News: Press

£25m fintech fund

Calibrate have launched a £25m investment fund focused on financial technology startups. Founder John White left GLG in 2014 after running two of the firm’s biggest funds for a decade. With Calibrate, he plans to back companies developing technology for financial services.

“Fintech” has drawn billions of pounds of investment from the likes of online money changer Transferwise and investment manager Nutmeg.

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Oxford University

Calibrate Directors, Remy Kesrouani and Andy Sinfield, recently went to Oxford University to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs.

For centuries, its colleges trained young men for the priesthood. More recently, career choices of Oxford graduates switched to the professions: the City, law, medicine, politics.

Now, it appears, they are changing again. Inspired by Mark Zuckerberg — who dropped out of Harvard to found Facebook — many of today’s Oxford undergraduates hanker to be entrepreneurs. And they take their ambition very seriously. In a packed room in the bowels of Keble College, you could hear a pin drop as Remy Kesrouani, a partner in Calibrate Management, an investment company, described the ten things that start-up businesses most often get wrong. He had two pieces of advice for undergraduates who fancy themselves as Oxford’s answer to Mr Zuckerberg. One student who came to him pitching for investment for his start-up business was so excited that he quit his degree, he said.

Mr Kesrouani’s advice was to go back to university. “Education is a massive plus, especially at a place like Oxford,” he said.

Second, he reminded students that London is not Silicon Valley — if you get a chance to pitch to investors, ditch the jeans and trainers and wear a suit and tie to be taken seriously.

The meeting was one of hundreds organised by the Oxford Guild Business Society, which claims to be the world’s largest student society.

When the guild surveyed 2,000 student members in 2011, their most popular career choices were consulting (22 per cent) and banking (20 per cent) with entrepreneurship cited by just 4 per cent. Last year, it repeated the exercise with 4,000 respondents. Consulting was still the top choice of 30 per cent, but 16 per were attracted to entrepreneurship and only 10 per cent to banking.

By Greg Hurst, Education Editor

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