Oxford: OION has record funding year

Oxford Investment Opportunity Network (OION), Europe’s leading technology business angel network, has announced results showing that it has enjoyed a record breaking year of helping innovative companies to secure funding.

The OION Network is headquartered in Oxford but assists growing technology companies from across the UK to secure funding from £150,000 to £2 million. Its investor members include high net worth individuals – business angels – as well as venture capital trusts, funds and corporate venturers.

Guests at the Network’s Annual Dinner heard Investment Networks director Don McLaverty announce that OION’s investor members invested £3.15 million in 15 companies during the past financial year. This direct investment enabled the firms to leverage an additional £10 million of funding from other sources.

McLaverty said: “I am delighted that OION has enjoyed a blockbuster year as Europe’s most successful technology business angel network, despite the worsening economic conditions since last October.

“We think our success is down to three main factors – firstly, the OION Network team has established a very consistent track record of matching investors with high quality, innovative companies that have solid growth potential and who need relatively small but crucial amounts of funding to realise that potential.

“Secondly, we secured a co-investment programme with a major institution which enabled our investor members to leverage additional funding alongside their investments. This was a unique programme that was exclusive to our OION Network, in which our business angels played a key role.

“Thirdly, we decided to launch a number of new initiatives during the year including a meetings and investor training programme for new investors. This provides a forum for our new investors to make contact with our experienced members, while also raising technical questions about investing, and has proved to be extremely popular.”

Highlighting the important role of business angels during the recession, McLaverty said: “It is overwhelmingly clear that business angels have a unique role to play during this recession and are more important than ever during these difficult times. They supply a bedrock of investment combined with valuable management experience, often gained during hard times, which can be crucial to the survival and growth of early stage technology companies.”

Guests at the Annual Dinner also enjoyed hearing guest speaker, Anne Glover, co-founder and chief executive of Amadeus Capital Partners, describe how Amadeus provides early through to later stage funding for innovative young technology companies to enable them to develop into market leaders, and her hopes that government initiatives to support young companies would be targeted and complement what the private sector does.

Glover said: “Business angels are an essential component in the funding of innovation, often having access to companies before they come to the venture capital market. OION plays a key role in this process and I am delighted that the past year has been such a success.”

OION is one of three Investment Networks managed by Oxford Innovation, the UK’s leading operator of Innovation Centres. Oxford Innovation manages 14 Innovation Centres providing flexible office and laboratory space for over 350 growing companies.