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Cambridge University tech entrepreneurs secure UK’s #1 tech sector spot in Europe

Cambridge University’s spinout and technology founders have contributed significantly to the UK retaining the #1 tech sector spot in Europe according to a government report prepared by Dealroom for the Digital Economy Council.

In The Next Generation of Tech Ecosystems*, Cambridge is spotlighted as the No 1 university in the world for producing successful tech founders – with over 500 alumni founders raising more than $10 million in funding, ahead of Harvard and MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) in the US and Oxford University, which came in third with 410.

The report concludes that the UK tech sector not only ended 2022 as Europe’s leading technology ecosystem, but it also retained its No 3 global position as the main challenger to the US and China, despite a global backdrop of difficult economic conditions.

With its deep tech and science focus, Cambridge University runs the 12-week impulse programme specifically for technology innovators, offering opportunities for both entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship. Run as a mentoring programme, impulse leverages decades of deep science, tech research and expertise from top-tier entrepreneurs within the city’s expansive tech ecosystem – combining innovation with standards and values to finetune and bring on a new generation of Cambridge Phenomena.

Over the last six years, impulse undertakes its own research to validate its performance, and which shows that one in every other participant (49%) succeeds in transforming their game-changing idea into a commercial technology business. impulse’s illustrious alumni include the founders/co-founders/CTOs of the following technology successes:

• Riverlane – the high-profile quantum computing company secured $20m in Series A funding and opened US offices at the end of 2022
• Echion Technologies – world-leading supplier of niobium-based anode materials completed its Series A funding round for £10m in August 2021
• Xampla – the next-gen plastic startup has raised $12.2m over three funding rounds
• Semarion – the University of Cambridge spinout raised £2.14 in seed funding last year to commercialise its cells assaying platform
• HexagonFab – the University of Cambridge spinout closed a £1.9m seed round in April 2021 to launch analytical lab instrument, the Bolt
• Tenyks – the University of Cambridge spinout closed a $3.4m funding round to further develop its MLOps tools platform, which is helping machine learning engineers build better, safer AI
• Vector Photonics – raised £1.6m of equity investment to commercialise its unique, PCSEL-based, semiconductor laser technology.
The latest figures show that, since 2017, impulse alumni have raised over £134 million (£134,339,367) in funding and investments – of which over £110.8 million (£110,840,500) was raised through investments with business angels/venture capitalists, and nearly £23.5 million (£23,498,867) in grant funding, primarily through Innovate UK.

Those alumni responding to the survey also highlighted impulse’s top-tier mentoring as an important aspect of the programme, reporting that they found the input from and interaction with the mentors (80%) and the lessons with business experts (81%) either useful or extremely useful.

Three out of four (76%) added that they were still in contact with the connections they made on the course (mentors, business experts, peers and investors).

* Dealroom.co for the Digital Economy Council

About impulse
Based at the Maxwell Centre, University of Cambridge, impulse serves as a catalyst for entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship. The programme enables the development of high-potential technology innovation into a commercial proposition, for individuals and companies. It is an established action learning programme of global significance with a sharp focus on prioritising and developing high-potential business cases. The core of impulse’s approach is a network of passionate mentors and experienced entrepreneurs who act as role models and provide valuable guidance from this highly respected and unique Cambridge innovation cluster.