Oxford business angel network joins £50 million investment fund to help high growth companies

Posted on 2 Dec 2011

Oxford Investment Opportunity Network (OION) is to join the Business Angel Co-investment Fund that will provide £50 million to invest in high growth companies alongside business angels.

OION, established as one of Europe’s first business angel networks in 1994, has joined up with the £50m Angel CoFund that was announced by government on Tuesday (Nov 29). With two investment networks in the group, Thames Valley Investment Network and Oxford Early Investments, OION will assist growing companies across the UK to secure business development funding from £20,000 to £2 million.

The OION Network was one of five private sector partners who worked with Capital for Enterprise to develop the successful bid submitted to the Regional Growth Fund for the £50 million Angel CoFund. Capital for Enterprise is an asset management business that designs, implements and manages finance measures to support small and medium-size enterprises in the UK.

The Angel CoFund will invest alongside business angel syndicates in growing companies. Its objectives are to boost the quality and quantity of business angel investing inEngland, and to support long-term, high quality jobs in high growth companies. The Angel CoFund will not be open to direct approaches from individual businesses who will be encouraged to put forward their investment propositions through business angel networks.

Chris Baker, head of investment services at the OION Network, said: “The scheme is partly modelled on a highly successful co-investment programme that OION operated with Bank of Scotland during 2008 and we know from experience that the availability of government capital to match funds committed by angel investors will significantly boost angel investment, enabling high quality companies to grow and create employment.

“We look forward to working with our partners and Capital forEnterpriseto facilitate deals and ensure that the Angel CoFund is an outstanding success.”

In the last three years, OION has helped over 40 companies raise more than £27 million. They include Microvisk Technologies, the developer of the first reliable handheld device for patients using the drug Warfarin to test their blood clotting status at home (pictured); Isle of Man-based turbine engine company Bladon Jets and OrganOx, an Oxford University spin-out company that is developing a device for sustaining organs outside the body to be be used to prolong the preservation of livers before transplantation.