The Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones VentureSource are tracking venture-backed private companies valued at $1 billion or more. See here how the unicorn club has expanded and select companies to learn more about each.
The report lists numerous relevant actors, such as Cambridge Consultants, Cambridge Science Park (founded in 1970 by Trinity College), St John’s innovation centre (founded by St John’s College in 1987) and financiers such as Hermann Hauser that helped a nearly uncountable number of firms to grow and florish. Not to mention the numerous events and occasions where people meet informally and exchange ideas.
Succesful Cambridge companies include names such as Acorn Computing, Sinclair Research, Aveva, ARM and Autonomy. According to a recent WIRED article Cambridge has produced not less than 12 firms whose market capitalisation exceed $1bn. Probably most prominent is ARM. Founded in 1990, the semiconductor and software design company grew to become a multibillion valued competitor of Intel. Actually, by today its processors quasi dominate the markets for mobile phones, smartphones and tablets.
The University of Cambridge recently announced that it had pulled together partners to set up a £50 million fund called Cambridge Innovation Capital (CIC) for financing university spin-outs. Despite the impressive investment sum, the interesting aspect of the concept is that the fund intents to support entrepreneurial ventures with a long term return perspective so that young firms can hold the breath long enough to pass the „valley of death“.
I recently learned that three Cambridge graduates (St. John’s) invented the Smoothie and started Innocent in 1999. Well done! Although, the multi-million dollar sale to Coca Cola made the founders rich, it might not give you real credits for being a healthy business.
Last year, the University of Cambridge invested almost £2.3 million in university spinouts. Read more here how the university manages its funding, the available funding vehicles and which firms received the money.