Apple, Amazon, Microsoft and Spotify – it reads like a list of Silicon Valley giants, but most would be surprised to hear that these big hitters all have operations in the small UK city of Cambridge. Known worldwide for its legendary university, Cambridge is now also making a name for itself as a tech hub, rivalling Silicon Roundabout as the UK’s leading centre of innovation. We take a look at some of the companies driving tech and R&D excellence in the Fens.
Address: Platinum Building, St John’s Innovation Park, Cambridge, CB4 0DS
Following the recent NHS attack and reports of outside interference in the US presidential election, cybersecurity is a hot topic. With the Internet of Things set to define the coming generation of tech, it has never been more important for businesses and authorities to get a handle on internet-based threats, as physical safety is soon to be on the line. Darktrace, a cyber-defence firm, is out to meet this growing need. The company monitors the networks of client organisations, looking out for unusual activity so as to be able to monitor cyberattacks as they happen. This allows the system to warn clients to take evasive action, and it also allows the company’s AI to learn how and when to take automatic action to avert threats.
Raspberry Pi Foundation
Address: 30 Station Road, Cambridge, CB1 2JH
Inspired by the great names of Cambridge University computing innovation such as Acorn Computers and Sinclair Research, Raspberry Pi was developed by computer science researchers as a simple and affordable way to teach coding and programming basics. The Raspberry Pi Foundation has now been spun out of the university, and produces the stripped-down, single-board computers for supply to schools and institutions in developing countries unable to afford more advanced hardware.
Address: 330 Cambridge Science Park, Cambridge, CB4 0FL
An early internet pioneer, Abcam began life as a platform to make it easier for researchers and scientists to buy antibodies online. The company now supplies immunoassays, peptides, proteins and protein-detection products to laboratories and research institutions across the world. Founder Jonathan Milner has been hailed as a ‘rockstar’ biotech entrepreneur. He remains on the board at Abcam, but stepped down as CEO in 2014 after 16 years at the helm in order to focus on his passion for angel investing. He now advises a range of startups in the biotech and life sciences fields, and retains close links to the Cambridge tech scene.
Address: 110 Fulbourn Road, Cambridge, CB1 9NJ
Heralded as one of the most widely used tech products in the world, ARM chips can be found in everything from Apple iPhones to car dashboards. Indeed, in 2014 it was estimated that 60% of the world’s population touches a device powered by an ARM chip every single day. This stalwart of the Cambridge tech scene now has offices on four different continents, but retains its HQ in the city where it was founded. Sales recently leaped when it was announced that 25% of ARM’s business is to be spun-off into the revolutionary SoftBank Vision Fund – an investment fund aimed at helping the next generation of tech firms and innovations come to fruition.