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Cambridge Future Tech to start sister VC arm following $5m raise

By: Mike Scialom

Published: 09:20, 06 June 2024

Deeptech venture builder Cambridge Future Tech (CFT) is setting up its own VC arm after closing after raising $5million in its latest finance round.

The Bradfield Centre-based company, honoured last month in the Cambridge Independent Science and Technology Awards, was established in 2020 with a unique hands-on approach that bridges the gap from lab to market, spinning out cutting-edge tech from universities and corporate research groups to create market-leading ventures.

Cambridge Future Tech co-founders Xavier Parkhouse-Parker, COO, left; and CEO Owen Thompson at The Bradfield Centre. Picture: Keith Heppell

Cambridge Future Tech is managed by co-founders Owen Thompson, CEO, and COO, Xavier Parkhouse-Parker. Ventures are guided from pre-incorporation to pre-seed, and supplied with the tools - financial, digital, knowledge, connections -they need to succeed. Portfolio companies include Mimicrete, NeuroXR, autopickr, CamAI and GitLife.

The strategy is geared to unlocking the UK’s tech potential ahead of a crucial period which requires a significantly more coherent national industrial strategy - as do other nations. However the UK is underperforming in its own unique way, ranking fourth in the Global Innovation Index as a centre for research, but currently rated only 24th for commercialisation of this research. This has resulted in vast amounts of innovation remaining moribund within research labs.

The Cambridge Future Tech team Picture: Keith Heppell

Since inception CFT has co-created 10 deeptech ventures across the UK with several more in the build phase. Its support for early-stage ventures has generated more than 80 highly-skilled jobs and raised more than $10m in external funding. The ventures have been awarded $4.5m in grants, underpinning vital research and development efforts.

Dr Ghina M Halabi, programme lead at Cambridge Judge Business School Entrepreneurship Centre, said: “Cambridge Future Tech’s latest successful round is a powerful endorsement of their bold vision and steadfast commitment to deeptech innovation.

Cambridge Future Tech was Highly Commended in the Start-up of the Year category at the 2024 CI Science and Technology Awards 2024, sponsored by Kao Data. Picture: Keith Heppell

“By fostering a diverse and inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem, especially supporting women founders, they are not only driving cutting-edge advancements but also ensuring that the brightest minds are empowered to solve the tough problems facing our world today.”


CFT will build an additional eight ventures each year with their corporate partners. Recent projects have involved AngloAmerican plc, and a partnership with CERN – the Swiss home of the large hadron collider. In April two more NEDs joined the CFT board – Michael Beer had roles at Citigroup and Bear Stearns, while Jem Davies is an Arm fellow and previously general manager of Arm’s machine learning business.

Cambridge Future Tech was a double winner at the 2024 Cambridge Independent Science and Technology Awards. Here they collect the IP prize from Amritjot Jethwa, commercial and intellectual property solicitor at sponsor Appleyard Lees. Picture: Keith Heppell

The new $5m funding will bolster CFT’s venture building activities, gearing the next wave of deeptech innovation for enhanced global impact. Working with leading universities and tech transfer offices, CFT expects to co-found eight new companies in 2024 – ahead of its target to co-found a further 40 deeptech ventures within five years.

Mr Thompson said: “This investment is testament to the huge and growing significance of deeptech start-ups for the national industrial strategy, supporting the UK's ambition to bridge the critical gap between scientific discovery and market-ready innovation as a science and technology superpower.

“Cambridge Future Tech is poised to continue expansion with our corporate and academic partners, with the long-term stability needed to begin the creation of a sister VC arm, further strengthening our venture building capabilities.”


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