To take advantage of the burgeoning life sciences and technology finance system in the UK metropolis, Cambridge Innovation Capital has raised its largest round of funding ever.
CIC has collected $225 million to invest in early-stage start-ups working in fields ranging from cell treatments to quantum computing, bringing its total property under management to $1 billion.
Andrew Williamson, a managing associate, said Cambridge had reached a level of research and invention he had only previously seen in Silicon Valley.
Everyone you meet at a child’s soccer game or formal dinner is involved in some aspect of commercialization or innovation. “It’s reaching the point where it’s consuming itself.”
Having A Huge Tech and Huge Pharma is A Venture Opportunities!
When it comes to big companies providing a knowledge base and joint venture opportunities, Williamson says this has been an issue up until recently.
The expertise in synthetic intelligence, antibodies, and cell and gene therapies that Cambridge has now attracted both Huge Tech and Huge Pharma has been a boon to the university.
On the same street, he is a Microsoft, Amazon, Samsung, and AstraZeneca employee. “Our offices are on Station Road,” he said.
Cambridge’s life sciences environment is more developed than Oxford’s, which demonstrated its biomedical prowess by developing the Covid-19 vaccine. They form part of the so-called “Golden Triangle” with London.
The spherical received almost half of its capital from UK funds, with investors from the US, the Middle East, and Asia also participating.
According to Williamson, the company is getting more interest from UK investors, despite legislative impediments for pension funds, such as limitations on fees that inhibit active management, which he thinks will soon be lifted.
“We’re keeping up the pressure on legislators to see that it gets done this year,” he said. In the following stages, the additional de-risked scale-up rounds, “I believe we’re going to access fairly considerably more UK pension fund cash rapidly.”
Venture Capital Funding in Cambridge
Since 2017, venture capital funding in Cambridge has roughly doubled every two years, according to Beauhurst, a Cambridge-based information platform. In 2021, companies raised £1.5 billion in finance, of which £800 million was invested in later stages.
For the most profitable start-ups, CIC focuses on “sequence A” funding, which is the first important round of venture capital investing. However, some of its limited partners have joined in later rounds.
A large portion of the college’s investments is based on intellectual property generated by faculty members. For the duration of its contract, which expired in 2033, it had the right to participate in future follow-on rounds to increase the size of the spinouts.
In addition, two accelerators managed by CIC help start companies in the “deep tech” and “life sciences” fields, such as artificial intelligence and advanced electronics.
It was noted by Williamson that a viable area for the city would be the intersection of AI and life sciences, such as using machine learning for drug discovery.
If you live in a university-centric city like Cambridge, it’s a given that this kind of cross-fertilization will happen “naturally,” he said. “In the pub, an AI professor meets a drug discovery professor.”
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