An elite band of US venture fund managers and investors are joining innovative UK companies, entrepreneurs and VCS in a visit the University of Cambridge on Monday, July 30 to promote investment in Britain’s technology sectors.The US/UK Financing Innovation conference aims to highlight the quality of British companies, the UK research base and encourage financial backers to get behind these innovative SMEs. It will also bring investors together so that UK fund managers can build links with their US counterparts.
As part of the conference, delegates will visit Cambridge to learn more about the innovation activity taking place at the University and throughout the Cambridge Cluster.
Cambridge is Europe’s most productive technology cluster, having produced 10 companies valued at more than $1 billion, and two (ARM and Autonomy) valued at more than $10 billion.
The vast majority of the more than 1,500 companies in the cluster are connected to the university in some way: they are either based directly on University research, are founded or staffed by Cambridge graduates, or work collaboratively with university researchers to find solutions to business problems.
Many of Cambridge’s hottest young companies and established success stories will be taking part, including ARM, Cambridge Temperature Concepts, Horizon Discovery, Ubisense, BlueGnome, RealVNC and Raspberry Pi.
Speakers will include Professor Lynn Gladden, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research), Professor Christoph Loch, Director of the Judge Business School and Professor Andy Hopper, head of the Computer Laboratory.
The conference also provides an opportunity for talks between the US and the EU’s biggest capital markets on the future of venture capital and how to deliver good returns for investors and support high growth businesses during challenging economic times.
Closer links between UK and US venture capital communities were discussed by President Obama and Prime Minister David Cameron during the President’s state visit to the UK in May 2011, and the conference is the first sign of this closer collaboration.
The UK/US Financing Innovation conference is led by BIS and UKTI with sponsorship from ARM holdings and the Silicon Valley Bank, and the close involvement of other key organisations: The British Venture Capital Association and the US National Venture Capital Association, NESTA, Technology Strategy Board, Capital for Enterprise, the Tech City Investment Organisation, the Royal Society and the University of Cambridge.
Also on Monday, Cambridge entrepreneur Sherry Coutu will unveil the beta version of the new Cambridge Cluster Map, designed to promote the city to a world of new business.
The groundbreaking web resource charts a path to fresh trade & investment opportunities from international organisations. It is the first ever digital showcase of the Cambridge technology cluster and contains an incredible array of graphics and metrics.
Business Weekly is media partner and global entrepreneurship icon Hermann Hauser, an adviser to the project, hails it as a trailblazer. He said: “Anything that attracts new business and investment to Cambridge has to be applauded and supported. Sherry Coutu has put together a high-class consortium of partners for this philanthropic venture.
“The web resource breaks new ground for Cambridge and could lead to some exciting international collaborations and trade opportunities for Europe’s most innovative cluster. It will certainly further the Cambridge cachet on the world stage.
“We may not be able to compete with Silicon Valley in terms of scale but this project shows that we are a match for the best in the world when it comes to enterprise.”
• PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: Professor Christoph Loch