Former Tech Nation CEO to lead flagship Founders initiative at University of Cambridge
The University of Cambridge has announced that Gerard Grech, former CEO of Tech Nation, has joined Cambridge Enterprise to lead a new flagship initiative that will support and accelerate University founders to make an even greater impact on the world in the technology and software sectors.
Founders at The University of Cambridge is launched as Cambridge looks to become Europe’s centre for science and the main challenger to startups emerging from great US universities, in particular MIT and Stanford.
The Founders programme will supercharge entrepreneurs building companies within the Cambridge ecosystem, in particular supporting deeptech founders building transformative companies that benefit both society and the UK economy. Recent research from Dealroom shows that while Cambridge is the third most important science hub in the world, it has a greater density of founders per inhabitant than any other global university city, including Boston, Oxford and London.
Gerard brings deep experience from his time as founding Chief Executive of Tech Nation, the private and publicly-funded organisation that supported ambitious tech entrepreneurs for almost a decade, across the country. He is also a governing board member of Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency. During his time at Tech Nation, the organisation worked with over 1300 digital companies to scale, including a third of all tech unicorns ever created in the UK. Companies supported included Revolut, Deliveroo and Darktrace.
The appointment of Gerard to lead a founder-focused initiative signals the University’s commitment to commercialising more of its world-leading research into global companies, particularly those tackling problems including climate change and an aging population with technology solutions.
Gerard said: “I firmly believe significant technological innovation will emerge from the University of Cambridge and its surrounding ecosystem over the coming years. Cambridge already has a global reputation for producing world-leading technology businesses such as ARM Holdings, Darktrace, Featurespace and Healx.
“As humanity’s challenges grow ever more complex and deeply interconnected, pioneering research and innovation is our key to finding solutions. Creating fertile pathways for our top innovators to bring their game-changing solutions to market is vital and I couldn’t be more excited to be leading Founders at the University of Cambridge at this pivotal moment.
“With this new commitment from the University and Cambridge Enterprise, entrepreneurs in the city can be assured that this is the ecosystem for them to be in, if they want to make a difference in the world.”
Cambridge’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Debbie Prentice said: “The launch of Founders at the University of Cambridge demonstrates the University’s commitment to societal impact through entrepreneurship. Gerard Grech’s appointment will offer us the right mix of leadership and experience in the field of technological innovation.”
Founders at the University of Cambridge will bring together future founders with global entrepreneurial alumni, local experts and peer role-models, to support and guide founders, particularly those working in deep-tech, to create stronger companies, scaling faster and having greater impact.
With a brief to make a measurable economic impact for the whole UK, the programme will particularly focus on companies that bring research-based innovation to bear in solving the problems facing both the UK and the wider world. Founders joining the programme are anticipated to raise over £700m of investment in the first five years.