The Cambridge UK technology cluster has the potential to develop a new clutch of $10 billion companies, entrepreneur David Cleevely told Prince Andrew on the royal’s visit to the city today.Using the new Cambridge Cluster Map – for which Business Weekly is media partner – Dr Cleevely told The Duke of York that attracting the right investment could take Cambridge to the next level of global greatness.
Dr Cleevely was hosting HRH at an informal gathering of Cambridge technology angels and dignitaries. Prince Andrew also visited globally successful companies Abcam and Ubisense.
Dr Cleevely said it was time to recognise the size and importance of Cambridge as the UK’s leading hi-tech cluster – and to dispel the myth of small-scale geeks. “Cambridge produces very large world-class companies,” he said.
“We need to promote the potential of Cambridge more aggressively. Cambridge can produce many more $10 billion companies with the right investment.
“We've got many of the ingredients: a can do culture, the supportive networks, world class technology in hi-tech, bio and engineering. We need more promising companies in the £50-£200m range with potential for fast growth. And we need more of these now.
“Seeing more companies about to make the transition into the £50-£200m value range will persuade big-hitting investors to cross the Rubicon and help make that happen?
“The Cambridge Angels are working well with DFJ Esprit, Imperial Innovations, Amadeus and some others. There's reason to be optimistic we can get a healthy financing ecosystem here.”
Sticking his neck out, Dr Cleevely ventured that of the current crop of startups and young players, Cambridge Communications Systems, Horizon Discovery – and maybe Phico Therapeutics – have this kind of potential – although admittedly they are a long shot. Meeting with the angels was just one stage of a three-step Cambridge technology parade for Prince Andrew.
The Duke’s tour of Abcam was part of a larger visit showcasing Cambridge as a high-tech cluster where the combination of the University, flexible funding sources and existing know-how can foster the growth of world-class companies.
He met Abcam’s founder and CEO, Dr. Jonathan Milner and Jim Warwick, Abcam’s chief operating officer who gave an overview of Abcam’s origins from the University and recent global developments.
Prince Andrew received a tour of Abcam’s operations and production facilities. This included an overview of storage facilities for Abcam’s new product types and the processes that ensure fast global delivery of products to researchers worldwide. The tour finished with a visit to the product development manufacturing facility where Abcam undertakes extensive testing of its products to ensure they are the highest quality for customers.
Jim Warwick said: “The Duke’s visit comes at an exciting time for Abcam as we take huge strides towards becoming the world’s leading supplier of life science research tools. His Royal Highness was shown how improved operations and product development manufacturing processes enable Abcam to efficiently serve their global base of customers in more than 130 countries.”
The Duke also visited recent Queen’s Award double winner, Ubisense, which specialises in smart location technology.
He was hosted by Ubisense chairman, Andy Hopper and chief executive, Richard Green and briefed on the background to Ubisense’s rapid growth and its journey from engineering research labs to becoming a global market leader.
He saw how Ubisense real-time location solutions are transforming the way in which some of the world’s biggest and most complex production facilities are controlled.
He heard how Ubisense has delivered some of the world's most sophisticated geospatial projects, to help utility and telecom customers to transform the way they plan, design and manage their network assets.
Richard Green said: “We are honored to welcome The Duke of York at our headquarters. We have found Cambridge to be a terrific place from which to build a global business focused around the manufacturing and utilities industries.
“We are delighted that His Royal Highness has such a keen interest in our industry, and to be able to show him why 94 per cent of our revenues are generated overseas from some of the most successful corporations in the world.”