlike any other, OION has continued to assist ambitious, innovative companies with 28 of them securing funding from the network – more detail on these can be found here.
In March 2020, with less than a week’s notice, we were forced to move our upcoming Showcase event from a physical in-person event to an online investment meeting, at the time still something considered rather unusual. More than twelve months on and every OION Showcase since has been held online, continuing to provide the opportunity for promising early-stage companies to pitch to our experienced and diverse investor group. Of the 28 companies we’ve successfully secured funding for, we’ve seen their average required investment round size increase from just under £650k in 2019/20 to nearly £800k in 2020/21.
We’ve found the early-stage investment ecosystem has remained reassuringly resilient throughout the pandemic so far as we continue to see substantial, quality deal flow in combination with strong investor appetite. So much so that we’ve seen our investor membership increase by more than 100 members over the past year. And our company selection meetings, which take place prior to a Showcase, always leave us with difficult decisions to make due to the strong competition among companies that wish to pitch.
Whilst Technology/Software remains the dominant sector of investment by OION members, over the past year we’ve seen several emerging trends. Investments within the Healthcare/Medical Device sector increased significantly over the past year, replacing the Environment/Green sector as second to Technology/Software. Additionally, we’ve seen investments in the Manufacture/Engineering sector increase to over 20% of OION investments in 2020/21. Further sector comparison can be found in the below charts.
This year will see the first investments by the Oxford Innovation EIS Growth Fund, to invest alongside our angel investor members. The Fund will look to invest in a portfolio of well led, technology rich businesses with high growth potential. Accessing finance is one of the most critical events in the growth journey of all successful innovative businesses and we are delighted to be playing a part in helping such businesses across the UK.
Published: April 2021