A report published today by Dealroom.co, on behalf of Tech Nation and The Digital Economy Council, has once again clearly highlighted the importance that the UK's regions play in Europe's Tech economy.
Today’s report compares the UK’s capital and its thriving regional cities with prominent tech hubs in Europe, to show how they measure up. Cambridge specifically is highlighted as a true tech heavyweight, having created as many $1bn tech unicorns as Paris, which is no easy feat when one considers the population of the former is estimated around 130k+ versus the French capital’s 2.24million (rising to 10 million+ in the suburbs).
This reputation is nothing new for Cambridge which is world renowned for its academia and research which has long since helped fuel its thriving tech sector. However, it is a timely reminder that the UK’s future proofing potential in the tech space extends far beyond the streets of Silicon Roundabout.
Key to today’s report is Cambridge based Darktrace, which provides leading artificial intelligence cyber defence to the likes of Raspberry Pi and power company Drax. It was founded in 2013 by a combination of mathematicians from the University of Cambridge and experts from MI5, GCHQ and the CIA. Elsewhere, chipmaker CSR and chip designer ARM have maintained close links with Cambridge University after they were acquired for £1.5 billion and £23.4 billion by Qualcomm and SoftBank respectively. Both CSR and ARM continue to hire engineering and computer science expertise from the university.
The report serves to highlight that thriving start-up communities, particularly focused around Cambridge and Norwich, provide the perfect conditions for talented entrepreneurs to develop ideas that can change the world.
Indeed, the latest venture pulse report from KPMG shows that companies in the region attracted venture capital funding of £291m in the second quarter of 2018. With a rich history of investment, going back to the original ‘Cambridge Phenomenon’ in the 1980s, many major funds are active in the region looking for the game-changing ideas of tomorrow, while experienced angel investors provide a network of support for the next generation of CEOs.
Hoping to help drive the next generation of Unicorns, Norwich-based Rainbird.ai is aiming to take some of the risk out of the business decision making process by marrying human and artificial intelligence. The company’s easy-to-use system allows experts to map their knowledge in a particular field, which is then turned into an AI engine that can analyse data and make complex decisions quickly and with a high degree of accuracy.
Supported by backers including Anglia Capital Group, Rainbird has clients that include major banks and credit card providers, and is now plotting an international expansion as well as working on its R&D capabilities.
"As we are seeking to grow our automotive business in Norfolk, the development of Technology Park combined with the link to the Cambridge Norwich Tech Corridor can only strengthen our local position which we welcome"
Aslam Farikullah, Group Lotus
"‘The Cambridge Norwich Tech Corridor shows real vision and I applaud the partnerships role in leading the development of this strategic economic development initiative"
Simon Coward, Hethel Innovation