Oxford VR scores £10m in Series A

The round was led by Optum Ventures, with support from Luminous Ventures and previous investors.
By Leontina Postelnicu
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Left to right: Barnaby Perks, CEO of Oxford VR, and Ash Patel, Optum Ventures principal; Credit: Oxford VR

British firm Oxford VR has secured £10 million in a Series A funding round led by Optum Ventures, with support from Luminous Ventures. Existing backers Oxford Sciences Innovation, Oxford University Innovation and GT Healthcare Capital Partners also participated.

WHAT THEY DO

Oxford VR, a spinout from the department of psychiatry at the University of Oxford, was founded in 2017. It builds on two decades of research by clinical psychology professor – and its chief clinical officer – Daniel Freeman, looking at the potential of VR in creating automated psychological treatments.

Since then, the company has forged a number of partnerships in the UK, Asia and the US.

Last year, it announced that it would work with gameChange, a project funded by the UK's National Institute of Health Research, on a multi-site trial testing its VR therapy treatment for psychosis.

It also unveiled the launch of its treatment for mental health conditions in Asia through a partnership with AXA Hong Kong and the Chinese University of Hong Kong in an initiative dubbed ‘Yes I Can’.

In the US, the spinout set up a strategic partnership with the National Mental Health Innovation Centre, founded at the University of Colorado in 2016, where it is running similar trials that use its VR therapy treatment programmes.

WHAT IT’S FOR

With the new money, Oxford VR is set to accelerate its expansion in the US.

The firm, which previously raised £3.2 million in funding back in 2018, said it also planned to grow its treatment pipeline.

MARKET SNAPSHOT

A number of companies in the health tech space are employing the use of VR. Oxford Medical VR, FundamentalVR and Health Scholars are some of the players looking at education and training.

Californian company Karuna Labs, on the other hand, develops personalised VR programmes for chronic pain management. It secured $3 million in seed funding last September.

ON THE RECORD

In a statement, Oxford VR founding CEO Barnaby Perks said: “Together with Optum Ventures and Luminous Ventures, and with the continued support from our existing investors, we can expand our clinical leadership footprint and accelerate our pipeline of automated VR therapy treatments.”

Ash Patel, principal at Optum Ventures, who will be joining the company’s board of directors, added: “We believe Oxford VR's solutions will benefit those who need access to high quality, effective cognitive behavioural therapy.”