We’ve all heard of Silicon Valley, but how familiar are you with the Silicon Fen? In the UK, the term “fen” refers to the swampy marshlands found around the flat-lying East Anglian regions. However, nestled in this seemingly banal landscape are a host of innovative science and tech businesses centred around the city of Cambridge.
Some businesses are spin-outs from the renowned Cambridge University. Others are startups building on the technical knowledge and expertise of this region. It’s a unique ecosystem and one that’s rich not just from an intellectual standpoint, but an economic perspective too.
There are reportedly more than 4,500 high-tech firms in Cambridge, employing nearly 75,000 people. What’s more, equity investment in Cambridgeshire tech companies is reported to have reached £328 million in 2017 and £507 million in 2016.
We caught up with the founder and CEO of Incubyte, Rob Precious, to find out more about running a digital business incubator and accelerator in an area with such extraordinary technical prowess.
Allwork.Space: What makes Incubyte different from other tech incubators?
Rob Precious: We designed Incubyte to be as unobtrusive as possible and the flexibility we offer our members is second to none. Our members aren’t tied to a long term contract. Instead, they can pay and access our services on a monthly basis. This provides the agility that many VCs demand from businesses looking to scale up and win investment opportunities.
We’ve extended this ethos to our application process where we tend to interview potential members. So, it’s a fairly quick and unbureaucratic system. Also, there are choices when it comes to our membership scheme – members can pay on a monthly basis or choose to share some equity with us. We let them decide what’s best for their business.
All this flexibility can make the space more difficult to manage, but that’s not the point of what we’re trying to achieve here. We want scale-ups and startups to have the best chance of success.
Allwork.Space: What sort of technologies do your scale-ups and startups specialise in?
Incubyte has had the freedom to grow organically because we are a private incubator. So, we don’t rely on any external funding or grants.
As a result, Incubyte works across a range of technology sectors. Predominantly, AI and Deep Learning, Fintech, Agritech, Cleantech and Media & Entertainment. We’re also seeing a lot of interest from the Edutech industry too.
Article written by Gemma Church, Allwork Space
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