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Meet the Oxford Capital team – Stephen Hampson, Investment Director

Stephen Hampson 3 cropped cooler

1. Can you tell us a bit more about your role at Oxford Capital? 

I work on assessing new investment opportunities and alongside many of our portfolio companies. Both sides of the role are equally interesting. We have an exciting portfolio of companies led by some super-talented founders.  We also have great quality deal flow, plenty of adventurous companies looking to grow the next big thing.  I really enjoy seeing new technologies that can make a difference, looking for capital to make their ambition a reality.

2. What have your learnt working with early-stage companies throughout the Covid-19 pandemic?

Early-stage companies tend to be very adaptable and can respond quickly to changes in the environment. They are also good at seeing the opportunity in difficult situations. Remote working has changed the team dynamics, but it has also opened the possibility of recruiting from a wider area. New hires no longer need to be local.  This can enable companies to find talent to enable them to grow faster.

3. Which sectors do you think offer the most potential in the current environment?

I’m a big fan of energy efficiency and the decarbonization of industry. Companies in this space will do well over the long term but there are plenty of good opportunities. For example, improving the food supply chain to minimize waste and precision agriculture. We are seeing some very strong digital health companies too, making assessments and care more accessible.

 4. What are the big differences between the New Zealand start up scene and the UK?

There are plenty of differences (mostly notably market size), but probably more things in common. Ambitious companies looking to go global. Both have a strong talent pool to draw from. New Zealander’s are exceptional at starting companies and have the ability to turn their hands to anything. Perhaps in the UK there is a larger pool of talent to draw from, so combined with more ready access to larger markets, it is easier to be more successful in the scale-up phase. Of course, there have been plenty of New Zealand startups that have overcome the remoteness of the South Pacific and have dominated global markets. Xero for example.

 5. What most interests you about working with early-stage companies and the processes behind this?

The early stage is a very creative process. Generating the right product market fit, determining the right business model to maximise value creation and organizing the business to capture value. Inevitably there is a constant stream of problems to solve and decisions to make in very uncertain environments. What could be better.

Quickfire round

 1. Favourite pastime/hobby

Football. Or more accurately watching football these days. And reading academic literature on business models.

2. Favourite holiday destination

Anywhere with sunshine or Manchester. It gets cold up North though, you need a hat!

3. Favourite meal

Pudding, chips and mushy peas

4. Favourite film/TV show

Coronation Street

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