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The University of Southampton

Funding initiative for Solent companies launched at Collaborate2Innovate

Published: 2 November 2010

A new initiative to assist growing companies in the Solent region looking for business development funding was launched at the Collaborate2Innovate 2010 event today. The universities of Southampton and Portsmouth announced that they have signed a sponsorship deal with Oxford Innovation to support investment network meetings and investor training workshops in Southampton and Portsmouth from next year.

The aim of the collaboration is to assist local companies by providing access to funding from high net worth individuals (‘business angels’) who are members of Oxford Innovation’s investment networks and to facilitate involvement by prospective local investors. The longer term objective is to work with local partners to establish a new Solent investment network.

The deal builds on Oxford Innovation’s existing presence in the region where it manages two innovation centres for start-up and growing companies - the newly constructed Ocean Village Innovation Centre, Southampton, which is set to open for business during November, and the highly successful Portsmouth Technopole.

The University of Southampton has a strong commitment to developing local business and has already established successful schemes such as the SETsquared Business Acceleration Programme, which has incubated over 30 companies. In 2010 alone, these companies have raised £9.2 million of investment. A classic example of a company that has benefited from the Programme is Ilika plc, which floated on AIM during May at a market capitalisation of £18.7m and employs over 30 people. Ilika identifies and scales up materials for use in commercial applications such as longer lasting batteries and more efficient sensors.

The University of Portsmouth has a proud tradition of helping businesses succeed. It established Purple Door in 2005 as a one-stop shop to make it easier for the business community to gain access to the research, knowledge and expertise of the University. Over the last 12 months the University has seen its work with business increase by 42 per cent and is increasingly regarded as a provider of high impact outsourced research and development. The University supports a broad base of business customers, ranging from blue chip multi-nationals through to high growth start-up companies.

The sponsorship deal will see the universities provide support for two of Oxford Innovation’s investment networks: Thames Valley Investment Network (TVIN), which helps companies secure funding from £150,000 to £750,000 and includes a focus on the clean tech and creative and new media sectors and Oxford Early Investments, which assists early stage companies with proof of concept funding from £25,000 to £250,000.

Speaking at the Collaborate2Innovate event, Don McLaverty, joint managing director of Innovation Services at Oxford Innovation, said: “Oxford Innovation is committed to working with local partners, including the universities, Portsmouth City Council, Partnership for Urban South Hampshire, Solent Synergy, the Solent Innovation and Growth Team and SetSquared to support the growth of companies here.

“We are delighted to welcome the universities of Southampton and Portsmouth on board as prestigious new sponsors of both the TVIN Network and Oxford Early Investments.

“This deal will enable us to provide a high quality service for investors and companies in the Solent region and we hope that it will be the starting point for a new local investment network. We are in discussion with additional sponsors interested in supporting this initiative and welcome enquiries from organisations that would like to get involved.

“We look forward to welcoming local companies, prospective investors and partners to our first investment network meeting on 6 April 2011 in Southampton.”

Dr Tony Raven, director of research and innovation services at the University of Southampton, said: “Innovation is the engine of our economy and the Solent region is a hotbed of entrepreneurs with innovative new technologies and ideas. By linking with Oxford Early Investments and TVIN, we will be able to provide these start-up companies with direct access to investors which will help accelerate their growth and the growth of the local economy. And in the longer term, we hope to establish a local investment network.”


Mark Baker, head of research and knowledge transfer services at the University of Portsmouth, said: “TVIN and Oxford Early Investments provide a unique and compelling service to early stage and growing companies. The combination of investors offering funding and experience and sponsors and partners offering access to business support services provides these businesses with a stable platform for the next phase of their development. There is a particularly good match between TVIN and our focus on delivering support for high growth companies, and we look forward to working with the investment networks on meetings in our region.”

To register for the investor training workshop on 30 March 2011 in Portsmouth and/or the investment meeting on 6 April 2011 in Southampton or to find out more about sponsorship opportunities, contact Eileen Modral, investment networks manager, on Tel: 01865 811143 or Email:


Notes for editors

  • Press enquiries to: Margaret Henry, PR Director.
    Tel: +44 (0)1865 811199 E-mail:

    About the University of Southampton
    The University of Southampton’s record for success in spinning out its research excellence into business ventures has made it one of the leading entrepreneurial universities in the UK. 12 successful companies have been spun out since 2000, four of which have been floated on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) with a combined market capitalisation value of £180 million.

    The University of Southampton is a leading UK teaching and research institution with a global reputation for research and scholarship across a wide range of subjects in engineering, science, social sciences, health, arts and humanities.

    With over 22,000 students, around 5,000 staff, and an annual turnover of almost £400 million, the University is one of the country’s top institutions for engineering, computer science and medicine. Academic excellence is combined with an innovative and entrepreneurial approach to research, supporting a culture that engages and challenges students and staff in their pursuit of learning.

    The University is also home to a number of world-leading research centres, including the National Oceanography Centre, the Institute of Sound and Vibration Research, the Optoelectronics Research Centre, the Centre for the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease and the Southampton Statistical Sciences Research Institute.

    About The University of Portsmouth
    The University of Portsmouth has a modern, vibrant approach to educating our students and delivers well-designed services for business. Overall, the University is at the heart of the local community, the economy of the wider region and contributes to the expansion of business manufacturing and innovation.

    The University has a direct impact on the successes of the local economy. We are proud to have helped local business improve their profitability, public services increase their efficiency and to have led the field in developing business services that deliver results.

    Purple Door is our one-stop, store-front shop for the external business community and student careers. Last year alone, Purple Door helped over 600 businesses and engaged in £4.2 million worth of collaborative research, helping to create 200 new jobs. The majority of these companies have come back to us, giving us repeat business while we help them break into international markets and put them on the road to growth. Students and academics work with businesses to ensure that they have the right skills to meet the economy’s future needs.

    For more information:

    About Thames Valley Investment Network (TVIN)
    Founded in 2003, Thames Valley Investment Network (TVIN) links investors in the Reading and Thames Valley areas with companies in the general technology, creative and new media and clean tech sectors seeking funding from £150,000 to £750,000. Regular investment meetings allow businesses to present their propositions to the Network’s investor members who frequently offer management input as well as capital.

    TVIN has two sister networks: Oxford Investment Opportunity Network links investors with entrepreneurs seeking business development funds up to £2 million and Oxford Early Investments.

    TVIN is managed by Oxford Innovation, which delivers innovation advisory programmes and operates business and innovation centres for growing companies, and sponsored by Keystone Law; Maxim Corporate Finance LLP and Nunn Hayward, chartered accountants. For more information:

    About Oxford Early Investments (OEI)
    Founded in 2004, Oxford Early Investments (OEI) is a business angel network that helps early stage companies raise funding from £25,000 to £150,000 by matching them with business angel investors. OEI is managed by Oxford Innovation and sponsored by Manches, Dehns, Richardsons, Oxford Technology Management and the Harwell Campus. For more information:

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