Cambridge Innovation Capital (CIC), the venture capital investor focused on deeptech and life sciences businesses connected with the Cambridge and Silicon Fen tech sector ecosystem, has closed its £225m ($300m) second fund.
With Fund II, Cambridge Innovation Capital now manages in excess of £500m, giving it the scale to support its portfolio companies throughout their life cycle, providing investment capital as well as strategic and operational support.
About half of the investment in the £225m round came from UK funds, with other investors in the US, the Middle East and Asia.
CIC has invested in around 40 deeptech and life sciences companies to date, with Fund II already having made six investments. These include Riverlane, a quantum computing software provider; Pretzel Therapeutics, a leading developer of mitochondrial therapeutics; and Epitopea, a cancer immunotherapeutics company which today announced a £10.3m seed funding round.
CIC’s first fund portfolio companies include CMR Surgical, which closed the largest medtech private financing round in the world in 2021 (£425m), valuing the company at more than £2bn, and Pragmatic Semiconductor, which recently raised $80m to build its second manufacturing facility in the North of England.
CMR’s next generation Versius robotic system is bringing the benefits of keyhole surgery to patients around the world, while Pragmatic has launched a low-cost flexible electronics manufacturing process which is disrupting the existing silicon chip manufacturing market and enabling a whole new class of innovative electronics.
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CIC, which launched in 2013 with £50m worth of investment, mainly acts as a booster rocket for Cambridge university tech spinouts which need second-stage funding. Cambridge has its own seed-stage venture capital fund, managed by Cambridge Enterprise, which typically provides start-ups with two years of runway through seed investments averaging £500,000. CIC then provides follow-on Series A funding averaging £5m.
About half of its investments come directly from intellectual property created by academics at Cambridge university. Its exclusive contract, which was renewed in 2018 and expires in 2033, allows it to invest alongside the university’s own seed funds and gives it the right to participate in future follow-on rounds to scale up the spinouts.
In addition to its portfolio companies, CIC has co-founded two Cambridge-based business accelerators, DeepTech Labs and Start Codon, to support deeptech and life science entrepreneurs develop their commercialisation and technology strategy, preparing them for Series A investment.
VC investment in Cambridge has almost doubled every two years since 2017, according to data platform Beauhurst. In 2021, companies received £1.5bn in funding, £800m of which went into later stage rounds.
Andrew Williamson, managing partner of CIC, said: “Cambridge, UK is one of the fastest-growing science and technology innovation ecosystems in the world. Since our inception, CIC and our co-investors have invested more than £2 billion in sectors as diverse as robotics, semiconductors, genomics, gene therapy, therapeutics, liquid biopsy, artificial intelligence, and edge computing. We are delighted to launch our new fund and to work with a dynamic group of entrepreneurs and investors to capture the full potential within the thriving Cambridge ecosystem.”