Cambridge aims to double its number of unicorns

Cambridge makes up the ‘golden triangle’ of R&D-rich start-ups in the sciences sector

Cambridge will look to double the number of unicorns in the city by 2035, according to Innovate Cambridge.

The partnership, consisting of universities, the government and companies such as AstraZeneca and Microsoft, announced proposals to increase the number of multinational companies in the city to 40.

Alongside Oxford and London, Cambridge makes up the ‘golden triangle’ of R&D-rich start-ups in the sciences sector, with 5,500 companies generating £20bn in revenue a year.

The city has been earmarked for further development numerous times over the past year. In January, the government announced plans to develop a UK version of Silicon Valley based on the Cambridge-Oxford Arc. Innovate Cambridge had also identified almost 1m square metres of potential office and lab space in the city.

Investors have £20bn to invest in much-needed lab spacesDemand for life sciences real estate is outperforming supply, as industry investment reached £4.5bn in 2021

However, that level of development could be disrupted by disputes, including local opposition to further housing. The city could also be hampered in part by the government’s plan to ‘level up’ other areas of the UK outside London and the south-east.

Lord David Willetts, chair of Innovate Cambridge, was quoted as saying in the Financial Times: “Cambridge needs to provide for its high-tech growth… The good news is that it is already in the planning system. The bad news is actually getting all this through is tricky with a whole range of issues.”

Further reading

12 of the most exciting tech companies in CambridgeCambridge is emerging as one of the top cities for tech companies in the UK, thanks to its world-class science and innovation

Tech unicorns UK – complete guide to the billion-dollar clubThe UK is the go-to breeding ground for tech unicorns in Europe with 44 billion-dollar companies so far spanning fintech, e-commerce and artificial intelligence

Dom Walbanke

Dom Walbanke

Dom is a feature writer for Growth Business and Small Business, focused on matters concerning start-ups and scale-ups. He has also been published in the Independent, FourFourTwo magazine and various lifestyle...

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