Cambridge on the map as Google scouts tech startups
Innovative Cambridge startups with potential to scale globally are being targeted by US technology giant Google as part of a UK initiative this summer.
Google is inviting entrepreneurial businesses from Cambridge and other UK tech hotspots to bid for places at its space for startups – Campus London – for an intense and potentially rewarding initiative in August.
Google mentors will also be coming to Cambridge later this month to cement its interest in the cluster; more details are promised in due course.
Google has already paid big money for two companies based on Cambridge IP both in the Artificial Intelligence (AI) sector – Photonic Arts and DeepMind Technologies.
The latter features in the Cambridge Computer Laboratory’s hall of fame and was acquired by Google for $400 million in 2014 and since rebranded as Google DeepMind. Google legend Larry Page is said to have led the negotiations.
Amazon and Apple have also made more recent acquisitions in the Cambridge AI sector. Apple paid up to $100m for VocalIQ, a fledgling speech recognition company in the city.
Microsoft recently paid $250m for SwiftKey, an AI business started by two Cambridge University graduates. And Amazon snapped up voice recognition company Evi for a reported $26m.
It is estimated that US power players have already spent more than $1bn on Cambridge AI technology and the segment remains the hottest show in town.
For its Campus Exchange venture in London, Google is supporting 10 UK startups keen to go global and pledging to back them through the scale-up process.
The chosen startup founders will have access to bespoke support with insights from experienced mentors and investors and connections to a global community of successful entrepreneurs; providing a unique opportunity to learn and grow with the best.
‘Campus Exchange’ focuses on full immersion for founders – with fast tracked introductions to key players in the London tech community. Past graduates of the programme have gone on to Silicon Valley-based programs and secured major growth capital.
Applications are now open, with the residential programme set to start on Monday August 22. Ahead of applications closing, on July 29, Google mentors are on the road meeting startups across the country.
With sessions in Cambridge, Liverpool, Newcastle, London and Edinburgh startup founders who think big are encouraged to apply. They can register to attend 30 minute 1:1 sessions, covering topics ranging from ‘Analytics’ to ‘User Onboarding’, with specialists in Tech, Marketing, Sales and Data, on hand.
Francesca Dean, head of programmes at Campus London, said: “Amazing ideas can come from anywhere and there is incredible entrepreneurial talent across the UK.
“Pooling this talent with the knowledge and expertise of our international community of entrepreneurs, puts Campus London in a unique position to help propel the best startups to global scale.”
Google’s London community – which includes designers, developers, founders, and investors – is now 60,000 strong with members from 159 countries. Just last year, Google organised more than 1,493 mentorship hours between Googlers and entrepreneurs and members have raised £50.4m in funding, creating over 1,000 new jobs in 2015 alone.
Startups interested in taking part can apply for Campus Exchange at Campus.co/bestofbritish