30 March 2020

15 startups to watch in Cambridge

Cambridge is known for its sophisticated tech startups and hosts many innovation programmes in health tech and science making the city one of the top tech hubs in the UK. Just behind Harvard, Cambridge counts the highest number of Nobel laureates globally in physics, chemistry, and medicine. Maddyness has compiled a list of some of the most innovative businesses operating in Cambridge, UK.

Many deeptech, medtech, biotech or quantum computing startups were born in Cambridge (or the so-called Silicon Fen), where currently over half of its population works in tech. According to the Tech Nation 2019 Report, between 2015 and 2018, Cambridge raised a total of £583M, making it at the time the second most attractive city behind London.

Founded in 2013, Aqdot is a supramolecular chemistry company with expertise in developing, licensing and selling novel proprietary products. Aqdot aims to understand companies’ challenges and develop solutions using patented AqBit technology. The startup team works in areas from air filtering in transportation to delivery of therapeutics for cancer.

Discover Aqdot

Founded in 2016, self-driving tech company Five is an expert in science and engineering tackling complex challenges that the automotive and tech industries must solve before the widespread commercialisation of self-driving technology can take place. In 2017, Five attracted UK government support for Streetwise, a project to develop, integrate, test and demonstrate a safe and highly functional self-driving system in London. To date, it has attracted the most investment of any European startup in the sector.

Discover Five

Cambridge-based startup, specialises in AI and is mapping the world’s expertise, connecting businesses directly to market insights. Founded in 2016, maximises the possibilities of market research with AI-driven science. Deep search technology uses reinforcement learning models to autonomously crawl online content and data, mapping expertise in real-time and matching specialists to business needs.


Founded in 2014 by Tim Guilliams and David Brown, Healx is on a mission to accelerate the discovery and development of treatments at scale. The startup aims to improve the lives of patients with rare diseases by using AI and machine learning alongside pharmacological expertise, Healx repurposes and combines existing drugs to find new treatments and alleviate the suffering of the 350M people globally that are affected by rare diseases. With its technology, Healx claims to cut typical development timelines by 80% and reduce costs by 90%.

Discover Healx

Coming from the University of Cambridge, Paragraf is developing the first graphene-based technologies scaleable into a commercially viable prospect. The startup aims to exploit the wonderful properties of this “super material” and hopes it will pave the way to finally delivering the potentially life-changing solutions possible from graphene.

Discover Paragraf

Invented by Cambridge Temperature Concepts Limited (CTC), DuoFertility is a new kind of fertility service. This fertility system predicts and confirms ovulation with one-to-one support from people’s personal fertility expert to help them find their path to pregnancy. DuoFertility identifies the most fertile window 10 days in advance, giving the time and confidence to plan a schedule. DuoFertility is clinically-proven and works naturally with the body. It learns the personal ovulation cycle and is as effective as the first cycle of IVF.

Discover DuoFertility

Created in 2017 VividQ turns 3D holography into reality by developing software that enables commercial applications of holographic display in AR/VR headsets, smart glasses, automotive head-up displays, gaming, and consumer electronics. Tackling the lack of depth perception (which is a key problem in AR/VR immersion), its displays offer deep and rich 3D experiences without the need for optical tricks.

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Established in 2008, The Raspberry Pi Foundation is an educational charity that puts the power of computing and digital making into the hands of people all over the world. The organisation’s vision is to harness the power of computing and digital technologies for work, to solve problems that matter to people, and to allow them to express themselves creatively. Initially known for its Raspberry Pi computer, the Foundation has developed educational content and programmes that are helping millions of people learn computing and digital tools.

Discover the Raspberry Pi Foundation

It can be difficult for SMEs to find high quality, affordable and on-demand legal advice. Legal Sphere provides SME businesses with access to some of the best, regulated solicitors in the UK at a fraction of the cost of a traditional firm. Legal Sphere is acting on a regulatory change from the SRA (Solicitors Regulation Authority) to unleash a new age of regulated freelance solicitors into the UK market.

Discover Legal Sphere

Established in 1994, Frontier strives to create games at the forefront of the world entertainment industry. For three decades, Frontier has built a unique catalogue of games enabled by its Cobra technology that have defined genres, earned critical acclaim and won a place in the hearts of millions of players. Having worked with a succession of top publishers the company now self-publishes its own innovative games that embody its world-class expertise across all major gaming formats.

Discover Frontier

Founded in 1999, Redgate Software has expanded from offering a handful of tools to providing a full suite of database development solutions which enable businesses to include the database in DevOps. Many solutions like SQL Compare and SQL Prompt are used by over 800,000 people in companies around the world, from SMEs to 91% of Fortune 100 businesses. This has been enabled by investing heavily in software user experience.

Discover Redgate Software

Founded in 2017, Riverlane develops quantum software for use as a simulation engine to replace expensive laboratory tests in areas such as materials design and drug discovery. The startup software leverages the capabilities of the quantum computer in the same way that graphics processing units (GPUs) accelerate machine learning workloads, to accelerate the simulation of quantum systems.

Discover Riverlane

A language dies every two weeks and when a language dies, so does a culture. Many organisations attempt to solve this by documenting languages. However, the solution for Tribalingual is clear: we can only save languages by getting more people to speak them. Tribalingual is a platform that allows people to learn rare and endangered languages online. The company aims to provide an enriching and rewarding experience to learners while also helping preserve some of humanity’s most endangered languages.

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Every year, 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted globally. Food waste is a major contributor to climate change, emitting 3.3 gigatonnes of greenhouse gases in the world. Founded in 2015, Entomics solves this problem by farming insects to eat rotting food waste, metabolizing it into fats and proteins. In turn, the insects can be turned into food themselves for fish and animal feed, replacing products like soy, the cultivation of which causes widespread deforestation.

Discover Entomics

Established in 2017, PredictImmune develops prognostic tests to guide treatment options and improve patient outcomes for immune-related diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), Crohn’s disease, and lupus. Based on over ten years of research at the University of Cambridge, PredictImmune has developed a simple blood test for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis to accurately identify patients who are at risk of experiencing severe, relapsing disease and could benefit from certain biopharmaceutical interventions.

Discover PredictImmune


Raspberry Pi




GeoSpock, the spatial data processing company

Frontier Developments, video games developer whose titled include Elite Dangerous and Planet Coaster,

Redgate Software, creator of database management tools

FiveAI, creating software for self-driving cars

Speechmatics, a speech recognition company

Paragraf – graphene research which is finding its way into manufacturing processes