Cambridge launches eighth Enterprise fund


The University of Cambridge has launched its eighth Enterprise Fund, managed by university spinout fund manager Parkwalk in conjunction with Cambridge Enterprise, the University’s Technology Transfer Office.

Launched in 2012, these funds offer  alumni, those associated with the University, and investors the opportunity to invest in companies spun out of the University of Cambridge in a tax-efficient manner through the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS).

Cambridge is one of Europe’s most productive technology clusters. Having spawned 18  companies valued at more than $1 billion, the University of Cambridge has a long history of producing disruptive technologies. From August 2012 to December 2020, the University of Cambridge Enterprise Funds I through VII have achieved 11 realisations, generating over £9  million. These include Quethera, which was acquired by Astellas for up to £85 million in 2018,  creating a significant return for one of the UCEF funds.

Parkwalk’s Cambridge funds have invested over £14 million over the eight years in operation and have generated attractive returns to date. Investing in the University of Cambridge Enterprise Fund VIII is a continuation of that activity and is an attractive way to support the University’s drive to create global impact and accelerate the introduction of innovative technologies. The objective of the Enterprise Fund is to invest in a portfolio of early-stage, high-growth, knowledge-intensive companies spun out from the University, across sectors such as artificial intelligence, big data, life science, materials and quantum computing.

Parkwalk has been the UK’s most active investor in world-changing technologies emerging from the UK’s leading universities over the past ten years, and has now overseen over £100 million of investment into Cambridge-based companies alone.

Cambridge Enterprise is a leading technology transfer organisation with a successful record of supporting new technology businesses arising from the University. Its performance is demonstrated by the follow-on funding obtained by portfolio companies, the number of products reaching market, levels of new employment created, financial return on its early-stage investments, and royalty payments on its technology licences.

Both Cambridge Enterprise and Parkwalk believe university spinouts are a unique asset class in early-stage and growth investing. The technologies are well-tested, with strong IP protection, developed by leading experts in their field, and are often seeking to solve the world’s greatest challenges, with a natural alignment to ESG and social returns, as well as generating financial returns.

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

Moray Wright, CEO of Parkwalk, commented: “During a time of immense global change, we are delighted to be managing the University of Cambridge Enterprise Fund VIII. It’s been eight years since the first UCEF fund, and I’m glad Cambridge has been such an integral part of our investment journey. Cambridge is one of the world’s great universities, and has an unbeatable pedigree in innovation. Cambridge is the source of the jet engine, the structure of DNA, monoclonal antibodies, and plastic electronics. The Cambridge Enterprise Fund VIII takes advantage of the UK’s world-leading position in R&D and our position as the most active investor into UK university spinouts”.

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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