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10 November, 2021 - 21:15 By Tony Quested

Cambridge is world’s top hub to build DeepTech, says entrepreneur

Innovators trying to build and scale DeepTech companies have been told that Cambridge is the world’s best place to launch and succeed – even ahead of much-vaunted centres like San Francisco.

The endorsement comes from Ewan Kirk, chair and founding investor of the recently launched Deeptech Labs, a Cambridge-based VC accelerator backed by the University of Cambridge, Arm and Cambridge Innovation Capital to scale deep tech companies.

Kirk is perhaps best known for founding Cantab Capital Partners, a prominent science-driven quantitative investment management firm. He grew the Cambridge-based investment firm from a standing start to more than £4.5 billion assets under management (AuM) by 2016.

As part of the intervention, Kirk says he believes that Cambridge is set to carve out a unique role for itself as the global centre of innovation in DeepTech, beating other world-leading innovation hubs such as San Francisco.

Kirk predicts that Cambridge will become a global leader in the field because of its unique blend of business, investment, and academic talent, with emergent DeepTech companies in Cambridge tackling some of the world’s biggest challenges, like climate change.

He said: “Cambridge is already globally competitive in many industries, but it has more potential than any other city to become the world leader in deep tech.

“The University, its research output and rich talent pool, combined with the existing companies and networks in the area, make Cambridge perfectly poised to pull ahead of other world cities in the field.”

Kirk is chairman of The Isaac Newton Institute at the University of Cambridge; he was recently appointed to the board of BAE Systems and founded The Turner Kirk Trust, which has disbursed more than £7 million in funding to STEM, education and conservation causes in the UK and developing world.Unlike other startups,  DeepTech businesses are built on difficult breakthroughs in fundamental science and engineering research, requiring significant amounts of R & D investment and new groundbreaking academic research.

Kirk adds: “As the DeepTech industry grows, business leaders should set their sights on Cambridge as the ideal place to scale their companies. DeepTech will be vital in addressing global issues, from climate change to future healthcare crises, and Cambridge will be at the epicentre.

“Cambridge has countless entrepreneurs, leading researchers and a community perfect for driving innovation. The tech industry around the city has exploded over the past 20 years and recently become a breeding ground for DeepTech by extension.

“I’m predicting this growth will continue, due in no small part to Cambridge’s unmatched environment for budding DeepTech startups.”

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