£50m fund launched for Cambridge University startups

A £50 million investment fund has been set up to assist Cambridge University based technology startups and early stage companies.

Cambridge Innovation Capital [CIC] will attempt to invest up to £50 million in university spinouts as well as early stage technology firms in the next three years to help startups in those tricky early years.

“Many good companies have to spend too much time fundraising, leaving them with less time to focus on running their business. CIC will work with angel and other long-term investors to bring innovative technologies to market and help build world-class businesses,” said Edward Benthall, CIC’s non-executive chairman.

The backers include lead investors Invesco Perpetual and Lansdowne Partners as well as the University of Cambridge Endowment Fund, ARM Holdings PLC and IP Group, which took an eight per cent stake earlier this week for £5 million.

Benthall is part of a board of directors that is led by Peter Keen, co-founder of Merlin Biosciences and includes Mike Muller, CTO of ARM and Tony Raven, chief executive of Cambridge Enterprise. The project has the full support of the university itself and will work closely to make sure it’s a success.

“The university benefits society through the pursuit, dissemination, and application of knowledge. Today we are furthering that mission by partnering with experienced investors, innovators and managers to help the early stage technology companies of today become the great businesses of tomorrow,” said Cambridge University vice-chancellor, Sir Leszek Borysiewicz.

“With the launch of CIC, the university and our co-investors are taking an important step in supporting the continued economic growth of the region and the country,” he added.

Cambridge has the enviable accolade of being home to over 1,500 high tech companies with a dozen of them achieving the distinction of being valued at over $1 billion [£630 million]. The companies cover a wide range of different industries and employ some 54,000 people.

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