Oxford Student-Run Seed Fund Invests in Two Startups

The Saïd Business School Seed Fund said Wednesday that it will be investing £20,000 each to two start-ups founded by Oxford alumni: ACE Consensus Ltd and Onfido Ltd. ACE is a digital platform that provides information about market expectations while Onfido is a provider of pre-employment background checks and reference reports. Founded by MBA students at Oxford University‘s Saïd Business School, the Saïd Business School Seed Fund focuses on making annual investments of £15-25K per start-ups led by Oxford students and alumni.


Oxford (PRWEB UK) 10 July 2013
The Saïd Business School Seed Fund has announced that it is to make its first investments, providing finance of £20,000 to each of two start-ups founded by Oxford alumni: ACE Consensus Ltd (ACE) and Onfido Ltd.
ACE was founded in 2013 by Alex Money (D.Phil in Economic Geography). ACE offers a digital platform that delivers proprietary information about market expectations for publicly traded companies. “ACE appeared on the Seed Fund’s radar during the first round of application reviews,” said Mark Clayton Hand, current MBA student and founding Chair of the Seed Fund committee. “It turned out to be exactly the kind of start-up the Seed Fund looks to back: a high-potential management team working on a business that is high-growth and high-scale.”
Commenting on the investment, Alex Money said, “We’re delighted to have the Seed Fund as an investor. The funding will be used to enhance ACE’s analytics platform and improve scalability. The association is particularly valuable to us as we roll out further innovations in this area, and add to our team. On the back of the Seed Fund’s involvement, we have already secured additional investment, and we’re now focused on justifying the confidence that has been placed in us.”
Onfido was founded in 2012 by four Oxford University graduates, including a former president of Oxford Entrepreneurs. The company graduated from the Isis Software Accelerator programme and offers pre-employment background checks and reference reports. Onfido’s platform enables organisations to instantly conduct in-depth checks on new and existing employees, incorporating references checks and employee verification. Their technology helps organisations reduce their hiring costs through Onfido’s streamlined system, as well as reducing the risk of inadvertently hiring illegal or fraudulent workers. Most of their current users are companies that place employees in ‘high trust’ roles, such as domestic cleaning agencies.
Commenting on the investment, Eamon Jubbawy said, “The investment from the Seed Fund will allow us to service our growing client base and accelerate the development of our technology. We greatly appreciate their enthusiasm for our technology and will work even harder to achieve our vision of developing the most cost-effective and thorough background checking solution in the UK. We are delighted to have the support of Saïd Business School as well as continued support from our existing shareholders.”
Managed by a committee of eight students from the Oxford MBA and Masters in Law and Finance programmes, and mentored by successful entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and academics, the Saïd Business School Seed Fund was created to help support the ecosystem of entrepreneurial activities at the School and the University of Oxford. It not only provides the initial capital for Oxford student and alumni ventures to get off the ground, it is also provides a hands-on learning experience for the committee, giving students behind-the-scenes access to the management of early stage investing.
“We’re delighted to see this effort from the students to support the Oxford ecosystem for venture creation,” said Jim Hall, Executive Director of the Oxford Centre for Entrepreneurship. “We hope the Seed Fund will not only become a launch pad for successful commercial ventures originating from Oxford, but also for students considering a career in this sector.”
The Seed Fund received over 60 applications. These were analysed by the members of the Seed Fund committee who conducted research and due diligence before presenting the shortlist to the Advisory Board and making a final selection. Applications for the next funding round will be open in the autumn of 2013.
Further information about the seed Fund can be found here.
Notes to editors
About the Saïd Business School Seed Fund
The Saïd Business School Seed Fund is led by a committee of eight students from the MBA and Masters in Law and Finance programmes with backgrounds in angel investing, start-up incubation, law, risk management, investment banking, management consulting, sales, and managing start-ups.
Founded in autumn 2012, the fund aims to annually invest £15-25K per venture in start-ups led by Oxford students and alumni.
For first-time entrepreneurs not quite ready for investment, the Seed Fund team also operates a Lean Launchpad business model development programme to help entrepreneurs build business models and prepare their ventures for future funding.
This autumn, the Centre for Entrepreneurship (OxCEI) will select a new student team to operate the Seed Fund and Lean LaunchPad Program for the 2013-2014 academic year. Once that team is in place, the Seed Fund team will begin reviewing applications for funding and participation in Lean LaunchPad.
About Saïd Business School
Established in 1996 the Saïd Business School is one of Europe’s youngest and most entrepreneurial business schools with a reputation for innovative business education. An integral part of Oxford University, the School embodies the academic rigour and forward thinking that has made Oxford a world leader in education and research. The School has an established reputation for research in a wide range of areas, including finance and accounting, organisational analysis, international management, strategy and operations management. The School is dedicated to developing a new generation of business leaders and entrepreneurs and conducting research not only into the nature of business, but the connections between business and the wider world. In the Financial Times European Business School ranking (Dec 2012) Saïd is ranked 12th. It is ranked 13th worldwide in the FT’s combined ranking of Executive Education programmes (May 2013) and 24th in the world in the FT ranking of MBA programmes (Jan 2013). The Oxford MSc in Financial Economics is ranked 6th in the world in the FT ranking of Masters in Finance programmes (June 2013). In the UK university league tables it is ranked first of all UK universities for undergraduate business and management in The Guardian (June 2013) and has ranked first in eight of the last nine years in The Times. For more information, see http://www.sbs.ox.ac.uk/.
About Isis Software Incubator
The Isis Software Incubator (ISI) supports nascent software ventures in the development of products or services and assists them to trade without external investment. The ISI offers a wide spectrum of support services including commercial mentoring, Intellectual Property advice, assistance in identifying potential customers, enquiry handling and advice on formation of a limited company. The ISI also provides its ventures with 24/7 access to a joint development space, and shared IT facilities. To learn more, please visit the ISI homepage, News page or on Twitter.
The ISI is part of Isis Innovation, the research and technology commercialisation company of the University of Oxford. For more information, see http://www.isis-innovation.com.