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Old College Capital (OCC) is the University of Edinburgh’s venture investment fund. We manage Edinburgh’s early-stage investment activities and shareholdings; supporting exciting ideas and technologies emerging from the University.

The Fund aims to support the University’s research, staff and students by investing in high-growth, early-stage businesses associated with the University, and follows a co-investment model by partnering with experienced private sector investors. Working closely with founders, investors, and the University ecosystem, Old College Capital accelerates the journey of startups and spinouts that are looking to make a positive impact on people and our planet. Committed to investing for the long term, OCC reinvests its returns so that it can support the next generation of early-stage companies.

Investing in impactful ideas and technologies

OCC primarily invests in University of Edinburgh-associated spinout and startup companies[1] . Responsible, early-stage investment helps ideas, research, and innovation from the University transition out of labs and classrooms into the wider world where they can make an impact at scale. Successful spinouts that have benefited from OCC support include Invizius, which is developing solutions to improve the treatment and prognosis for dialysis patients. OCC first invested in Invizius in 2019, following its spinout in 2018. Working with a strong syndicate of co-investors, OCC has helped the company navigate technical and regulatory milestones building towards its first clinical trials. Among the many startup companies that OCC has supported is MiAlgae, which uses co-products from whisky distillation to grow Omega-3-rich algae for use as a raw material in agricultural food products. Founded in 2018 by Douglas Martin while he was studying for a Master’s degree, OCC was one of the first investors in MiAlgae; an exciting circular economy business that’s helping to ease the pressure on marine ecosystems while boosting the whisky industry’s sustainability credentials.

Where there is capacity, OCC can also support spin-in opportunities. A spin-in is a company that has approached the University for collaboration, and where a University student or staff member is actively involved in the development of the company’s technology or IP. Previous spin-ins that have benefitted from OCC support include Sunamp, pioneer of innovative thermal storage solutions. A longstanding collaborator with the University’s School of Chemistry, Sunamp has recently been awarded the prestigious King’s Award for Enterprise. OCC first invested in Sunamp in 2015, and has supported the company as it secured first revenue and began to scale.

The value of OCC support

OCC comprises a team of deep-tech, early-stage investment specialists who are passionate about getting ideas from University of Edinburgh staff, students and research out into the world to make a difference. The team works collaboratively with a wide range of partners and companies, and has strong relationships with over 150 investors. Recognising that different investors bring different perspectives, experiences and expertise, the team supports UoE companies to find the right group of investors to help them flourish.

OCC is an active and engaged shareholder for the companies it invests in; does not charge arrangement, research or ongoing monitoring fees on invested funds; and has extensive transaction and exit experience. By providing company founders with the benefit of its expertise and significant investor network, OCC ensures that University startups and spinouts fulfil their potential and make their ideas work for a better world.

[1] A spinout is a new company founded on intellectual property (IP) that has been generated from research undertaken at the University. The University owns founding shares in return for the exclusive license of the IP, support services, and/or other assets transferred to the company. A startup is a new company formed by a University student or staff member who is actively engaged with the University. Any related IP will be owned by the founder (not the University) and transferred to the company.

Old College Capital

Old College Capital is the University of Edinburgh’s venture investment fund. We support the most exciting ideas and technologies emerging from the University.

Making ideas work for a better world

Maximising Impact

By unlocking innovation and driving it forward, we maximise the University’s economic and social impact.
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