89: Assessing start-up science companies and creating the right experiments | Andrea Mica of Oxford Technology

09 Jan 2024 / Podcast Tax Enhanced
Oxford Technology

Investing in companies that are starting out presents different challenges from when they are more established. Oxford Technology has probably been investing in new science and technology companies for longer than anyone else in the (S)EIS world. We ask Director Andrea Mica to discuss how to go about it.

In a discussion that is full of examples, both successful and unsuccessful, we cover a wider range of areas:

  • how to validate the science/technology when there are no sales;
  • how to invest without specialist knowledge;
  • building appropriate experiments;
  • looking beyond the first experiment;
  • the importance of testing commerciality;
  • avoiding inventions looking for a problem;
  • developing founder skills and encouraging them to try sales;
  • the value of contrarianism.

With lots of experience, Andrea provides great insights into how Oxford Technology approaches the challenge and there is plenty for investors and founders to learn. Hope you enjoy it!

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Suggested book

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

Andrea Mica, Director of Oxford Technology, has been an OT(S)EIS Fund Director since 2009. He is responsible for sourcing, selecting and supporting companies in the fund, which now has invested £11m. In 2009 Andrea had a short-term role at the Royal Society Enterprise Fund helping to structure the investment evaluation process, train an incoming analyst and help carry out due diligence on the first investments. Prior to this he worked at IP Group plc where he was responsible for selecting investment opportunities in the partner universities, conducting technology and market due diligence, building start-up teams and presenting the investment case to the investment board. In 1999 he worked at CFB Technology, Flintstone plc, investigating the technologies in which the group invested and helping the teams/companies get started.

He is a Co-Founder of Cleansteel Ltd, developing and running a recycling process, and has held various positions offering consultancy as a Creativity Trainer and Problem Solver. He holds a MSc in Product Design from Delft University of Technology and a BSc in Creativity and Innovation State at University College Buffalo.