OneStart | Blog
Statistical Breakdown of OneStart 2016 Applications

Daniel Perez CEO, Oxbridge Biotech Roundtable (OBR) and Jess Sutcliffe Marketing and Communications Director, OBR

OneStart continues to engage early-career healthcare entrepreneurs on a global scale receiving 750 applications, more than any previous year. For OneStart Europe this was marked by the arrival of Continental Europe and Asia-Pacific. In the Americas stream, the United States remained dominant but growth came from outside the traditional biotech hubs.

Engaging early-career healthcare entrepreneurs globally

A key facet of OneStart has always been the emphasis placed on early-career entrepreneurs. Reinforced by the 3 simple eligibility requirements:

  • The idea must have the potential to positively impact human health
  • Founders must be 35 years or younger
  • Companies may not have raised more than $250k in dilutive financing

OneStart’s mission is to catalyze early-stage innovation in healthcare. Our 2016 startups exemplify the full gamut of human health from therapeutics, to diagnostics, devices and digital health – with a near perfect distribution amongst those product categories.  

Moreover, the age distribution of our founders was biased towards the late-20s to mid-30s, with an average age of 28 years old. The majority of our founders are either nearing the completion of their PhDs, in the early stages of their post-doctoral careers or new entrants into industry.

Our thesis at OBR has been that in order to advance human healthcare, we must tap a global talent pool to access the most promising innovation. To that end, we’re thrilled to see that our OneStart startups came from 53 different countries. There are no surprises, of course in the biggest contributors. But (as seen later in this article) the biggest growth came from outside the top-3.

Connecting academia and industry to move ideas forward

The mission of the OBR has been to connect academia and industry together to move ideas forward. OneStart has continued to be the world leader in tapping the most promising academic opportunities for commercial development.

Over 80% of the startups applying to OneStart are being spun out of universities globally.

*OneStart Europe accepts applications from all regions except North & South America

OneStart Europe’s growth – powered by the Continent and APAC

While OneStart Europe has been open to all countries (sans North & South America) for two years now, it has historically been overwhelmingly dominated by Her Majesty’s United Kingdom.

So while the number of applications from the UK has doubled since 2014, and it continues to be the dominate source of entries for OneStartEurope, its relative contribution has shrunk from a high of 90% in 2014 to 37% in 2016. But as Great Britain’s startup count flat-lines, the rest of the world is beginning to make significant gains.

In particular, India and Italy increased their startup count by 8x and 5x, respectively. Meanwhile, in 2015 Australia surged from nowhere to have 14 OneStart entries (and remarkable success of Eira Biotech), and then followed up their performance by more than doubling again in 2016 to 31.

Indeed, from Spain to Switzerland, from Germany to Denmark and Singapore – OneStart EU was characterized by countries doubling and tripling their entrepreneurial enthusiasm for healthcare.

Indeed, perhaps the most impressive count is that of Singapore. With just 5.4M people (far less than the Bay Area) this City-State-that-could, well regarded for exceptional science, had 21 startups apply to OneStart. This was by far the largest submission per-capita of any region bar Boston, Cambridge UK, or Oxford. Signaling an unequivocal arrival of One North to the leaderboard of healthcare entrepreneurship.

Though your friendly neighborhood OneStart team is perhaps most proud (for different reasons) of two key stats: the rise of India and Continental Europe.

India is long known for their supremely talented diaspora that have populated (and are increasingly leading) departments at the world’s top academic institutions and life science concerns. India also had the greatest gain in OneStart entries of any country this year. The OneStart team is thrilled to see so much enthusiasm for healthcare entrepreneurship on the Subcontinent.

In recent years, however, the OneStart team has had fantastic trouble engaging Continental Europe – especially when compared to our near effortless outreach to both Brits and Americans, who have for years embraced entrepreneurship as the story of our times. But we refused to become discouraged, and over the years we’ve continued to patiently engage the fantastic scientists creating the future across the Continent. To that end, your OneStart team is exceptionally incredibly proud to see such phenomenal growth across Germany, Italy, Denmark, Sweden and Spain. Though we’re still trying to figure out if there’s a French word for “entrepreneurship”. 

Golden Triangle dominance shows some cracks

While the rest of the world has made rapid gains, the sun has not set throughout the UK – indeed, if anything, it’s shine is now a bit more evenly distributed.

Mirroring OneStart’s difficultly engaging Continental Europe has been engaging the UK outside of the traditional innovation corridor of Oxford-Cambridge-London (the “Golden Triangle”). The Golden Triangle has consistently delivered over 3 out of every 4 of the UK’s OneStart startups. However, in 2016 UK entries from outside the Golden Triangle grew by half from 24% to 36% of the total.

This recent trend may best be explained by Her Majesty’s ever-restive northern subjects – with Scotland more than quadrupling their startup count in OneStart from a middling 4 in 2015 to 17 in 2016. (Though it should be noted that Wales, ahem, may need a bit more attention from your OneStart team in 2017). 

The United States expands their lead – but the engines of growth lie outside CA/MA

While the UK may be demonstrating a relative decline in its influence over OneStart Europe, the pace of innovation in the US is at an all-time peak. However, we appear to have saturated the market for startups coming from two leading hubs, California and Massachusetts. While the US increased by 22% (from 225 startups to 273), the growth came entirely from outside the Golden and Bay States. Indeed, all of the growth of OneStart Americas was powered by the Yankees, with Canadians taking a breather in 2016 and having fewer entries. 


In summary OneStart 2016 is the largest program to date. We hope to continue to encourage entrepreneurship at a global level and see these figure rise even further in 2017.