Based in and focused on Cambridge, CIC is in a unique position to access Europe's largest entrepreneurial ecosystem
The city of Cambridge’s development has been intertwined with that of the University of Cambridge for over 800 years. The University of Cambridge is ranked consistently as one of the top five universities in the world and can lay claim to 107 Nobel prize winners, more than most countries and any other institution. Over 85 per cent of University of Cambridge research groups are characterised as world-leading or internationally excellent by the 2014 Research Excellence Framework and the University sits at the heart of Europe’s leading, and what is considered by many to be most successful technology region, the Cambridge ecosystem.
As well as being the crucible of many world-changing ideas, the University is also home to Europe’s most successful technology innovation system. Many of the University’s discoveries have been transformed into significant commercial products such as Humira, the anti-arthritis drug and Solexa’s gene sequencing technology.
The University’s pioneering spirit radiates into the surrounding area. Over the past 50 years the University has played a central role in establishing and growing the Cambridge ecosystem. Trinity College established the UK’s first ever science park in 1970 and this was followed by St John's Innovation Centre in 1987. These ground-breaking events have engendered a proliferation of similar developments such that there are now more than 20 research parks surrounding the city.
Cambridge's focus on facilitating innovation has fuelled expansion in and around the city, and, along with a constant flow of innovation, staff and graduates from the University to companies in the area, has driven the associated economy. The ecosystem has grown from 20 companies employing 100 people in 1978 to more than 4,700 high tech companies employing more than 60,000 people and turning over more than £13 billion per annum.
This growth is expected to continue with Cambridge predicted to be the fastest growing city in the UK over the next decade according to the CEBR. A number of significant developments in the area are underway to accommodate this expansion including: the 150 hectare expansion in North West Cambridge; the development of a further 90 acres at the Cambridge Biomedical Campus to create the International Healthcare Village with AstraZeneca plc as cornerstone tenant; and the CB1 development in the heart of the city.
The Cambridge ecosystem has also produced several specialist technology consultancies and a large community of successful local entrepreneurs and angel investors that not only provide ongoing support to the ecosystem but are also instrumental in guiding the next generation of Cambridge businesses. CIC benefits from the experience of many of these successful individuals through their presence on the Scientific Advisory Panel.
Many local companies have had successful trade sales and others have been or continue to be listed. ARM, Autonomy Corporation, CSR, Domino Printing Sciences and Cambridge Antibody Technology Group all achieved trade sale values in excess of $1 billion and Abcam, Aveva Group and GW Pharmaceuticals each have a market capitalisation of over $1 billion. World-leading companies, such as Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft and AstraZeneca, all have research and development centres in the Cambridge ecosystem to tap into its innovation and talent.
The Cambridge ecosystem has developed a substantial seed and early-stage investment network. Angel organisations such as Cambridge Angels and Cambridge Capital Group take an active role in creating and supporting seed stage ventures, as well as the University, through its seed funding activity managed by Cambridge Enterprise. However, there has been a shortage of long-term, later stage funding within the area. Providing a trusted source of such locally available funding was the principle behind the foundation of CIC.