More money for Cambridge

The Cambridge University Challenge Fund is joining forces with some of the UK’s leading Venture Capitalist firms to provide greater commercial opportunities for the University’s researchers.


The new entity, to be known as Cambridge Venture Partners, comprises the Challenge Fund together with the 3i Group, Amadeus Capital Partners, Avlar BioVentures, IDG Ventures, Porton Capital and TTP Ventures.


It is anticipated that early-stage businesses, set up to exploit University innovations in technology, will reap huge benefits, as will the Cambridge Venture Partners’ players.


“We have many opportunities to make early investments with a range of promising research projects at the University, in order to help the teams develop their commercial potential,” explains Bill Matthews, fund manager at the University Challenge Fund.


“Bringing in additional funding via Cambridge Venture Partners will enable a business to develop more quickly and so realise its potential in a shorter time. Once the University’s investment has reached its maximum, the Partners would then have the opportunity to lead later investment rounds.”


There are a number of Challenge Funds across the UK, each associated with a leading University, but this is the first time that one of the Funds has joined forces formally with established Venture Capitalists in order to provide a further boost to early stage university spin-outs.


“Cambridge Venture Partners will supplement rather than substitute University funding,” continues Matthews.


“The benefits of this extra early funding from the University – which has been extremely successful in spotting winners – means that businesses can be sustained by sufficient venture capital to optimise their chances of getting to market and contributing to the UK economy.”


The University of Cambridge Challenge Fund has provided early investment to a range of successful spin-outs including Smart Holograms, Metalysis, DanioLabs, Cambridge Semiconductor, Hypertag and genapta.


The Cambridge University Venture Fund is part of Cambridge Enterprise, bringing together the University’s existing commercialisation activities performed by the Technology Transfer Office, the University Challenge Fund and the Cambridge Entrepreneurship Centre, in one new organisation. Its purpose is to improve the support available to the academic community to make their ideas and concepts more commercially successful for the benefit of themselves, the University, and the UK economy.