The Cambridge Angels investment group has made a significant move to engender more collaboration between the UK technology clusters of Cambridge and London – doubling funding opportunities for startups at a stroke.
It today revealed an initiative tagged ‘Cambridge South’ – a reference to a new play in the UK’s capital – whereby it will hold an April investment meeting at King’s Cross.
It is likely to be the first of many Cambridge Angels-Tech City events designed to catalyse a fast train to growth.
Cambridge Angels co-founder and chairman, David Cleevely, stressed that it was a collaborative move rather than a foray into perceived ‘enemy’ territory.
He told Business Weekly: “Cambridge Angels will be seeing presentations from both Cambridge and TechCity. This is the first of what we hope will be a series of bridge building initiatives between Cambridge and London – pooling expertise and funding from both centres.
“Only 46 minutes away, it takes far less time to get between King’s Cross and Cambridge on the electrified line than it does to cross London. It's time we took steps to electrify startups and funding in these two prime territories.”
Dr Cleevely disclosed the venture after chairing the launch of Cambridge Business Week, opened by Business Secretary Vince Cable.
He said there needed to be much more inter-cluster collaboration across the UK to leverage the funding muscle and brainpower of the collective for the good of Britain’s economy.
Cambridge MP Julian Huppert later revealed that Dr Cable’s department had agreed to promote the Cambridge technology cluster alongside Tech City in the BIS department foyer.
LEP representative Alex Plant had urged parity for Cambridge having seen the promotion of Tech City on a recent visit to the BIS offices, but no mention of Cambridge.
Huppert told executives attending a lunch with Dr Cable at the new HQ of leading law firm Mills & Reeve: “Dr Cable has agreed to put Cambridge up there in lights alongside Tech City at BIS.”
Dr Cable, who also visited Cambridge superchip designer ARM, as well as RealVNC, stressed the importance of the Cambridge technology cluster to the health of Britain’s economy.
He said: “If this country is to get out of the mess it’s in, then innovation will be the key. Half of the country’s economic growth is down to innovation.”
Dr Cable had earlier told an event at TWI to launch Cambridge Business Week that the figures showed Cambridge was the greatest technology cluster in the UK. He praised Julian Huppert’s efforts to promote the Cambridge cluster.
Dr Cable and Huppert both said it was vital to ensure that companies in the cluster – and across Britain generally – solved a skills crisis that threatened to stifle their expansion.
Huppert said he has persuaded the UK’s Immigration Minister, Mark Harper, to follow Dr Cable’s trail and visit Cambridge. “If any companies are facing skills issues and can only solve those by importing workers from overseas then we need to get that on the Cambridge growth agenda,” he said.
• PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: Vince Cable at Mills & Reeve’s Cambridge HQ