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Cambridge Innovation Capital (CIC) [2021]

Finance and Risk Capital

Impact for scaleups


UK companies backed


Follow-on investments


Investments outside London


Growth stage investments

Key sectors

Engineering / Advanced Engineering Healthcare Life Sciences & Biotech

Newly endorsed by the ScaleUp Institute in 2021, Cambridge Innovation Capital (CIC) backs world-leading life sciences and technology companies with an affiliation to Cambridge. It was founded in 2013 by the University of Cambridge to create a trusted local firm that would provide early stage capital to promising life sciences and technology businesses emerging from the university – for which it is a preferred investor – and the Cambridge ecosystem. With two universities, multiple leading research institutes, 109 Nobel Prize winners, and R&D departments of over 60 multinational businesses, Cambridge has generated 17 billion-dollar businesses, three of which have been valued at over $10bn.

In April 2019, it announced its £275m venture fund to invest in disruptive, deep-tech businesses in sectors such as AI, IoT, quantum technologies, autonomous systems, therapeutics, medtech/diagnostics, digital health and genomics/proteomics. CIC has committed £170m of these funds to 30 deep tech and life sciences companies, deploying funds in 2020 into four new and 12 existing portfolio companies. The portfolio includes one company valued in excess of £1bn. Notable scaleups that CIC has supported include CMR Surgical and Congenica.

CIC has worked closely with stakeholders in the ecosystem – such as the Babraham Research Campus, endorsed by the ScaleUp Institute – to establish new accelerators, such as Start Codon (founded in 2019) for life sciences and healthcare businesses which aims to speed up the process of going from “bench to product” and offers investment, mentoring and access to research infrastructure including laboratory space. CIC has also helped to establish, and co-owns, the DeepTechlabs accelerator for technology businesses, providing hands-on support to bridge the gap between translational research and ‘Series A’ ready businesses. Cambridge Innovation Capital will benefit from pre-emption rights in companies participating in the accelerators.

Its team brings to its portfolio companies deep domain and operational expertise from its past experiences as entrepreneurs, scientists, operators and investors. The team takes a hands-on approach including board participation, business planning and development, executive recruitment, commercialisation and scale up.

It has been endorsed as an exemplar of how universities and financiers can collaborate to support their scaleup communities.

Cambridge Innovation Capital (CIC) [2021] website