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Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Cambridge Consultants re-starts its spin out programme

Some think that the best time to spin out a new company is at the peak of the market, to get the best backing but to give the new venture time to develop while the market is quieter.
If that is the case, then the fact that Cambridge Consultants Ltd (CCL) is looking to spin out new companies after a four year gap could be a strong sign!
The company, which has previously been responsible for spinning out CMOS single chip Bluetooth and WiFi giant Cambridge Silicon Radio, video chip designer Alphamosaic (bought by Broadcom) and low cost microcontroller chip maker Cyan Technology, is setting up a £10m fund with venture capital group Esprit Capital Partners exclusively for the spin outs. Spin-outs from Cambridge Consultants collectively employ a stunning 3,000 people, many in the Cambridge area.
CCL has a wide range of technologies in-house, from the low cost XAP microcontroller family to low power radio designs. But there are other areas, including radar and drug delivery that could yield spinouts, with the first one next year.
“To make a truly successful venture you need three key ingredients – the right people, the right technologies and the right market conditions," said Ray Edgson, Ventures Director at CCL. "With confidence now restored in the global technology markets, we believe that it is people that make the essential difference between average and truly great new ventures. Our track record of success in this area shows that our unique culture allows us to develop just such people.

Ironically the spinouts are important to attract the best staff, he says.
"We are able to recruit some of the best engineers in the world because of the stimulating and creative environment we provide as they develop throughout their careers. However, whilst there is a structured career path within the company, our venturing model allows those who want to exploit their entrepreneurial skills to go on and start their own businesses, whilst being supported by our established networks and systems," he said.

The new investment will be made by Prelude Trust plc, the investment trust that specialises in early stage technology-based businesses, now managed by Esprit Capital Partners.
"By combining both partners’ venture expertise, our aim is to deliver a clutch of spin-outs over the next few years that will carry on the tradition of generating both employment and wealth-creation for many in the region,” said Simon Cook, CEO of Esprit Capital Partners.

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