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13 November, 2023 - 21:26 By Tony Quested

Pragmatic strikes oil as Saudi fund chips into £200m round

Pragmatic, the Cambridge company revolutionising the semiconductor industry, declines to comment on spreading reports that it is set to reap £200 million in new funding this month from M&G’s Catalyst Fund and Saudi Aramco’s investment arm.

Sky News broke the story and Bloomberg followed up but Pragmatic declined to comment when approached by Business Weekly; the growing company won two categories of our annual awards competition in September 2022.

There seems little doubt that the lion’s share of the capital is already in the bag. The haul will more than double Pragmatic’s investment pile to date, which stands at around $190m; this includes a $125m Series C round last December.

Asset management behemoth M&G has divisions on our patch in Chelmsford and last year contributed to a massive raise by Cambridge Innovation Capital, which is a relentless backer of DeepTech and Life Science Innovation.

Andrew Williamson, Managing Partner of Business Weekly Awards co-sponsor CIC said at the time: “Cambridge is one of the fastest-growing science and technology innovation ecosystems in the world. 

“Since our inception, CIC and our co-investors have invested more than £2 billion in sectors as diverse as robotics, semiconductors, genomics, gene therapy, therapeutics, liquid biopsy, artificial intelligence, and edge computing. 

“We are delighted to launch our new fund and to work with a dynamic group of entrepreneurs and investors to capture the full potential within the thriving Cambridge ecosystem.”

CIC is spearheading the new Innovate Cambridge initiative alongside the University and Cambridge Enterprise, the University’s technology transfer division.

Business Weekly understands that Pragmatic, whose current investors include Cambridge superchip architect Arm – now quoted on NASDAQ – has held discussions over a long period with UK Government departments without tangible success. 

Founder and former CEO Scott White, now an executive director with Pragmatic, sits on the Government’s Semiconductor Advisory Panel.
The company is expanding both in Cambridge and the UK’s North East and is keen to grow its manufacturing clout in America. 

The new funding could be the catalyst for Pragmatic remaining in the UK rather than defecting to the States which is keen to woo British chip champions.

• Saudi Aramco, officially the Saudi Arabian Oil Group, is a petroleum and natural gas company and the national oil company of Saudi Arabia. It is the second-largest company in the world by revenue and is headquartered in Dhahran in the eastern province of the country. Its corporate venturing arm is Aramco Ventures.

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