Discovery Fund raises first £1 million


The new University of Cambridge Discovery Fund has raised its first £1million of a £5 million target to help bring researchers’ and academics’ science-based ideas to life.

The Discovery Fund, part of the 800th Anniversary Campaign, was officially launched at the House of Lords on May 14 and is the latest evergreen seed fund held by the University.

It is managed by the University of Cambridge’s commercialisation office, Cambridge Enterprise, as part of its seed funds and will provide pre-licence, pre-seed and seed investment for high tech ventures. The fund can be used for PathFinder funding which provides up to £10k to carry out market and IP assessments, plan marketing strategies, and develop the business plan, or Concept funding of up to £80k for applied development and demonstration of a concept.

Sir David Walker, Senior Advisor to Morgan Stanley and a Cambridge alumnus, said of The University of Cambridge Discovery Fund: “In this current difficult economic climate it is even more important to support the efforts of innovators, and there is no more exciting place to do so than in Cambridge.”

Cambridge is famous for producing research which has transformed the world. Funding the early stages of commercialisation plays an important role in de-risking opportunities and attracting management and funding to technology that shapes the world around us.

Cambridge Enterprise Seed Funds has enjoyed particular success over the last ten years in supporting new University companies. On average, every pound invested by the Seed Funds has attracted follow-on funding of forty-five pounds and funded companies employ over 1,700 people.

Teri Willey, Chief Executive of Cambridge Enterprise, said “The University of Cambridge Discovery Fund provides that critical first funding which can be so difficult for a new company to find. Cambridge Enterprise can then use its networks, such as Cambridge Enterprise Venture Partners, to help bring in the later stage funding needed to grow a successful company.”

About Cambridge Enterprise Seed Funds

Cambridge Enterprise Seed Funds is part of Cambridge Enterprise Limited and provides funding for early stage businesses that have been founded by members of the University of Cambridge. Cambridge Enterprise Seed Funds comprises the University Challenge Fund, the University Venture Fund and the University of Cambridge Discovery Fund. The University Challenge Fund was established in 2000 as a result of a government initiative, with start up money from the University of Cambridge, the Wellcome Trust, the Gatsby Foundation and the Office of Science & Technology. The University Venture Fund was set up in 1995 with Funds solely from the University of Cambridge. The University of Cambridge Discovery Fund was established in September 2008. All three funds are evergreen and use equity realisations to continue funding new businesses.

Cambridge Enterprise Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of the University of Cambridge, responsible for the commercialisation of University intellectual property. Activities include management and licensing of intellectual property and patents, proof of concept funding and support for University staff and research groups wishing to provide expert advice or facilities to public and private sector organisations. Cambridge Enterprise provides access to angel and early stage capital through the Cambridge Enterprise Seed Funds and Cambridge Enterprise Venture Partners, and offers business planning, mentoring, specialist Surgeries and other related programmes. In 2007/08 income from licensing, consultancy and equity transactions exceeded £10 million, of which £8 million represents distributions to University departments and academics.


For further information please contact:

Shirley Jamieson

Head of Marketing

Cambridge Enterprise Limited

Tel: 01223 760 339



Cambridge Enterprise exists to help University of Cambridge inventors, innovators and entrepreneurs make their ideas and concepts more commercially successful for the benefit of society, the UK economy, the inventors and the University.

Cambridge Enterprise, University of Cambridge