The Oxford Foundry has awarded funding and expert assistance to four entrepreneurial businesses as part of its OXFO COVID-19 Rapid Solutions Builder programme.
In the Healthcare category, the award was given to My110, a company originally focusing on helping athletes to better understand their fitness levels, which has adapted its technology to provide effective and non-invasive saliva tests for COVID-19.
In the Education category, the award was given to Devie, which uses Artificial Intelligence to power a coaching app for parents, providing accessible advice. This was seen as especially valuable following the closure of nurseries and pre-schools.
In the Inclusive Social Engagement and Mobility category, the award was given to Oblivious AI, which engages with how data is processed by governments and has adapted to advising several states in India on contact-tracing while maintaining privacy.
In the Operations, Logistics and Supply Chains category the award was given to Crowdless, an app originally built to help users avoid queues at supermarkets and shops but now useful in aiding solutions to socially-distanced consumer experiences. The app has been successfully supported by the Foundry since winning Best Postgraduate Idea in its 2019 All-Innovate competition.
The judges in the four categories included the co-founder of Twitter, the founder of Just Eat and the former CEO of Burberry, among others.
As well as triumphing over a hundred entries to the Oxford Foundry’s scheme, My110 and Crowdless were both also successful in securing Innovate UK funding from the British government, which saw 8600 applications.
The Foundry, established by the Saïd Business School in 2017 to provide infrastructural aid and funding to innovative Oxford student and alumni start-ups, will provide each of the companies with £10,000 in funding as well as a two-month programme of support and ongoing expert assistance and advice.
Ana Bakshi, Director of the Foundry, said: “Universities are homes of innovation that provide critical sources of income, impact, and job creation for government and the economy. With the onset of the pandemic it was vital that we mobilised our networks and leveraged our community as quickly as possible, this included repurposing nearly 100% of the team’s time to the COVID-19 action plan.
“The ventures we support are having an impact in hospitals, care homes, schools and other sectors. Cutting edge innovation will be at the forefront of economic and societal recovery and resilience, so we must build and invest in solutions that respond to the secondary and tertiary challenges of the pandemic as quickly and sustainably as possible.”
Image of My110 founders