In the second event in the Deeptech Sandbox series we had experts from Cambridge startup ecosystem share their insights and ways that have led to success in the area.
Cambridge is one of the leading deep-tech startup ecosystems in the UK – with the highest rate of patent applications per head in the UK. The ecosystem has spawned at least 15 companies each with a realised price in excess of $1bn (trade sale or IPO – not untested private company valuations). Our guests from Cambridge gave an overview to Cambridge Phenomenon, investing into deep-tech teams and supporting startups with significant scientific advances.
The view on the development of the Cambridge Enterprise was brought to light by Brian Corbett, who has been in the industry for a long time. Brian is a serial entrepreneur with 40 years’ experience in high tech commercialisation in both start-up and large corporate environments and has developed a number of innovative start-ups and a notable achievement was the successful growth, and sale to Microsoft, of Entropic – a spin off from Cambridge University’s speech and robotics group. From Cambridge Future Tech, Dominika Soriano, the Venture Operations and Ecosystem Lead, talked about building teams in the deeptech venture builder, supporting the founders and keeping up with the whole ecosystem, bringing science to business.
Simon Thorpe from Cambridge Angels, a group of 60 high-net worth investors with a proven experience as successful entrepreneurs in tech and healthcare/life sciences and invest in and mentor high quality start-up and early-stage companies in these sectors in the Cambridge area and throughout the UK. Simon explained the success and operation mechanics behind the unique offering of the angel group with a broad range of expertise and hands-on early collaboration with VCs. During the 22 years of operating, the Cambridge Angels have invested £150m to 120 companies. and are currently operating a portfolio with 116 companies, 49% of which are women-led.
Rauno Miljand, managing partner of a venture capital fund Metaplanet explained what are the main drivers behind their fund and what type of founders they are looking for when investing into tech that supports human survival. Tõnu Esko, Professor of Human Genomics and senior management member at Estonian Biobank, representing Specialist VC, talked about investing into the deeptech companies, whether it is a money first business, how attract venture money into science-backed startups and the perspective of investing into high-tech companies.
During the group assignments, the attendees from universities, spinoffs, startups and venture capital funds brainstormed on different ways on how to attract early business focused co-founders to the university spin-off teams and how to get the Estonian university spin-offs get to the TOP 100 prospects to the VC founders. It was a day of fruitful discussions and plenty of ideas to help move the Estonian deep tech ecosystem move forward.
The event was organized by TalTech, Tehnopol Startup Incubator and EstBAN in cooperation with Startup Estonia.
There will be a #3 of Deeptech Sandbox, this time with guests and practitioners from Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands taking place on May 15-16. The event is free, but a registration is needed. Keep your eyes peeled and see you soon!