UK Chip Designer Arm Co-Founds Cambridge Tech Accelerator
In partnership with the University of Cambridge, Martlet Capital, and private equity investor Cambridge Innovation Capital, Arm just founded a startup lab that will allow technology companies to access Cambridge resources and create new intellectual property. Once the startups put down 5%-20% of their initial equity, Deeptech Labs will provide them with £350,000, three months of an intense development program, and opportunities to network with some of the brightest tech minds in the U.K.
They’re trying to solve a pressing issue in the U.K. tech industry: deep tech founders are brilliant on the theoretical side, but don’t have the business acumen to make their ideas work in the market. “You see a lot of companies that fail in the seed-to-series-A range”, Deeptech CEO Miles Kirby explained. “They don’t find the right market fit; they don’t find the right business model”.
The accelerator will hold 30+ fireside chats, workshops, and networking days over three months, culminating with a Demo Day that will connect its cohort with investors and potential Deeptech partners.
Who Are the Chosen Ones?
Glad you asked. Since the programme is highly selective, Deeptech Labs took a look at about 900 different startups before selecting five for its first cohort:
- AutoFill: Builds automated machine vision for fleets and rail.
- BKwai: Provides visualisations and data insights for smarter cities and construction.
- Circuit Mind: Helps design circuits with the help of AI.
- Contilio: Creates 3D analytics for construction firms.
- Mindtech: Generates unlimited training data for AI vision systems.
Though London usually catches everyone’s eye, Cambridge has launched several of the U.K.’s most tech-savvy firms. In 2015, Apple bought VocalIQ for Siri; in 2013, Amazon bought Evi for Alexa; and both Amazon and Microsoft own research labs in the city. As Adam Bastin, Vice President of Corporate Development at Arm, said: “[Cambridge has] remained a critical hub of talent, creativity, and innovation”.
Now, with its latest VC fund, accelerator, and a self-proclaimed “catalyst for deeptech success”, Cambridge will embed the first Deeptech Labs cohort in a network of entrepreneurs, world-class organisations, and leading researchers. Arm is betting that this ecosystem will help amateur entrepreneurs finally get their breakthrough tech projects off the ground—and finally make better early-stage decisions.
What’s the Advantage?
Tech accelerators such as Y Combinator—birthplace of Stripe, Reddit, and Airbnb—AngelPad, Techstars, and Microsoft Accelerator can see more than 20% of their investments reach an exit. That’s incredible in a field well-renowned for its failure rate. Some will question whether founders should relinquish so much equity. But when push comes to shove, many startup founders are willing to risk a bit of capital for their chance at success. Enter Deeptech Labs.