Cambridge and AI: what makes this city a good place to start a business?



What makes a city as small as Cambridge a hotbed for AI and machine learning start-ups? A critical mass of clever people obviously helps. But there’s more to Cambridge’s success than that.

In my experience, Silicon Valley is 10% tech and 90% hype, but Cambridge is just the opposite.
- Vishal Chatrath

On any given day, some of the world’s brightest minds in the areas of AI and machine learning can be found riding the train between Cambridge and London King’s Cross.  

Five of the biggest tech companies in the world – Google, Facebook, Apple, Amazon and Microsoft – all have offices at one or both ends of the train line. Apart from the tech giants, however, both cities (and Oxford, the third corner of the UK’s so-called golden triangle) also support thriving ecosystems of start-ups. Over the past decade, start-ups based on AI and machine learning, in Cambridge and elsewhere, have seen explosive growth.

Of course, it’s not unexpected that a cluster of high-tech companies would sprout up next to one of the world’s leading universities. But what is it that makes Cambridge, a small city on the edge of the Fens, such a good place to start a business?

“In my experience, Silicon Valley is 10% tech and 90% hype, but Cambridge is just the opposite,” says Vishal Chatrath, CEO of, a Cambridge-based AI company. “As an entrepreneur, I want to bring world-changing technology to market. The way you do that is to make something that’s never existed before and create the science behind it. Cambridge, with its rich history of mathematicians, has the kind of scientific ambition to do that.”

“The ecosystem in Cambridge is really healthy,” says Professor Carl Edward Rasmussen from Cambridge’s Department of Engineering, and Chair of “The company has been expanding at an incredible rate, and I think this is something that can only happen in Cambridge.”

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Image: Cambridge Cluster
Credit: The District

Reproduced courtesy of the University of Cambridge

University of Cambridge

The University of Cambridge is acknowledged as one of the world's leading higher education and research institutions. The University was instrumental in the formation of the Cambridge Network and its Vice- Chancellor, Professor Stephen Toope, is also the President of the Cambridge Network.

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