We value team above all else because it is driven by individuals that effect change. Businesses at the early stage need inspirational, capable, tireless, creative, and experienced individuals to allow them to take flight. Without the team, there is usually very little there.
We focus hard on products because we think that great products that advance the state of the art can reshape or make markets. Great products have in-built sales and marketing capability and in-built retention. People might come for the pitch but they stay for the value the products bring.
Last but not least, we focus on markets because, in order to build large and valuable companies, we need them to be attacking or creating large and valuable markets.
We first invested, shortly after launch, due to clear early evidence that the product was meeting an unmet need in the market. Farmers traditionally find accesses capital difficult and long-winded, even though agriculture is the industry with the lowest default rate in the UK. We recently doubled down on our investment as part of the £20m round that Oxbury announced here because we see more and more compelling evidence that they have the three pillars of team, product and market sorted.
The team is led by James Farrar and Nick Evans who founded the business. They are both seasoned entrepreneurs and experienced leaders and they know the market they are gunning for inside out. They have built a team now of over 100 people hand-picked from the industry for their skill in all areas – technology, sales, compliance, account management and more. The capacity and organisational maturity that this team brings is outstanding for a company of Oxbury’s relative youth.
While we always believed in the strength of the product, evidence is mounting up that illustrates the clear establishment of product-market fit. Win rates, customer satisfaction, rate of reduction in sales cycles, prospecting are all high and rising and the pipeline of business is expanding at an increasing rate.
On the market side, the long term macro continues to require a financing product such as the one that Oxbury has built. Farm consolidation continues, subsidies now require capital investment in order to access them, there is mounting pressure to shift to sustainable methods of production and (unsurprisingly) farming continues to be seasonal. Against this backdrop, short-term drivers are also emerging – inflation is rising and so too are input costs. This exacerbates the seasonal cash flow cycle and underscores the need for a product like Oxbury Farm Credit.
The combination of all of the above is extraordinary. It looks likely that Oxbury will reach the milestone of £0.5bn lent well within two years of launch and £1bn lent well within three. The embedded advantage of the full banking licence and what that means for cost of capital is now repaying the investment made in the regulatory process in multiples. The proprietary tech platform that Oxbury has built is allowing it to achieve operational efficiencies miles beyond its competitors. This allows farmers to access loan capital quickly, efficiently and with limited pain or disruption to day-to-day operations.
We are delighted to work with the team and a co-investor group that includes Wheatsheaf, Frontier, Hutchinson and many notable individuals from the UK agriculture market. We want to invest in teams, products and markets and we love it when they can have a positive impact. Creating impactful systems that help to solve world hunger and reduce the negative impact of agriculture on the environment is a crucial pillar of our investment thesis. Oxbury is working for the benefit of farms and farmers and we can’t wait to see what the team will do as they continue to pursue that mission with fresh capital.