Kings College, Cambridge.
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LONDON – British chip designer Arm co-founded a new start-up accelerator in Cambridge, England, to help young “deep tech” companies grow into the next generation of tech giants.
Widely regarded as the “crown jewel” of the UK technology industry, Arm co-founded the Accelerator, known as Deeptech Labs, with the University of Cambridge, private equity investor Cambridge Innovation Capital and venture firm Martlet Capital.
So-called deep tech companies aim to create new intellectual property by treading technological avenues to solve complex problems.
Adam Bastin, VP of Corporate Development at Arm, said in a statement that Cambridge “has remained a major hub for talent, creativity and innovation” since Arm’s earliest days in a barn just outside of town in the early 1980s.
“We are excited to be supporting the next generation of breakthrough technology companies by co-founding Deeptech Labs by giving them access to the world-class Cambridge technology ecosystem,” he said.
In exchange for a portion of the equity, typically between 5% and 20%, Deeptech Labs offers startups £ 350,000 ($ 495,000), access to a three-month development program and networking opportunities.
Miles Kirby, CEO of Deeptech Labs, told CNBC on Friday, “I’ve seen a lot of deep tech founders who may be academics or engineers and they have great technology but they have a really hard time getting from technology a company. “
He added: “You see a lot of companies failing the Seed-to-Series A phase because they don’t find the right market fit or don’t find the right business model. We really help address that. “
Kirby, who previously worked at Qualcomm for 18 years and ran an accelerator there, said Deeptech Labs looked at around 900 companies for its first cohort before selecting five: AutoFill, BKwai, Circuit Mind, Contilio and Mindtech.
Circuit Mind, for example, would like to build a platform that would allow engineers to use AI software to design circuit boards in a matter of hours, while Contilio is working on a 3D analysis platform to help the construction industry understand, predict and deliver complex construction projects cheaper, faster and more sustainable.
While most of the UK tech companies are based in London, Cambridge has spawned some of the country’s most innovative companies that have caught the attention of US tech giants – Apple bought voice technology company VocalIQ in 2015 to improve Siri, while Amazon bought Evi to to boost it to Alexa in 2013. The city is also home to fast-growing startups like Darktrace, as well as large Amazon and Microsoft research laboratories.
There are dozens of tech accelerators around the world. Y Combinator, where Airbnb, Stripe, and Reddit were born, is perhaps the most famous, but Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and many other big tech companies have similar ventures. While they clearly have some advantages for founders, some have questioned whether entrepreneurs should sacrifice equity or go alone.