TheHill Oxford – 12 months in!
Twelve months ago we launched TheHill as a vehicle to help promote healthcare innovation in Oxford. Sitting at the heart of Oxford’s medical, academic, digital and entrepreneurial communities, our core aims were: to build and promote a community of innovators; to create an environment to actively support innovators and their projects, startups and spinouts; to make a positive social impact through improvements to healthcare and public health; to become a leading centre for health innovation, attracting external innovators, collaborators and related bodies to Oxford; to work with existing organsations and resources to best achieve these aims. A year in, we thought it would be a good idea to sketch out the journey so far, and highlight some of our future plans!
During the summer of 2016 we held a series of popup events at the John Radcliffe hospital. These themed popup events showcased existing local and regional projects, people and startups; offered insights into the process behind going from problem identification and idea through to launching and scaling an innovation; introduced many of the people who can help support teams on that journey; and provided a fantastic opportunity to network with likeminded people.
The popup event series culminated with a pitch night in September 2016, giving people the opportunity to pitch their idea, project or startup to an expert panel including representatives from the OUH board, University and digital community. Over 30 people gave a pitch to a packed lecture theatre, with a fantastic array of ideas and teams on display. We were incredibly enthused by the aptitude and creativity that was displayed, and also by the help and impact that our popup events had already made. Eight teams who gave a pitch that evening were then selected to take part in our Pre-Accelerator, which ran through winter 2016-17.
Our pre-accelerator was a series of workshop sessions held during the winter of 2016-17. Over a number of sessions, we invited experts in the field to help the teams refine their ideas and value proposition, identify the problems and opportunities with their business models, advised on how best to change and refine these models, worked on rapid prototyping (of ideas and solutions), and also gave individual help and guidance between sessions where required. It was great to see the progress made by our teams – we’re really excited about their future journeys, and are sure to be following them closely.
TheHill’s Expert-in-Residence (EiR) program is running from April to August 2017, as part of the parent program run by the Medical Sciences Division at the University of Oxford. Funded by the MRC, we have a fantastic team of invited industry experts who are dedicating one day per month to engage with innovators, academics, healthcare professionals and others, to help through their expertise, guidance and connections. We’re incredibly appreciative to our experts (listed below), who cover a wide range of disciplines, and have given us their time for free. Our EiR days have so far facilitated over 100 one-to-one sessions with our experts, and we’re delighted to have seen the positive impacts these engagements and connections have had.
In order to make the most of what is a limited amount of time during the one-on-one sessions, it’s important to be as clear as possible with your idea and vision. One great way of doing this is to use the Business Model Canvas, which is a free tool to help you visualise and clarify all the main components of a startup. The University of Oxford’s Entrepreneurship Centre have a short blog post on this topic which includes a link to download a copy of the canvas and we recommend you read it for a short introduction – http://www.eship.ox.ac.uk/business-model-canvas-explained.
From June, our EiR days will have a small change, with slightly extended (though fewer) one-to-one sessions, and we’re especially keen for people to engage who are interested in being part of TheHill Accelerator later in the year. If this is you, please signup, then download your Business Model Canvas, especailly focus on your Value Proposition, and come and talk to our experts at the end of June!
- Stefania Marcoli is the Principal Director in the Design for Healthcare team at the world famous frogdesign in Milan, Italy.
- David Cole has worked at IBM for over 18 years and now works within IBM’s artificial intelligence arm, Watson. Outside of IBM, David runs Thinking of Oscar, a charity which supports children and their families whilst in hospital care by funding projects and innovation beyond what is supplied by the NHS.
- Dr Neil Bacon is a former nephrologist with a clinical and academic career spanning 18 years. In 1998 he founded the multi-award winning Doctors.net.uk and has also launched iWantGreatCare.org.
- Dr Alex Pasteur is a partner in F-Prime Capital, a global venture capital firm investing in healthcare and technology, with over $2 trillion in assets under management.
- Adam Drury is Director at GE Healthcare Finnamore with particular expertise in working within the NHS system, health informatics, management consultancy and whole system change.
- Dr Justin Whatling leads Cerner’s European Advisory Practice responsible for performance improvement and population health management.
- June Thompson has worked for IBM for over 20 years, and has experience working with both the NHS and pharmaceutical sector. June’s mission is to enable healthcare providers to deliver successful outcomes and improve efficiency through transformation with technology.
- Tim Jackson is has been an early-stage investor since 2000, and now runs London-based WalkingVentures seed fund. He formerly was founder and CEO of QXL, which went to IPO on the Nasdaq and the London Stock Exchange and was sold in 2007 for $1.9 billion, and has also written for the Financial Times, The Economist, and The Independent.
StartedInOxford demo night
In May 2016 TheHill joined forces with all the main entrepreneurial groups in Oxford to put on the first #StartedInOxford demo night, a showcase for all the fantastic things coming out of Oxford. Working with the FAB Accelerator, Enterprising Oxford, Oxford Startups, Oxford Entrepreneurs, Oxford University Innovation’s Startup Incubator, and The Entrepreneurship Centre each group invited a number of teams to present their startup at a stand on the night, held in the new TAP Social microbrewery / popup pub in Botley (a great local social enterprise), on an evening that wouldn’t have been out of place in Shoreditch or Silicon Valley. Each attendee was given $1000 of StartedInOxford Dollars, with which to ‘invest’ in their favourite teams. The breadth of ideas, teams, startups and engagement that was on show was really amazing to see, and there was a palpable buzz ! The crowds surrounding the Hetty’s Hospital team, was notable, and we’re delighted to have been able to have been able to give them the opportunity to be part of the evening. Some of our favourites were Tech Pixies, upskilling people returning to work from a career break, Baraza which aims to train and educate local grassroots organisations and community groups in Kenya to be able to access funding & thus kickstart local climate action, and the eventual winners, Fungry a newly-launched (Oxford-based) startup aiming to be the Deliveroo for independent restaurants, delivering the healthiest and tastiest meals out there. The evening was a fantastic experience, universally acclaimed as a great success, and one that is sure to be repeated (watch this space for round 2 after the summer).
TheHill Accelerator program will launch in autumn 2017, and will be a series of weekly evening workshops to help early-stage teams with a focus on key steps such as identifying your value proposition, prototyping, regulation, IP, data management, rollout, and evaluation. We’re incredibly excited about launching this key component of TheHill, and are looking forward to inviting applications in the coming weeks.
Thanks for reading this far. I’m sure you’ll agree it’s been a packed, and fantastic first year. We’re looking forward to the next 12 months, and hope you’ll be part of the journey with us!