Oxford Final of the IMAGINE IF! Pre-accelerator

Wednesday, May 26th 2021


18:00 – 20:00 (BST)

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Join us on Wednesday May 26th for the Oxford final of IMAGINE IF! 2020-21 where start-up teams supported by the programme will be pitching to an investor panel of judges and showcasing their innovations. The local Final represents the culmination of the IMAGINE IF! programme of workshops and bespoke mentorship.

This event is a perfect opportunity for audience members to witness and support the innovative talent of the Oxford region and to gain insights into the local start-up ecosystem, as well as to learn about the contributions of the Innovation Forum to this ecosystem. We encourage anyone with a keen interest in science and business to attend this event.

Please note that this is a virtual event and the audience will be able to join via Zoom (link to be distributed in a follow-up email).


IMAGINE IF! is a global accelerator with a dedicated program of mentorship and the opportunity to pitch to an investor panel to win non-dilutive capital and six-month’s lab space. The competition is tailored to early state ideas with a particular focus on technology and science that transforms healthcare and the environment. The competition is run by Innovation Forum as Local Finals tied to Innovation Forum branches (like Oxford) and a Global Final of winners from across the globe.

Sponsorship and Prizes

The Oxford IMAGINEIF! final is sponsored by Barclays Eagle Lab and Wood Centre for Innovation. Winners of the Oxford IMAGINEIF! final will be offered a residency at the Barclays Eagle Lab and Wood Centre for Innovation in Headington. The prize includes access to bespoke mentoring and funding opportunities, combined with the space and support needed to scale your venture in an environment dedicated to accelerating early stage science and technology companies.

Judging Panel

Knowing the vital role of exposing start-ups to real investors as early as possible, the Oxford IMAGINE IF! judging panel covers a range of expertise, including angel and institutional investors.

Amy Kao

Amy is an Investment Associate at Oxford Sciences Innovation supporting opportunities in HeathTech. Previously, Amy worked as a business consultant with EY Embryonic, developed early-stage ideas in liquid biopsy and biosensors at Merck KGaA. She has also worked in software and AI with recognition from Global leaders including the European Space Agency, European Institute of Innovation and Technology and EY Global Innovation. Amy holds a DPhil in Psychiatry examining the effects of prebiotic intervention on the role of prebiotics in psychopharmacology from the University of Oxford (Wolfson College, 2015).

John Cassidy

John is an Angel investor with a portfolio of >10 early stage companies, a Venture Partner at Kindred Capital and the cofounder of CCG.ai, a Y-Combinator backed precision medicine startup (exited in 2020). John holds a PhD in functional Genomics form the University of Cambridge, a Masters in Pharmacology from the University of Glasgow and an MBA from Quantic. In 2018 John was recognised on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list for contributions to biotechnology and in 2019 was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology for the same.

Bauke Anninga

Bauke is an Associate in the Biotechnology team of M Ventures, the corporate venture capital arm of Merck KGaA. Before joining M Ventures, he was with Jefferies in the Healthcare Investment Banking group in London (UK). During his time at Jefferies he advised on several financings and M&A transactions across the biotechnology, pharmaceutical and medical devices sectors. He’s also a founding member of the Innovation Forum, a global network and accelerator for science-based ventures. Bauke has a PhD in Cancer Studies from King’s College London (UK) and an MSc in Technical Medicine from the University of Twente (The Netherlands).

Marc Moesser

Marc is an investment partner at Creator Fund where he invests exclusively in university spinouts and student founders at seed stage. He most recently lead the seed round of Baseimmune, a Vaccine Biotech from the Jenner Insititute in Oxford. He is also a PhD researcher at Oxford University working with Glaxo-Smith-Kline to develop AI algorithms to accelerate drug discovery. As an investor, Marc is focussed on deeptech ventures that are able to commercialize exciting new technology straight from University campuses.

Matthijs Branderhorst

Matthijs is a partner at Marks & Clerk and specialises in drafting and prosecuting patent applications in the fields of software, computer-implemented inventions, and internet-related technologies. He also has wider experience in a wide range of other technologies, including optical technologies, semiconductors, medical systems and telecommunication. Matthijs regularly represents clients in oral proceedings at the European Patent Office, including opposition and appeal proceedings. Matthijs has been recognised as a rising star by Managing Intellectual Property, IP Stars, 2018.


Meet the Start-ups Pitching on the Day


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