Announcing: Oxford Office Hours

In partnership with Oxford Seed Fund

We’re committed to playing our part in unlocking the potential of entrepreneurs across the UK. The mass shift to virtual working that the current climate demands creates an exciting opportunity for us to cast our net wider than London. So, we’re delighted to announce that our next Office Hours on May 12th will be 100% virtual, and run in partnership with the Oxford Seed Fund - a student-led fund born out of Oxford’s Saïd Business School that provides capital to Oxford University’s most promising start-ups.

Why Oxford?

Rather the question should be ‘Why not Oxford?’. Given their tech sector alone contributed £1.8bn in revenue to the economy in 2017, and the city was recently identified as one of the top 15 tech clusters in England by Tech Nation, Oxford’s reputation as a hub for exceptional technical talent is continuing to gather pace. And let’s not forget that the city has also produced 5 £Billion companies to date - Sophos, Nanopore, Immunocore, Adaptimmune, BioVex.

Our partner, Oxford Seed Fund, not only invests in Oxford startups but also provides them with the network and support they need to grow their business. Their team comprises of 11 Oxford Saïd MBA candidates with a wide range of experience in industries such as venture capital, technology, private equity, management consultancy, and entrepreneurship.

How it works

Oxford Office Hours is a regional and virtual special of our monthly quick-fire sessions where the Forward Partners’ investment team sit down with pre-seed founders to hear their big ideas and provide feedback. During these sessions, founders will also have the opportunity to pitch to members of the Oxford Seed Fund team. We’re open to providing specific feedback, and if it’s a good fit, investment. (FP’s primary focus is on Applied AI, but we’ve extensive experience and interest in e-commerce and marketplaces too.)

We’ve invested in a number of companies that were discovered through Office Hours, so view the 20-minute meeting as a chance to show us that you:

A) are a strong founder (or founding team) with deep domain expertise

B) have an unfair advantage, and

C) are playing in a venture-scale market.

If we’re excited about you and your business, we’ll invite you back for a more in-depth investment meeting. We’ve invested in 6 companies through Office Hours to date - with our most recent being HIGHR - a direct-to-consumer beauty brand on a mission to build the cleanest supply chain in the world.

Exclusive webinar: Understanding VC: The need-to-know insights

For the first time in Office Hours history, we’ll also be holding a virtual investment workshop - Understanding VC: The need-to-know insights - that will be open to all applicants, regardless of whether your application was successful or not.

Understanding the machine of venture capital and how VC investors evaluate companies is critical if you’re raising your first venture round. Not least because many founders jump into the ring without understanding the rules (and thus handicap themselves before they even get started). But also because venture is a very specific type of funding, and taking on venture investors will influence a number of strategic decisions you make in your startup going forward.

The workshop will be run by investor Katie Kim, and will be filled with inside insights from FP’s 6-year history as an applied venture fund. For perspective - we review over 4000 deals every year.

Calling all Oxford-based founders

We’re keen to meet any and all pre-seed entrepreneurs with ambitious, venture scale ideas that are based in Oxford. Students, professionals, graduates, alumni, post-doctorates, professors, and drop-outs are all welcome!

We receive 100’s of applications every month, so it’s worth investing a bit of time into your submission. FP investor Louise put together a cheat sheet on how to craft a killer application, and it’s well worth a read.

How Do I Apply?

Fill in our application form here, and make sure to select ‘Oxford Office Hours’. They’ll be held on 12th May 2020.

We can’t wait to meet you.

Apply Here.

Oxford Seed Fund

The Oxford Seed Fund is a student-led fund born out of University of Oxford’s Entrepreneurship Centre at Saïd Business School that provides capital to Oxford University’s most promising start-ups Each year, they not only invest in Oxford start-ups, but also provide them with the network and support they need to grow their business. Their team comprises of 11 MBA candidates with a wide range of experience in industries such as venture capital, technology, private equity, management consultancy, and entrepreneurship.

Shope is a marketer, writer and headshot photographer. As Brand and Content Manager at Forward Partners, Shope executes on our content strategy and works to build our awareness with early-stage founders. Prior to joining Forward Partners she worked at e-commerce and marketplace startups, initially as a content creator at ASOS, before moving onto support Drover and Common Objective with their communications and content. She has a strong interest in consumer brands and sustainability.

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