Like its sister Oxford, Cambridge is known for world-class education, innovation and research, so it’s not surprising that the city has established itself as one of the country’s most influential technology hubs.
Nicknamed ‘Silicon Fen’, Cambridge reportedly has a digital tech turnover of £2.1 billion. Interest in the area as a tech cluster likely traces back to Acorn Computers, which set up shop in 1978 and was an icon of British computing until its demise in 2000.
Recent high-flyers include the Raspberry Pi, predictive text app SwiftKey and cyber defence company Darktrace, the latter of which is up for the MacRobert Award; if it wins, the city will have three of the prestigious engineering awards under its belt.
Apple and Samsung have both turned to Cambridge for AI research facilities, and retail giant Amazon has been trialling its drone delivery system, Prime Air, in the city since 2016.
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Cambridge healthtech startups
Aqdot, a spinout from the University of Cambridge, is developing supramolecular solutions for health and personal care, along with a slew of industry applications. One such application is Oderase, a home odour control product that works without added fragrances or propellants—it’s approved by Allergy UK and Good Housekeeping and available to order from Ocado.
BIOS (formerly Cambridge Bio-Augmentation Systems)
BIOS aims to set the standard for hardware and software in bionics by linking the human nervous system with AI. In theory, the startup’s implant and API system will work with any bionic device, artificial limb or bioelectronic medicine to adapt to the patient’s personal needs and manage their health. Seed funding reached an impressive $4.5 million USD last December.
Cambridge Heartwear‘s Heartsense is the first wearable to send real-time ECGs, pulse oximetry and temperature to your phone via the cloud. Using AI, the device can detect aberrant rhythms with a 95% accuracy rate. It’s hoped that the tech will help to reduce the load on cardiology departments.
DuoFertility (formerly Cambridge Temperature Concepts)
DuoFertility‘s ovulation wearable and app automatically track temperature changes and highlight potential fertile periods for couples trying to conceive. When combined with other data like sleep and mood, the service is three times more effective than trying alone.
Ieso Digital Health
Ieso‘s online CBT service will be familiar to many Londoners—the Cambridge firm is partnered with the NHS in Camden, Islington and Haringey, along with around 30 trusts across the country. Its secure instant messaging platform means that patients can access talking therapy from the comfort of their own homes, and being text-based offers the opportunity to revisit past sessions and practise techniques.
Patients Know Best
Patients Know Best gives users control over their own medical records and who can access them. Built into the NHS’s secure network, it’s a simple way to ensure that medical professionals, patients, carers and family are on the same page.
Rize teaches mental wellbeing through interative tutorials and exercises on your phone. Based on tried-and-true therapeutic concepts like mood tracking, mindfulness and behaviour activation, the app helps people from all backgrounds to manage stress, reframe negative thought patterns and incorporate more of the things they enjoy in life.
Cambridge research and edutech startups
Healx is supporting medical research for rare diseases with its comprehensive AI platform. Healnet covers 7,000 rare conditions and has a knowledge base covering billions of drug and disease interactions. It’s 80% faster and 90% cheaper than traditional drug discovery, giving patients with rare conditions a better chance at treatment.
Riverlane‘s goal is to recreate laboratories through its quantum simulation engine. In short, researchers will be able to develop new materials and drugs at a much faster pace and focus physical lab work on promising results. The Cambridge startup nabbed £3.25 million in seed funding just this month.
Sparrho‘s blend of human expertise and AI makes it easy to stay up-to-date with the science that matters to you, for free. 3-minute digests break down interesting research without the jargon or sensationalism, and expert-curated pinboards help to tell the bigger story. Sparrho also combs 45,000 journals and repositories hourly, matching new articles to your interests and presenting them in an easily skimmable feed.
Tribalingual helps to keep dying languages alive by connecting native speakers with people seeking unique, immersive experiences. Courses include Mongolian, Ladino, Yoruba, Gangte, Ainu and Malagasy—the latter of which is the first-ever course for the Madagascan language.
Cambridge cleantech startups
Aurelius Technologies has developed a clean, energy-efficient and affordable way of recycling lead-acid batteries. At present, recycling rates are excellent but pyrometallurgy is extremely energy-intensive. It also releases tonnes of noxious gases and particulates into the atmosphere. Fenixpb produces up to 90% fewer carbon emissions, eliminates noxious gases completely and results in batteries that are 30% more efficient.
Cambond is developing greener adhesives and composite materials based on readily available biopolymers and biomass. So far, products include bamboo and straw-based wood panels, furniture made with disposable coffee cups and reusable cups made with used coffee grounds.
Master Filter has developed an engine oil filtration system that removes tiny particles and liquids while maintaining a pressurised flow rate. This means that oil can be reused constantly instead of replaced. Removing solid contaminants also helps to prolong the life of machinery, potentially saving businesses millions of pounds in maintenance.
Cambridge B2B startups
Blendology bridges the gap between in-person and online networking with e-Ink badges that look like standard conference lanyards but exchange contact details when tapped. Once the event is done, attendees can log on for full contact details and info on when connections were made.
Legal Sphere connects startups and SMEs to fully qualified freelance solicitors who specialise in commercial and corporate law. By cutting out firms lawyers are able to offer more affordable legal advice and manage their own time and caseload. Business owners can start projects knowing the costs upfront, and payment is safely held in escrow.
Zeevou covers hospitality management from marketing to booking and operations as one unified hub. The platform costs one flat monthly fee with no additional commission or add-ons.