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Chipmaker Arm has co-founded a ‘deep tech’ accelerator in Cambridge



King’s College, Cambridge.

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LONDON – British chip designer Arm has co-founded a new start-up accelerator in Cambridge to try to help young “deep tech” companies grow into the next generation of technology giants.

Considered the “crown jewel”

; of the British technology industry, Arm has co-founded the accelerator, known as Deeptech Labs, with the University of Cambridge, private equity investor Cambridge Innovation Capital and venture company Martlet Capital.

So-called deep tech companies aim to create new intellectual property rights by breaking technological ground in an attempt to solve complex problems.

Adam Bastin, executive vice president of business development at Arm, said in a statement that Cambridge has “been a critical hub for talent, creativity and innovation” from Arm’s early days in a barn just outside the city back in the early 1980s.

“In conjunction with the founding of Deeptech Labs, we are excited to support the next generation of gaming technology companies by helping them access the world – class Cambridge technology ecosystem,” he said.

In exchange for an amount of equity, usually 5% to 20%, Deeptech Labs start-ups offer £ 350,000 ($ 495,000), access to a three-month development program and networking opportunities.

Deeptech Labs CEO Miles Kirby told CNBC on Friday: “I’ve seen a lot of deep technology founders who may be academics or engineers, and they have good technology, but they’re really struggling to go from a technology to a business.”

He added: “You see a lot of companies failing at the seed-to-series A stage because they are not finding the right market or they are not finding the right business model. We are really helping to address that.”

Kirby, who previously worked at Qualcomm for 18 years and drove an accelerator while there, said Deeptech Labs looked at around 900 companies for its first cohort before choosing five: AutoFill, BKwai, Circuit Mind, Contilio and Mindtech.

For example, Circuit Mind aims to build a platform that enables engineers to design circuit boards in just a few hours using AI software, while Contilio is working on a 3D analytics platform to help the construction industry understand, predict and deliver complex construction projects cheaper, faster and more sustainable.

While London is home to most of the UK’s technology companies, Cambridge has created some of the country’s most innovative companies that have spotted US technology giants – Apple bought voice technology company VocalIQ in 2015 to improve Siri, while Amazon bought Evi to increase Alexa in 2013. The city is also home to fast-growing start-ups such as Darktrace, as well as major Amazon and Microsoft research laboratories.

There are dozens of technical accelerators around the world. Y Combinator, where Airbnb, Stripe and Reddit were born, is perhaps the most famous, but Google, Facebook, Microsoft and many other major technology companies have similar businesses. While they clearly have some benefits for the founders, some have questioned whether entrepreneurs should sacrifice equity or go it alone.


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