Animal Dynamics: Oxford University spinout raises £6m

| Beauhurst

Animal Dynamics, a spinout from the University of Oxford’s Zoology Department, has released company filings indicating they have just raised £6m in equity finance. So far this round has not been announced in the press, though past investors have included the University of Oxford Innovation Fund (managed by Parkwalk Advisors and Oxford University Innovations) and Oxford Technology. Kindred Capital, a London VC unit, are listed as owning a 15% stake on their 2018 annual report. This is the third equity finance round the company has undergone. More funding may follow.

Incorporated in 2015, Animal Dynamics was founded on the research of Adrian Thomas, Professor of Biomechanics at Oxford. Through this, the company hopes to transfer mechanical designs from animals into artificial machinery, such as drones or other propulsion systems. They currently have three designs under prototype, going by the names of Skeeter, Stork and Malolo.

Their most developed idea, an unmanned aerial system (essentially a drone) based on the flight mechanism of a dragonfly, has been undertaken in collaboration with the Ministry of Defence. This project started in 2015, and could well have been what spurred their commercialisation with the support of Oxford University Innovation. In 2016 the Government released a large lump sum of R&D funding to develop “futuristic technologies”, some of which reportedly went to Animal Dynamics.

The UK’s broader drone sector is nascent. In 2017, it saw just £7.6m in equity finance, making Animal Dynamics one of the best funded startups operating in this sphere, alongside Sky-Futures.

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