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7 March, 2011 - 15:19 By Staff Reporter

Funder profile: Cambridge Angels


The Cambridge Angels are a group of high-net worth investors who have proven experience as successful entrepreneurs in technology and bio-technology. Members invest in and mentor high quality start-up and early-stage companies in these sectors, mostly in the Cambridge UK area, although they are interested in investment opportunities elsewhere in the South of England.

Typical funding requirements that the Cambridge Angels meet are in the range of £50,000 to £500,000 - although several of its portfolio companies have received more than £1m in funding from members over several funding rounds.The Angels have been responsible for a large number of the Cambridge Phenomenon success stories over recent years. In addition to providing funding for early-stage companies, the Cambridge Angels also offer start-ups the considerable benefit of a wide range of expertise, contacts and directly relevant experience in establishing and growing entrepreneurial businesses successfully. The Cambridge Angels are active Angel investors, which means that they participate directly in the ‘entrepreneurial process’ by advising start-up companies at the strategic level, whilst also leveraging their network of contacts to remove bottlenecks at an operational level.There are currently more than 30 full members of the Cambridge Angels, nearly all of whom are successful former entrepreneurs. They value their confidentiality so no list of members is ever made public. Successful investee companies have included Abcam plc, Alphamosaic Limited, ARM, Bango, CSR, Chiroscience, E*TRADE Financial Corporation, FORE Systems Inc., Globespan/Virata, Interactive Investor International (iii) and many others.

Exited investments 

The following companies continue to progress but are portfolio companies that have already been ‘exited’ from an investor’s perspective – Bango plc, Daniolabs, 3waynetworks.

Current Portfolio

AlertMe - The Cambridge smart metering company closed a £15 million second round funding in October 2010. Existing investors Good Energies, Index Ventures, SET Venture Partners and VantagePoint Venture Partners each followed their first round investment and were joined by a new strategic investor and commercial partner – British Gas. As part of this strategic investment British Gas signed a commercial agreement worth over £20m based on technology delivery to deploy AlertMe products and services to its customers in the UK. British Gas now holds a seat on the board. The fundraising is allowing AlertMe to expand its partner and channel program in the UK, Europe and the US and further extend its platform, services, analytics and ecommerce proposition.

Altacor- www.altacor-pharma.comCambridge-based Altacor, founded in 2007, announced in February 2011 the closing of the second tranche (£1.9m) of a £3.4m equity fund raising led by Clive Austin of NVM Private Equity and including Enterprise Ventures (through its RisingStars Growth Fund) and Beringea, an existing investor. The first tranche which closed in the autumn 2010 was led by Esperante and included The Aspire Fund (managed by Capital for Enterprise Ltd), eight other existing Altacor investors and four further angel investors. Dr Fran Crawford (CEO) welcomed the broadening of the shareholder base and said that it reflected confidence in Altacor’s strategy to build a European ophthalmic speciality pharmaceutical company. Altacor is building a portfolio of differentiated ophthalmic products to be launched over the short to medium term in addition to the already marketed Clinitas range of treatments for Dry Eye. The company is also pursuing a number of its own proprietary development projects, principally in glaucoma and ocular infection. the company’s chairman is serial MedTech entrepreneur, Dr Andy Richards.

Azuro - www.azuro.comAzuro is an electronic design automation software company selling software tools to design digital semiconductor chips. The company's unique technology makes chips faster, reduces chip power and dramatically accelerates chip time to market. The company was founded in 2002 and has completed over 100 tapeouts since launching its first product in 2005. Azuro is headquartered in Santa Clara, CA with R & D in Cambridge UK and is privately held.

Cambridge Temperature Concepts - www.temperatureconcepts.comCambridge Temperature Concepts (CTC) is a start-up company founded by a group of scientists from the University of Cambridge in 2006. The team at CTC have developed their first product, the DuoFertility fertility monitor, in order to help couples start their families. DuoFertility utilises the latest technology available to provide couples with a very accurate way of monitoring their fertility, while at the same time being convenient to use. Unlike traditional methods, there is no need for a woman to wake early or ‘pee on a stick’ in order to check when she is at her most fertile. Instead, a simple stick-on sensor is worn continuously under the arm and a hand-held reader provides the user with the relevant information whenever it is required. DuoFertility has proven to be remarkably effective with couples suffering even from extensive fertility difficulties, with a study of 99 women who had either been through IVF or were IVF candidates showing that six months using DuoFertility is as effective as a cycle of IVF. The company was named in March 2011 as the champion of Europe in Qualcomm’s coveted global QPrize competition.

Cambridge Theranostics - Theranostics (CTL) was founded in 2002 as a spin-out from Cambridge University, following the discovery of ALOA (Atherogenic Lipid-Oxidising Antibodies) by its founder Dr Petyaev. It is privately funded. The company continues to have a very strong research focus and now owns 10 granted patents in Europe, USA, Eurasia and Japan the US, with a further 18 applications pending. It also conducts clinical studies with partners in Europe, US and Russia. CTL develops specially formulated supplements to provide the correct doses of nutrients in a form that is effective. Its scientists investigate the mechanisms by which nutrients prevent disease and develop highly effective formulations. Together with its clinical partners, CTL confirms that the nutrient reaches the correct part of the body and is active.


Cambridge Radio Frequency Services develops and supplies innovative, integrated real-time spectral monitoring and signal analysis systems targeting the burgeoning markets of regulatory, homeland security and defence. The company’s chairman is veteran telecoms entrepreneur, Dr David Cleevely and CEO is Alistair Massarella. Before founding CRFS, Alistair previously co-founded the radio telecomms companies Adaptive Broadband Limited and Cambridge Broadband Limited. The company is now in the throes of global expansion in the UK, the US and further afield, with Asia on the radar. Two recent product upgrades have further extended the company’s technology capabilities and enhanced the proposition to international clients. Its technology has certainly hit a sweet spot in the United States where respected campaigners such as Maine Senator Olympia Snowe, are driving regulatory reform. CRFS is recruiting at its European headquarters in Cambridge and looking for additional space. It is also looking to expand into the US and set up an office – possibly in Washington – to better exploit one of the most dynamic regulatory regimes on the planet. CRFS is also seeing major opportunities for expansion in Asia and Australasia.

Enval - www.enval.comEnval’s technology closes the recycling loop for laminated packaging waste. The company is commercialising waste recycling and environmental technologies that can recover clean aluminium from packaging waste such as toothpaste tubes. The recovered aluminium can, in turn, be resmelted. Twenty customers worldwide are testing Enval’s technology, which provides the first alternative to dumping such waste in landfill. In Europe alone, Enval could treat an estimated two million tonnes of waste per annum which would otherwise be sent to landfill.The technology has already earned co-founders Carlos Ludlow and Howard Chase the Materials/Chemistry category award in the pan-European ACES competition designed to recognise the best academic entrepreneurs from all technology disciplines.  A spin-out of the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Cambridge, Enval completed an environmental research study for Unilever to provide a cradle to grave life cycle analysis of Unilever’s global supply chain in toothpaste production. The results are helping to inform Unilever’s global strategic packaging design decisions.

Phonetic Arts - www.phonetic-arts.comIn 2010, Google acquired Phonetic Arts, a Cambridge tyro specialising in speech technology that was only founded in 2006. Business Weekly gave the company its first major exposure saying it ‘could be talking millions as it cashes in on its incredible surge to fame as a games industry superstar.’ A little over two months on and Google added the mightiest endorsement. Phonetic Arts launched its first product in October 2009 but rapidly built an impressive client base including global giants Sony, Ninja Theory and EA Sports. Its PA 2010 product suite allows for the creation of synthetic voices capable of delivering any sentence in a natural, expressive way, allowing computer games to adopt any type of voice.

Trutap Ltd - Limited operates as a mobile social network company. It offers instant and group messaging, profiles, blogging, and photo sharing services, as well as news and downloads, including games, sports, celebrity news, horoscopes, and ringtones. Trutap Limited was formerly known as Hotxt Limited and changed its name in July 2007. The company was founded in 2004 and is based in Cambridge.

Ubisense - www.ubisense.netUbisense is the world leader in Precise Real-Time Location Systems and geospatial consulting, tracking people and assets with unmatched accuracy, and giving enterprises the power to bring visibility and control to previously intractable business processes. With over 500 customers worldwide, Ubisense is revolutionising industries today. At the time of writing in March 2011, it was every leading analyst}s top tip for an impending IPO. In November 2010, Ubisense raised £5m through a share placing to fund expansion. The fundraising was led by Canaccord Genuity, which arranged for a number of new investors to participate alongside existing shareholders in the placement. Notable clients include BMW, Aston Martin and Airbus while major international contracts in the rail sector were due to come online in spring 2011.

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