Oxford University’s newest start-up accelerator welcomes its first cohort

Oxford University’s newest start-up accelerator welcomes its first cohort

The Oxford Foundry has announced the first cohort of start-up teams to join OXFO L.E.V8, the University's newest start-up accelerator. 

The ten teams will be supported by the Foundry through the L.E.V8 programme for a six month period, ending in September 2018.

The Oxford Foundry (OXFO) is a new entrepreneurship centre at the heart of Oxford University, an initiative led by Professor Peter Tufano, the Dean of Saïd Business School, with a founding donation from Reid Hoffman, Founder of LinkedIn. The call for applications was only open for two weeks, but in that period more than 130 early-stage start-ups applied to the Foundry’s OXFO L.E.V8 accelerator programme, each of whom have at least one Oxford University-affiliated person on their founding team. The Foundry takes no equity, and requires no transfer of IP from the ventures it supports through L.E.V8, and the package of support is estimated to have a value of £60k per team.

The final 10 teams selected for the L.E.V8 programme comprise 30 entrepreneurs, from 11 different nationalities. They will benefit from a range of support including bespoke masterclasses, practical advice and support to develop and scale their businesses, and access to advisors, industry experts and investors. All the ventures will have a designated workspace within the Amersi Foundation Accelerator at the Oxford Foundry’s central Oxford location for the six months of the programme. The teams will finish their six month residency at L.E.V8 with a demo day in September, where they will showcase their businesses to an audience of invited guests, including investors and members of the Press. Further details of the demo day will be announced in June 2018.

L.E.V8 has already changed our thinking about the future of our company. Our business has seriously accelerated now that we’ve tapped into Oxford’s vast networks with global companies, prominent entrepreneurs, and domain experts. We’ve raised our sights, and our game.

James Thorogood, CEO of Boresha, and MSc Geography student.

As Reid Hoffman, Founder of LinkedIn and senior advisor to the Foundry, explains: 'The calibre of these ventures is impressive, with over half of them having already raised some initial funding and product partnership traction before joining the accelerator. Each member of the cohort has the potential to be a talented entrepreneurial leader, and this individual potential will be nurtured and developed through the L.E.V8 programme. It is our hope that the teams will pay the learnings forward, enriching and contributing to society and the economy, be that with their current ventures or as they form or join new companies in the future.'

The diversity of the L.E.V8 teams reflects the sector-agnostic nature of the Foundry, including students of Medical Anthropology, Physics, Population Health and more. The ventures cover a range of industry sectors including medtech, sustainable energy, fintech and education.

Ana Bakshi, Director of the Oxford Foundry, commented: 'Each of our ventures is working on impact-driven and purpose-led solutions to global issues, from supporting asset managers in making successful, social impact-led investment decisions, to providing transparency and better accountability in the pharmaceutical industry supply chain through blockchain technology, to providing business solutions in energy conservation. OXFO L.E.V8 connects our ventures to a valuable ecosystem of peers, experts and advisors, all of whom will accelerate them on their journey to scale. The L.E.V8 tailored learning programme will support each participant as they evolve into resilient, empathic entrepreneurial leaders, strong communicators and strategic thinkers. We are creating a collective, a family of Oxford Foundry entrepreneurs who contribute to, and benefit from, an evergreen cycle of support.'

As one of the first 10 ventures to be selected to participate in the L.E.V8 accelerator programme, we have been very fortunate to have access to a plethora of master classes, expert-led workshops, weekly pitch practice exercises, and networking opportunities with senior executives and investors. The Foundry Team have done a terrific job in individually tailoring the programme, delivering customised learning which will help us to hit our short term milestones, as well as work towards our longer term vision.

Jason Lacombe, Co-Founder and CEO of Veratrak, and DPhil Population Health student


These are the ten teams that have been selected for OXFO L.E.V8 for Spring/Summer 2018. Full information about each of the teams can be found in our online LookBook.
Util – responsible investing, placing sustainability at the heart of mainstream finance.
Boresha – fintech to efficiently manage working capital loans for supply chains in Africa.
Scoodle – a platform to intelligently connect students with tutors.
Veratrak – Blockchain-based enterprise software, making the pharmaceutical supply chain more efficient.
Metronome – an energy company eliminating the need for future fossil fuel consumption.
Propmatch – enabling real estate buyers and sellers to make smart, data-driven decisions.
Ecosync – Tech to optimise the energy performance of buildings, reducing energy consumption.
BreatheOx – A home monitoring system to predict and prevent asthma attacks.
Pod Health – Providing patients with convenient, high quality, tech-driven healthcare, with a focus on diagnostics.
EnRecover – a physiotherapy app helping patients to enjoy pain-free movement post-surgery, and enabling doctors to monitor progress remotely.

Find out more about the Oxford Foundry here