Cambridge entrepreneur Mike Lynch – his former lieutenants from Autonomy at his side – is revelling in his reincarnation as a superangel and reveals to Business Weekly that a number of exciting technology plays are on the team’s radar.Dr Lynch says it’s like the good old days as the UK-based team deals with “fascinating” opportunities free of bureaucratic garottes.
And he discloses that naivety swept him to global success with Autonomy after he stumbled into life as an entrepreneur.
Dr Lynch gave an exclusive insight to Business Weekly ahead of a lecture he is giving in aid of the charity, Wallace Cancer Care, at the Hauser Forum in Cambridge on Thursday, September 6. He will talk about his business experiences in the third of the charity’s ‘Innovations Lecture’ series.
Tickets are now on sale and Dr Lynch’s candour should guarantee a sell-out.
Dismissing speculation that he intended to start a ‘new Autonomy’ or buy back augmented reality business Aurasma from HP, Dr Lynch said: “Autonomy is fine at being Autonomy. There are plenty of other fascinating areas of technology that are catching my interest.”
Dr Lynch built Autonomy from Cambridge University IP to global greatness and a multi-billion dollar sale to HP last year. But he left the business soon after Autonomy’s senior management team had walked out complaining of suffocating red tape within the US organisation. He has now founded a new UK-based fund that is vetting international technology propositions.
Dr Lynch said: “It has been great to be back with the old team again - it's a bit like the old days without some of the more tedious and bureaucratic aspects of the job. I've had the opportunity to exchange ideas about new and interesting technologies and look ahead to explore the bright new stars of the industry.
“There is a huge amount of new and exciting technologies out there - in the area of augmented reality, genetics, imaging, devices and mobile for example - which demonstrate the huge potential yet to be fully unleashed into the world. A lot of new research and innovation is creeping out of the patchwork.”
Dr Lynch disclosed that he “didn't actually set out to become an entrepreneur. I was obsessed with technology from a young age, however, and the impact that technology has on the world. Being an entrepreneur came along as a product of that obsession.
“My big advantage was that I didn't really know what I was doing. That naivety allowed me to start things that, had I known more about the machinations of running a business and the multiple hurdles that go with it, I probably would never have embarked upon. As I have moved forward, I have tried to put that naivety to good use.”
What has been the highlight of his business career? “Working with many amazing people over the years and being at the centre of massive technological change. It is a very exciting time to be working in this sector.”
And the low spot? “Like many people, I used to naively assume that the stock market and the media were there to make things work better and support businesses.
“While the vast majority do serve this purpose, there is unfortunately a tiny minority who don't really care about the reality or truth, who have their own separate agendas and are basically up to no good. Dealing with that tiny minority is draining.”
After the Mike Lynch lecture on Thursday September 6, attendees will get the chance to talk with the speaker over a glass of wine. All proceeds will go to the Wallace Cancer Care centres at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, where superb round-the-clock care is given to sufferers and their families.
• PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: Mike Lynch