OXFO receives Santander funding to support COVID-19 ventures

The Oxford Foundry has received an additional £25,000 of funding from Santander Universities to support the OXFO COVID-19 Action Plan.

Two grants of £10,000 will be given to Crowdless and Oblivious AI, two student-led ventures on the OXFO COVID-19 Rapid Solutions Builder. Alex Barnes from Crowdless is a DPhil in International Development and Robert Pisarczyk from Oblivious AI is a DPhil in Mathematics. The funding will be awarded through the OXFO Startup Grant Runway Fund.

The remaining funding will support the Entrepreneurial Leadership Curriculum at OXFO including, a series of masterclasses and 1:1 mentorship and coaching focused on mental health and leadership skills designed to support founders as they navigate uncertain, complex and pressurised circumstances. This also includes student Volunteer Placements with the four ventures on the OXFO COVID-19 Rapid Solutions Builder. Over 70 Oxford students across all four academic divisions of the University signed up to volunteer to help the COVID-19 response.   

Ana Bakshi, Director of the Oxford Foundry said, “The partnership between the Oxford Foundry and Santander to support entrepreneurship and venture creation has been running since 2018.

A huge thank you to Santander for this additional support for our OXFO COVID-19 Action Plan. Universities are engines for prosperity and economic growth and are unique places for world-class innovation, talent, and intellectual capital. This funding will support ventures who are critically responding to the pandemic, and who are creating the jobs and positive change we need for post-pandemic recovery.”

Student volunteer Daniel Jones, currently studying for a BA in Economics & Management at Pembroke College said, “It was amazing to see first-hand how quickly Crowdless has evolved, and to be a part of that process. It feels brilliant to have been able to contribute to such a constructive and innovative business.”

The OXFO Santander partnership in 2019-20 has also supported the Foundry’s 2020 Distinguished Speaker Series of masterclasses delivered by world-renowned experts on the topics of pitching and building resilience in relation to developing purpose-driven businesses and enabled five £5,000 equity-free grants to be awarded to five ventures in cohort 3 of the L.E.V8 Accelerator to help them scale through providing marketing expertise, new hires, and to buy new software and technology for product development.