With a background in the electronics industry, Andrew joined the university of Oxford founders in creating Opsydia. Opsydia is set to bring significant security advances to the diamond gemstone market. Harnessing short pulse laser technology the company has the ability to create serial numbers or marks, invisible to the naked eye, inside a diamond ensuring the gem’s identity is secured. Other applications for the technology include security marking within polymers for identity and financial applications. With seed funding of £1.9m investment completed in September and the first customer secured we are recruiting the team to development its advanced marking systems.
I have an engineering degree and after 14 years in larger organisations I joined an early stage technology company. We got a great buzz out of taking our new unique technology into a number of new markets and applications and building a company. When you have been part of that process then it makes you want to go out and do it again!
It’s taking a combination of commercial, market and technical skills and using them to identify opportunities then develop profitable business out of them.
I came to this when the founders had done the introductory work so I had to look at the concept, potential markets and be comfortable that there was a good prospect of creating a successful business.
Flexibility – when starting a new business you have to be able to turn your hand to whatever is required
Persistence – there will always be hurdles and changes in direction so it is important to adapt to these but still keep the goal in sight
Commercial skills – it is essential to always look at the commercial aspects not to just get excited by the technology
Creating and building new business by developing and taking new products to market.
How they come up with the next big thing for their market.
I learned early on that you need to keep your options open in terms of prospects and potential customers. It is easy to think an engagement with a large player in your target market will lead to the ‘big deal’. Often big companies can be slow to adopt and difficult for a start-up to gain traction through their organisation whereas a smaller partner will often turn out to be more agile and present quicker opportunities for you.
We are grateful to have gained investment we needed from OSI and Parkwalk.
Having come from outside Oxford, the infrastructure available through OUI for spinning out new companies has been impressive. We were quickly introduced to potential investors and service providers including lawyers, accountants and banks all of whom are used to the Oxford spin-out formula which eased the whole process.
OUI, OSI and the annual Business in Oxford event.
Make sure you focus on the customer and the commercials as well as the technology.