A capital investment fund company, founded by Cambridge University in partnership with other investors, has raised capital of £75 million in anticipation of an IPO flotation. This is a major success story for continuing investment into technology and healthcare innovative startups in the Cambridge region. The IPO was oversubscribed, a sure sign of the strong interest in both the ever-growing technology sector, and in the major ongoing success of the University’s initiative in commercializing its own research and expertise.
Cambridge Innovation Capital plc, established in 2013, is a commercial investor into technology and healthcare ventures associated with the University of Cambridge and its associated technology cluster – the Cambridge Cluster. The University’s purpose in setting up the Cluster was to provide opportunities for longer-term growth investment to local technology and healthcare ventures. The Cambridge Cluster itself dates back to the 1960s, when the University decided to offer its expertise commercially to local technology firms, and the Cluster then grew rapidly after the Cambridge Science Park was founded in 1970. The Cambridge Cluster is now the largest technology cluster in Europe.
CIC is the most recent addition to this long-term partnership between the University and technology firms in the Cluster. As Cambridge University’s preferred investor, CIC works in close partnership with Cambridge Enterprise, which promotes research and innovation in industry and government institutions. CE also assists the University’s students and staff to establish their own spin-out companies with seed-fund investment support of up to £500K, commercializing the University’s research, expertise and innovative ideas. CIC then steps in with further funding, to help ensure continued success.
Originally set up with an investment of £50 million in growth capital, CIC is proving extremely successful, and has so far invested over £30 million in 13 new companies. This is bolstered further by £70 million in co-investment. With the addition of the £75 million raised in advance of the flotation, CIC will now have some £95 million to invest in the fast-growing technology sector centered on Cambridge University and the Cambridge Cluster. The new funds will support fresh investment opportunities, as well as providing more funds for the businesses CIC currently supports.
In a press release, CIC Chief Executive Officer Victor Christou commented that the newly raised capital “will enable CIC to continue to support exciting IP-rich companies and…work very closely with the University of Cambridge and our network within the Cambridge area”.
CIC’s original shareholders in 2013 include the hedge fund Lansdowne Partners, technology group ARM Holdings, which manufactures the chips for iPhones, the University of Cambridge Endowment Fund and IP Group plc, which all contributed additional funds to the anticipated flotation. New investors welcomed on board include Woodford Investment Management, Winton Ventures and the Oman Investment Fund. The University, which owns some 30% of the company, is still CIC’s largest shareholder. The University intends the CIC IPO flotation to take place in the next 12 to 18 months.