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17 March, 2020 - 13:26 By Tony Quested

Cambridge sees 35 per cent increase in VC investment in 2019

Cambridge is one of Europe’s fastest growing European technology cities, with an increase of 33 per cent in VC investment into digital tech companies from £380m in 2018 to £500m in 2019, new figures from Tech Nation reveal.

Cambridge is also one of the leading cities in Europe when it comes to robotics investment and development with £411m in total funding in 2019. 

The search for talent to drive technology capability has driven up the median digital technology salary in Cambridge to £39,000.

In a related development, rare disease drug pioneer Healx and Cambridge neighbour BenevolentAI, which is unlocking the power of scientific data to make more effective drugs, have been named in Tech Nation’s Future Fifty 8.0 programme.

Across the East of England as a whole, the region attracted £800m total VC investment in 2019. Between 2015 and 2019, £998m was invested in emerging tech in the region with £486m pumped into AI ventures. Scale-ups and new unicorns abounded locally over the same period.

There has been widespread praise for both Healx and BenevolentAI which join Tech Nation’s Future Fifty 8.0 programme for late-stage tech companies in the UK. 

This is regarded as Europe’s longest serving and most successful programme for late-stage tech companies, with nine IPOs and 30 mergers and acquisitions in its cohort.

Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “Cambridge is home to one of the world's top universities and has a hugely talented workforce so it's no surprise the East of England has become a thriving technology hub and secured more tech funding than many major European capitals.

“We are determined to create the conditions digital businesses in Cambridge need to succeed. Right across the country we are investing £5 billion in gigabit speed broadband, 5G, cyber security, digital skills, research and development.”

Thea Goodluck, Entrepreneur Engagement manager, East of England for Tech Nation added: “The Tech Nation report 2020 findings show the East of England tech scene is thriving. Close to £1bn has been invested in emerging technologies in the region between 2015 and 2019 and it is exciting to see the three emerging sectors identified in the report as Agritech, Cleantech and Healthtech. 

“Emerging technologies and sectors are visible and growing across the region as a whole, with Cambridge producing incredible AI and healthtech scaleups, Norfolk and Suffolk leading the way on agritech and cleantech, and Essex having a vibrant digital creative and AR/VR presence. 

“Local unicorns such as Darktrace and CMR Surgical are providing high value, highly skilled jobs in the area and I’m delighted to see Healx and BenevolentAI join our Future Fifty 8.0 programme for late-stage tech companies.”

Poppy Gustafsson, CEO for EMEA at Cambridge-based Darktrace, said: “It is fantastic that the UK stands as one of the top three countries investing in AI globally. 

“The lifeblood of brilliant technology companies is access to capital and great talent, and Britain has both of these ingredients. Darktrace is a fantastic example of Great British AI proving itself fundamental in solving one of the society’s greatest challenges.

“Thousands of organisations around the world are using this technology to fight back on their behalf to protect their critical data and systems from crippling cyber-attacks.”

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