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15 November 2016

Cambridge seeds a record $6.6m in startups

Cambridge Enterprise, the university’s tech transfer office, invested 39.5% more in seed financing this year, and added three members to its team.

Author: Nicole Idar Lee, reporter

Cambridge University committed a record £5.3m ($6.6m) in seed fund investments in 2015-2016, a 39.5% increase over the previous year, driven by higher deal flow, the university said on Thursday.

Cambridge University’s tech transfer office Cambridge Enterprise approved 14 investments,

Among these were digital health management app Healthera, which scans prescription labels, calculates medicine schedules and reminds users about their next pharmacy visit, and Psyomics, a spinout working to develop ways to improve treatment, diagnosis and prevention of neuropsychiatric disorders.

Other investee companies include industrial technology firm 8power, a developer of smart sensors used to monitor machinery in sectors like automotive, transportation and utility infrastructure, and PervasID, a spinout working to improve the reliability and reach of passive radio-frequency identification (RFID) systems so that RFID-tagged files can be easily found.

Anne Dobrée, head of seed funds at Cambridge Enterprise, said the amount invested this year reflects the increase in deal flow as the number of high-quality submissions has risen.

With more assets to oversee, the seed funds team is also adding three members – David Holbrook, who has 18 years’ experience with life sciences spinouts, Elaine Loukes, who has worked in early-stage tech investment since 2001, and Tania Villares Balsa, who spent more than six years in Spain’s venture capital sector, investing in tech spinouts from universities and research centres.

The university’s Enterprise Fund, created in 2012 to stimulate economic growth, is now in its fourth year, and has invested £2.15 million in seven companies in over seven months. UCEF V will be launched at the end of 2016.

In June, Cambridge Enterprise took the top international spot in a ranking of firms by return on investments that was compiled by deals database Pitchbook, reporting a distributed-to-paid ratio of 2.86.

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