Huge technology investors to speak at Cambridge

An unprecedented range of tech-related events are happening on campus this term, reflecting Cambridge’s leading role in global technological disruption


Rivalling Harvard: Investors behind The Tab, Deliveroo, Facebook and ‘Silicon Fen’ to speak at Cambridge this month

Cambridge has recently been attracting some of the largest investments in the technology world.

At a rare event, some of the world’s major investors, behind both Silicon Fen and Silicon Valley, will speak this month to students. This represents one of an unprecedented range of tech-related events on campus this term.

It seems Cambridge may finally be catching up with Harvard and its tech-savvy student body, where at least one Computer Science module is taken by most undergraduates and the most desirable jobs are seen to be tech ones.

From DeepMind, the Cambridge Artificial Intelligence start-up, acquired by Google, to the sale of ARM, the Cambridge chipmaker, for $32.4bn to the Japanese, Cambridge’s ‘Silicon Fen’ is at the forefront of global tech.

Start-ups only a few years old are attracting huge valuations. In 2017, SoftBank injected $500m into Cambridge virtual reality start-up, Improbable. Darktrace, a cyber security company founded by mathematicians from Cambridge in 2013, is valued at almost $900m; for context, that is one-fifth of Sainsbury’s market value.

The investors behind such start-ups – a.k.a. ‘venture capitalists’ – have strong ties to the city, yet rarely speak at the University.

On February 23rd, a panel of leading venture capital investors and entrepreneurs will offer their perspectives on investing in and forecasting technology trends from artificial intelligence to the sharing economy, at an event at Gonville and Caius College.

The speakers are from venture capital firms which have been early investors in SoundCloud, Depop, Deliveroo, Facebook, GoCardless, Skype, MySQL and the companies which built the foundations of the Internet economy. An initial cash investment of $54 million in one of these became a payout of $6.5 billion within six years.

They have also invested in The Tab and are active investors in Cambridge’s ‘Silicon Fen’.

This follows other disruption-related events this term. Maria Raga, the social app and retail tool Depop’s CEO, spoke this week to Cambridge Women in Business. And the Judge Business School recently held an event on Artificial Intelligence & Entrepreneurship with Hans-Christian Boos, Founder and CEO of Arago, backed by private equity investors including KKR.

Other tech-related highlights this term include Amazon, coming to campus for the first time on February 15th. Amazon has just opened its AI research lab in Cambridge and its office in the city will be the heart of Alexa and drone innovation. Finally, a range of Cambridge start-ups will be meeting students at a Careers Fair later in February.

To attend or submit a question for the panel for ‘Investing in Disruptive Technologies: Venture Capital Panel’, Friday 23 February at 18:30–20:00, follow this link.