City revealed as world leader for science-led tech

The Cambridge tech ecosystem now has a combined value of $191 billion, representing 18% of the entire UK’s tech ecosystem and more than Spain and Italy combined, according to new analysis by Dealroom

The report for Founders at the University of Cambridge underscores the innovation taking place in Cambridge as the city cements its reputation as Europe’s deep tech leader.

Cambridge riding high

Cambridge has always been a tech and science powerhouse, pioneering breakthrough technologies such as AI and IVF. Dividing the total Enterprise Value of companies founded in Cambridge by VC dollars invested reveals that the city has outpaced both the rest of the UK and London, in delivering value from venture capital invested. Cambridge has produced 16.9x in value for every dollar of VC investment, significantly ahead of the UK (5.4x) and London (4.8x).

Much of this innovation has taken place in the University of Cambridge which is the number one science hub in Europe, as well as number one on the continent for producing valuable spinouts. In addition, more Cambridge alumni have raised over $10M on per capita basis – more than any other European university (505), ahead of Oxford (410) and Ghent (223). Cambridge alumni founders have started notable companies including Hermann Hauser (Arm), Stewart Butterfield (Slack), Demis Hassabis (DeepMind) and Tessa Clarke (Olio).

Cambridge is a force in the scientific and technology world and for good reason, with the university producing more valuable spinouts than any other in Europe and more successful alumni founders. It’s particularly strong in technologies such as quantum computing, AI drug discovery and semiconductors, as well as life sciences, which are some of the most in-demand sectors for funding and development at the moment. The city needs to ensure it can harness its deep tech expertise to remain top and keep producing category-defining companies in the future.

Yoram Wijngaarde, founder of Dealroom

Cambridge is a powerhouse of innovation thanks to its combination of groundbreaking entrepreneurs, forward-thinking scientists, research institutions and investors and this data proves that. But we can’t rest on our laurels, we have to ensure that the next generation of venture scientists have the support, mentorship and funding to build the Arm or DeepMind and that is what we are hoping to achieve with Founders at the University of Cambridge.

Gerard Grech, Managing Director at Founders at the University of Cambridge

Since joining Xampla as CEO, I’ve witnessed the transformative power of the Cambridge ecosystem including its vibrant community of innovators and world-class resources. Beginning as a University of Cambridge spin-out, Xampla’s journey to scale-up has been enabled by our supportive investment partners, including Cambridge Enterprise Ventures. Cambridge is not just a place of learning; it’s a springboard of creative innovation, that has enabled Xampla to commercialise its products at scale, ready for the global stage.

Alexandra French, CEO, Xampla

Founders at the University of Cambridge Start Investor Demo Day

The new data on Cambridge’s tech ecosystem is released ahead of the first Investor Demo Day for the Start Accelerator programme by Founders at the University of Cambridge, a transformational initiative supporting and accelerating University founders to achieve greater impact. Eleven early-stage deep tech companies with a strong connection to Cambridge have completed the 12-week accelerator which included access to up to £2 million in investment jointly contributed by the University of Cambridge, through Cambridge Enterprise Ventures, and investment partner Parkwalk Advisors, intensive mentoring with their own dedicated entrepreneur in residence (EIR), free co-working spaces at ideaSpace and priority access to lab space at Babraham Research Campus, along with support from additional mentors and investors.

Our eleven Start 1.0 cohort companies are developing solutions to target some of the world’s most pressing challenges, from next-generation therapeutics to lithium-sulphur batteries and a platform for the early detection of Alzheimer’s.

Pitching to a room of over 200 investors eager to find out more about their ground-breaking solutions, the cohort joined a line-up of speakers including University of Cambridge Vice-Chancellor Professor Deborah Prentice, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Innovation Dr Diarmuid O’Brien, Dealroom founder Yoram Wijngaarde. A panel session moderated by Bloomberg technology columnist Parmy Olson brought together leaders and founders from Xampla (Alexandra French), 52North (Umaima Malik Ahmad) and Riverlane (Rebecca Simmons) with Phoenix Court’s Saul Klein for an in-depth discussion.

video play icon
Founders at the University of Cambridge Demo Day Round Up

Founders Start Accelerator 1.0 Cohort 

The eleven start 1.0 cohort companies are:

  • AetoSense – low-cost and high-accuracy indoor air quality monitoring sensors 
  • BioTryp Therapeutics – dividing bacteria to end overreliance on traditional antibiotics 
  • BravelyCultured – using proprietary technology to replace petroleum-based products  
  • Cambridge Vision Technology – early detection of Alzheimer’s  
  • Molyon – next-generation lithium batteries  
  • Nanomation – building computer vision software for the semiconductor industry  
  • Orbit – using non-invasive nanotechnology to transform mental health treatment 
  • Protonera – digesting plastic with sunlight  
  • VOLTQUANT – fixing the UK electricity grid to enable Net Zero  
  • William Oak Diagnostics– developing effective testing for micronutrient deficiencies  
  • Xterna – targeting bio-molecule therapy