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11 November, 2011 - 14:20 By News Desk

Cambridge tech pioneers face acid test with Valley investors


Cambridge has been handed a golden opportunity to change the whole investment profile for the cash-starved UK CleanTech sector when Silicon Valley investors come to town next week.

Some of Cambridge UK’s hottest spinouts and startups are parading their prowess to US entrepreneurs and investors in the Silicon Valley comes to Cambridge showcase on November 18.

While they cover a range of technologies, there is a clutch of CleanTech plays at the heart of the Cambridge contingent and their need is clearly the greatest!

Only Enecsys and Amantys of the Cambridge CleanTech community have gained any significant funding to date and the segment is in desperate need of a major exit to whet the appetite of big-spending US backers.

Companies like Green-Tide Turbines, the tidal energy innovator, and ieaSpace company Alquist, which has a hi-tech temperature monitoring device which could help UK firms cut millions of pounds off their energy bills, will help fly the Cambridge flag.

There are several other Cambridge technology young guns aspiring to world class in the UK beauty parade for their American guests.

They include Autonomy spin-out Aurasma, the augmented reality company powering a new initiative for the UK Government involving Tech City.

A company Autonomy CEO Mike Lynch has been nurturing – David Excell’s Featurespace – is another one2watch. The young company is pioneering software based on behavioural analytics that is already being devoured by the online financial and gaming industries.

Featurespace is already profitable and reckons it can hit world dominance without the need to raise further finance. It has just gone into recruitment overdrive as it targets major expansion in Europe and the US.

Sophisticated Cambridge software which can detect sounds that signal crime or violence and alert security staff is also on show.

Audio Analytic, based at the ideaSpace Enterprise Accelerator, has developed software that can be used to trigger alerts when it recognises sounds as diverse as breaking glass – signalling a break-in – aggression in hospitals or prisons, and equipment failures in factories or cars.

Sherry Coutu, co-chair of the Silicon Valley comes to the UK (SVC2UK) chain of initiatives, wants the world to appreciate the quality of innovation in the Cambridge tech cluster.

She said: “Students, the Cambridge community and the world’s media have been given an extraordinary opportunity to meet these showcase companies to learn about the businesses started up in our amazing cluster.

“I want this to rival the ‘showcases’ being put on in TechCity. I want to show off what is here and inspire students to work for these companies or to start up companies like these. I want the media and the audience to marvel at the riches on display.”

Another terrific newcomer on parade is Arachnys, the Springboard Cambridge company that deals with business intelligence in foreign climes for corporates at risk in territories they are not familiar with.

Other companies and technologies include RealVNC, ViewRanger, DuoFertility (Cambridge Temperature Concepts), InputDynamics, quiqqa, Pneumacare, Fonleap, Knowledge Transmission, MagicSolver and PsychologyOnline, providing online psychiatry and counselling therapy to people with depression-related conditions.

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