A guide to the Silicon Fen tech sector

Cambridge-based companies are generating revenues of £46.6bn, with the city now home to over 5,000 tech companies specialising in biotech, AI and fintech.

Well known for its educational prowess, Cambridge is home to 31 colleges, 29 of which accept undergraduates, so it should come as no surprise that this is a city where innovation and enterprise is baked into the culture.

More than 4,000 postdoctoral early career researchers from 90 countries work at the University of Cambridge and its partner institutes, supplying a talented pipeline to the technology companies located in the city and its environs. According to cambridgeand.com, 40 per cent of the workforce has a higher education qualification.

A recent report found that Cambridge’s colleges have produced 12 current unicorn companies, 22 future unicorns, 846 start-ups and were attended by 752 founders. Tech is truly part of the fabric here, going back as far as 1970 when Trinity College founded the Cambridge Science Park.

First generation UK technology companies such as Sinclair Research and Acorn Computers were founded in the city, and more than 1,000 high-tech companies established offices in here during the five years to 1998, giving rise to the ‘Cambridge Cluster’. More recently, the area has been nicknamed Silicon Fen, a nod to its own geographical location which references the famed Silicon Valley.

It’s not undeserved: there are now over 5,000 tech companies here, and in the year to April 2018, Cambridge-based companies within a 20-mile radius of the city grew their global turnover by 8.7 per cent and their global employment by 4.1 per cent. Silicon Fen companies generate total revenues of £46.6bn and employ 233,000 employees worldwide.

The city specialises in biotechnology and AI and is growing as a fintech hub as well. It is also home to many life sciences companies. Just some of the many home-grown names to know include Darktrace, a leading AI company using cybersecurity solutions to identify, prevent, and eliminate insider threats. Arm is the leading technology provider of processor IP, Featurespace offers cybersecurity solutions to protect people and organisations from the rising threats of fraud and financial crime, and Five is in the self-driving software space.

OKRA is an AI analytics company for healthcare which gives evidence-based insights and predictions in real time. At Healx, AI drug discovery develops new treatments for rare diseases. In the fintech space, Neo was established in 2017 to create an integrated enterprise-grade banking, payments and treasury management system that is affordable to SMEs.

New opportunities

If all that has sparked your interest in looking for a new role in the UK’s exciting technology sector, we’re taking a look at three companies looking for staff now – and there are plenty more opportunities to explore on the GrowthBusiness job board.


Moneybox is an app which allows users to save and invest with as little as £1. Users link their bank account via the app and round up their everyday purchases to the nearest pound, setting aside the spare change into a savings account, or they can invest into thousands of global companies via tracker funds. The company is hiring for a range of roles in London including a product designer, compliance analyst and an iOS engineer. Find out more here.

Allica Bank

Recently named as one of the UK’s top 20 financial technology companies, Allica is a new bank that exists to empower established SMEs to succeed, through a unique combination of modern technology, local relationships and tailored expertise.

Allica sees established SMEs are one of the last untapped opportunities in UK banking. They are the backbone of local communities – representing about a quarter of the economy – yet have been largely left behind both by traditional high street banks and modern fintech providers. If that appeals, the bank is hiring for a range of roles including a customer success executive and KYC/KYB officers across London and Milton Keynes. More information can be found here.


Monzo says it is building the best banking app in the world which will be a smart hub for customers to manage their entire financial lives. The company believes there should be an alternative to the banking of the past and is focused on solving problems, rather than selling financial products. It is hiring talented, creative problem-solvers to help it build the bank of the future. Right now, open roles include a senior data analyst, risk and controls manager and a senior iOS engineer, all based in London. Check them out.

Discover more job opportunities on the GrowthBusiness job board

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Kirstie McDermott

Kirstie McDermott

Kirstie McDermott is Senior Content Manager, Amply at Jobbio.

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