We asked Jim Wilkinson of OSI to describe the investor viewpoint before investing in a company like PrOXisense.
Jim is Chief Financial Officer of OSI (Oxford Sciences Innovation), our lead investor. OSI has a £600m fund, raised from a diverse group of companies brought together by a commitment to build thriving science and technology companies in Oxford.
The company primarily invests in spin-outs in engineering, maths and computing, medical, life and physical sciences from the University of Oxford. OSI partners early and for the long-term, because they understand that it takes time to turn disruptive science and technology into an enduring business.
Jim, what are you looking for when you are considering making an investment?
The key criteria we need to see is that the technology being spun out has the capability to become a global product. That’s how we can maximise the impact of the scientific research and increase the chances of a successful commercial return.
What happens once you have invested?
Once we’ve found a suitable company working on technology with real potential, we aim to build the strongest management team possible as this is the key ingredient to achieving a positive outcome.
We can then combine our experience of building successful businesses with our network, including blue chip shareholders, who can assist on strategy, company development and commercial opportunities.
Can you describe your thoughts when you first met PrOXisense?
PrOXisense had a really slow start as they built up their management team and engineering capability. It was difficult for them to raise capital in the early days due to the long timescales before any significant commercial sales could be achieved. However, our investment strategy is for long-term commitment, so we had confidence in making our investment.
Has PrOXisense had any highlights or breakthroughs since the early days that have impressed you as an investor?
I’ve been really impressed with the team they have built. For a company at such an early stage of its growth, they have attracted a great management team and experienced engineers. They are also in a good location on the Harwell Campus, alongside likeminded technology and innovation companies.
But the most exciting development to date is definitely the thermal product sensing technology, where they have real customer engagement in oil monitoring applications and are starting to build relationships in the pharmaceutical industry.
PrOXisense is gearing up for B round funding, do you have any advice for us?
Investors generally like predictability, but start-up technology isn’t predictable. My advice is always to set out what you think can be achieved – then achieve it! That builds confidence between your team and potential investors.
You already have a clear understanding of your markets and customers and strong OEM relationships – make sure investors can see this.
“Overall, show investors that PrOXisense has a well-defined strategic plan and the right people in place to deliver it.”
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