The fifty-year-old Cambridge high-tech cluster is widely recognised as one of the world’s most significant and successful technology regions. The helpful data mashup CamClusterMap currently lists around 1,600 companies in the area, with total annual revenues of £13 Billion. As it happens, this website was created following the TechCity map project, which logs the Twitter interactions between almost 1,400 companies near the ‘Silicon Roundabout’. So, if these two clusters are so similar in scale, what makes them different?
Besides the obvious contrast between the concrete urban setting vs. the ancient buildings and bucolic rural geography, there is a perceptible difference in the kind of businesses that evolve in the two locations. Creatively-driven sectors such as Digital Media, Mobile apps and AdTech seem to proliferate around the Silicon Roundabout. Cambridge companies are more often built around Intellectual Property in sectors including the Healthcare/Life Sciences, Materials Science, heavy Engineering, Mobile telecoms and Semiconductors, as well as Enterprise software.
Blockbuster microprocessor designer ARM plc is headquartered in Cambridge, along with Bluetooth leader CSR plc and R&D centres for chip makers Broadcom, Qualcomm and Samsung. Low-profile software makers such as engineering giant Aveva and rapidly-growing database utilities vendor Red Gate are also big employers.
If anything, Cambridge’s two universities complement the London technology scene because, for every software engineering graduate they produce, there also need to be UI/UX designers, sales & marketing people, PR and creative teams who are more likely to thrive there. The quality of entrepreneurial management teams in Cambridge has taken longer to evolve because the pool of talent is smaller. Fortunately, good transport connections mean the two cities almost behave like one larger one, and the skills can move smoothly between them.
At Amadeus, we are seeing increasing convergence between the Healthcare/Life Sciences and IT worlds: so-called Digital Healthcare. As people are living longer, the costs of healthcare are rising fast to unsustainable levels: as a result, there are significant opportunities for innovation driven by the changing spending mix moving from treatment to prevention and diagnosis. This is one of our focus areas for investing over the coming years, and a great opportunity for Silicon Roundabout and Silicon Fen to work together.
Thank you Alex
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