University of Cambridge Enterprise Funds

Launched in conjunction with Cambridge Enterprise, the University’s Technology Transfer subsidiary responsible for commercialisation arrangements for University discoveries, the University of Cambridge Enterprise Funds offer alumni and investors the opportunity to invest in the development of scientific and technological discoveries made at the University of Cambridge in a tax efficient manner.

There is an overview of Cambridge Enterprise’s recent activities here.

The University of Cambridge Enterprise Funds have been an important new source of funding for our young companies, and are a great new way for Cambridge alumni and friends to support the University. Parkwalk has been a valued partner since the launch of these funds, and has played a huge role in their success.
Dr Anne Dobrée, Head of Seed Funds at Cambridge Enterprise

University of Cambridge Enterprise Fund VI

The University of Cambridge Enterprise Fund VI closed to investors in September 2018. Please click here to be notified of future University of Cambridge Enterprise Funds.

The Fund

The University of Cambridge Enterprise Fund generally co-invests alongside the University’s own funds, taking advantage of the infrastructure and expertise already in place.

The Funds provide private investors with the opportunity to invest in early stage technology companies as they spin-out of the University, while supplying additional finance to ensure that companies are properly resourced for the initial stages of commercial product development.
The Fund will seek to invest with the tax reliefs of the EIS and SEIS, where applicable.

EIS Benefits

  • 30% Up-front Income Tax relief
  • Capital Gains Tax (CGT) deferral of unlimited gains
  • Capital Gains Tax free gains
  • Loss relief providing up to 61.5% total tax relief for a 45% taxpayer
  • 100% Inheritance Tax (IHT) exemption after two years

SEIS Benefits

  • 50% Upfront Income Tax relief
  • Capital Gains Tax free gains
  • Loss relief providing up to 86.5% total tax relief for a 45% taxpayer
  • 100% Inheritance Tax (IHT) exemption after two years

Track Record

Parkwalk Advisors is the Fund Manager and Cambridge Enterprise is the Investment Advisor for the purposes of sourcing and evaluating investment opportunities for the Fund.
University of Cambridge funds have made over 50 investments, which have jointly raised over £600m of further investment and £30m of grant funding – leveraging the original University investment by over 77x.

Notable start-ups from the University include:

  • BlueGnome – acquired by Illumina in 2012
  • XO1 – acquired by Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc. in 2014
  • Lumora – acquired by ERBA Diagnostics Mannheim GmbH in 2015
  • VocalIQ – acquired by Apple in 2015 for an undisclosed amount
  • CCMOS Sensors – acquired by ams AG for an undisclosed amount in 2016

The fully invested Funds are valued to BVCA guidelines and NAVs are published monthly on the ‘Fund Performance‘ page.

Investment Strategy

The University of Cambridge: Excellence in Innovation

Cambridge is Europe’s most productive technology cluster, having produced sixteen companies valued at more than $1 billion, of which two (ARM and Autonomy) are valued at more than $10 billion.

Around 1,500 technology companies are based within the Cambridge region, supporting a rich network of expertise across a broad range of technology sectors from software (Autonomy, RedGate), hardware (ARM, NEUL, CSR), technology (CamSemi, Enecsys, Light Blue Optics, Teraview) and biotech (MedImmune, Mission Therapeutics, Kynmab). Active networking groups such as the Cambridge Network, One Nucleus, Cambridge Wireless and Cambridge Cleantech ensure that young companies can access a wide resource of expertise, finance and services.

At the heart of the cluster sits the University of Cambridge, one of the top 4 Universities in the world. The University has an unbeatable pedigree in innovation – the source of the jet engine, the structure of DNA, monoclonal antibodies and plastic electronics. In recent times, the University has sought to maximise its societal impact by supporting start-up companies created with the purpose of commercialising Cambridge research and the vast majority of technology companies in the cluster are connected to the University in some way: they are either based directly on University research, are founded or staffed by Cambridge graduates, or work collaboratively with University researchers to find solutions to business problems.

These young companies formed around University innovation transform society through new therapies and disruptive technology products. They address the significant issues of today’s society: healthcare, renewable energy, clean water and food. University spin-outs create local and national economic impact and underpin the technological development of industries critical to the UK.

Cambridge Enterprise occupies a unique position at the heart of the University.
As the University’s technology transfer office it has open access to new technologies as they emerge from the laboratory, and it works with academic entrepreneurs to help them develop their commercialisation strategies from a very early stage.

Through the University’s own seed funds, Cambridge Enterprise manages a portfolio of over 30 investee companies. Starting with a seed investment, Cambridge Enterprise helps the founders to form a commercial strategy around the technology to develop a business capable of attracting the resources necessary for product development and growth. Making between 5 and 8 investments per year, Cambridge Enterprise uses its extensive network of mentors and non-executives to attract the necessary management and follow-on finance needed as the company develops.