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Oxford University creates its 200th spinout company

09:42 10 November in Digital Technology, Europe, News, Oxfordshire, Talent and Innovation, Uncategorized

Oxford University, via Oxford University Innovation, has created its 200th spinout company based off academic research.

The new company PhishAR, will build on Professor Ivan Martinovic and Dr Ivo Sluganovic’s work from the Department of Computer Science. PhishAR will employ augmented reality and crack down on “phishing”. This is an online scamming technique that deceives users into handing over sensitive information such as digital security credentials.

PhishAR aims to help users identify fraudulent emails, websites or transactions using artificial intelligence to scan and analyse the information presented on screen to detect discrepancies such as used URLs. Its software will run on phones and augmented reality wearables.

The company has been accepted onto the Mastercard Start Path Programme to accelerate its development.

“Conventionally, service providers have been authenticating the end-user, which is a one-sided process, while the end-user struggles to know who they are communicating with, and this is what criminals are continuing to exploit, on an ever-increasing scale. PhishAR’s innovation is in using augmented reality and artificial intelligence to see through their user’s eyes and ensure that they are “authenticating the authenticator”. Before any credentials are provided, PhishAR checks who is requesting the users’ credentials. PhishAR is the only proven mechanism to allow the end user to authenticate and identify with whom they are communicating, and thereby dramatically reduce the risk from harmful phishing attacks while offering a seamless integration and minimal costs with existing authentication systems.”

Professor Ivan Martinovic, co-Founder of PhishAR


“These 200 companies are testament to Oxford’s research and its ability to have impact and underline our status as the world’s number one university. Through our innovation, we’re tackling the world’s biggest killers, we’re tackling the biggest challenges of our era, and we’re building the infrastructure for tomorrow’s world – all while creating jobs and economic impact. Oxford may be an institution with its roots deep in the past, but we’re demonstrating that we can also have a fundamental effect on shaping the future.”

Chas Bountra, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Innovation at Oxford University


Oxford University has been ranked first in the world in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings from 2017 to 2021. Oxford University is the oldest university in the English-speaking world, with teaching existing in some form since 1096. In the 20th and 21st centuries Oxford has expanded its core to a research capacity in natural and applied sciences, which has strengthened its international focus as a learning and intellectual debate forum.

Read more HERE.