Merton alumnus Neh Thaker (1992) is part of the four-person team behind HedgeFlows who have been included in the latest cohort of entrepreneurs selected for the Oxford Foundry's OXFO Elevate programme.
OXFO Elevate offers direct introductions to potential investors, funds, clients, partners, and opportunities to secure grant funding, through the Oxford Foundry’s network of high-net-worth individuals and corporate sponsors, as well as an extensive technical, legal, and HR support package. Applications are invited from early-stage ventures led by Oxford students and alumni. Leading experts in entrepreneurship and venture capital then shortlist 10 of these, which are then supported through a six-month intensive venture growth programme.
HedgeFlows is working to address the problem of 'currency risk' - the uncertainties associated with paying or collecting invoices in foreign currencies. They estimate that two-thirds of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) active in international trade lose money this way - on average £70,000 per year, implying an annual loss to UK SMEs of at least £16 billion. HedgeFlows seeks to solve this problem by developing exchange rate and payment tools based on solutions previously available only to big companies, to help small businesses manage this financial risk and safely grow their business with partners and customers in any country.
Neh Thaker said:
“Small businesses are the unsung heroes of economic progress and in recent years it has become progressively harder for them to do business internationally. We started HedgeFlows to level the playing field versus bigger companies and take the 'foreign' out of foreign trade. We do this by creating cutting-edge online tools that make it as easy for small businesses to manage international trade as it is to book a flight or hotel.”
To date, OXFO Elevate has accelerated 32 Oxford-led start-ups who have gone on to raise in excess of £43m in capital and create over 170 jobs, across many sectors including climate, health, cyber security and education.
Ana Bakshi, Director of the Oxford Foundry, said:
“OXFO ventures are proof that profit and social impact aren’t mutually exclusive, and technology can be used to address inequalities rather than widen them. They are the ones helping us build back better and who are creating new vital jobs to replace the ones lost during the pandemic. We’re really looking forward to bringing people together across the Oxford community, our global entrepreneurial ecosystems, and the public and private sectors to support this next cohort. Thank you to our community and everyone that makes this possible.”