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 98 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 Cluster.
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 Cluster. Starting in 1970 when Trinity College established the UK’s first ever science park, the Cluster has grown so that there are now more than 20 research parks in the area.
The focus on facilitating innovation has fuelled the growth of the Cambridge Cluster and, along with a constant flow of innovation staff and graduates from the University to companies in the Cluster, has driven the associated economy. The Cluster has grown from 20 companies employing 100 people in 1978 to more than 4,800 high tech companies employing more than 60,000 people and turning over more than £12 billion per annum.
This growth is expected to continue with the Cambridge area 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 Cluster 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 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 Cluster to tap into its innovation and talent.
The Cambridge Cluster has developed a substantial seed and early-stage investment ecosystem. Angel networks 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 Cluster. Providing a trusted source of such locally available funding was the principle behind the foundation of CIC.