How UK’s cleantech cluster hatched a plan to help startups raise over £135M for a greener future

The recently concluded COP26 United Nations climate change summit in Glasgow emphasised the importance of working towards a greener future, and the opportunities for innovators and investors in the sector. The pioneering centre for environmentally friendly technology in the UK, Cambridge Cleantech is helping to turn this strategic ambition into reality on the ground for the future of the planet.

Celebrating its tenth birthday, it has urged more companies to join the multi million pound pan-European success story.

10 and going strong

Since its founding in 2011, Cambridge Cleantech has helped ground-breaking start-ups and entrepreneurs raise more than £135 million in backing, seen £26 million invested in climate friendly technology through collaborations with corporates, and saved 216,000 tonnes of CO2 being released into the atmosphere a year.

In the ten years since its founding, Cambridge Cleantech has expanded its work beyond the city and now has members from across the UK and internationally. The organisation has proved influential, helping to found Oxfordshire Greentech, and acting as an easy to access marketplace bringing together innovators and buyers.

Cleantech sector, the way forward

Martin Garratt, CEO of Cambridge Cleantech said, “After ten years of promoting climate technologies, it is heartening to see the cleantech sector at the top of the agenda. There has never been a more urgent time to support the cleantech sector and we will continue to play a pivotal role in bringing climate-focused innovators, corporates, investors and academics together. The solutions are already there, they now need to be implemented, and while we are pleased that political leaders have made a commitment to cutting emissions and accelerating the phasing down of coal, it is crucial that these agreements translate into firm action if we are to have any chance of staying below 1.5C.”

Flagship Cleantech Collaboration Day

Garratt is now calling on startup and small companies with businesses based on sustainable futures to join the flagship Cleantech Collaboration Day on 18 November. At the event, being held mostly online, big companies from across Europe such as Lufthansa, Cambridge Display Technology and Anglian Water, will outline what solutions they want from innovators to help make businesses greener.

Cleantech Collaboration Day is part of the Interreg North Sea Region Scale-Up programme, a partnership between cleantech clusters across Europe, including in the UK, Germany, Sweden, Holland, Belgium and Denmark. It offers access to vast markets for small companies which can make important contributions to a greener tomorrow.

Cleantech Venture Days are held twice a year, with opportunities for companies to pitch their innovations to investors and corporate venture arms interested in the cleantech sector.

Biggest investors lined up

Areas of interest include low carbon energy, future transport, recycling, and the circular economy. SMEs interested in pitching their ideas to the corporates can apply here

One company that Cambridge Cleantech has supported along its journey is sustainable laundry startup Oxwash, who pitched at the business network’s investor pitch event Cleantech Venture Day in 2018 and have since raised £5.2 million in funding.

“Pitching at Cleantech Venture Day was an invaluable experience and allowed us to connect with some of the biggest investors in the greentech sector. Cambridge Cleantech are a brilliant organisation and through their introduction we were represented by the Cambridge MBA team in the MIINT competition, winning second place and securing 25K of investment from a US impact fund. I can confidently say that being a part of Cambridge Cleantech will open doors for you in the future,” said Tom de Wilton, COO & Cofounder, Oxwash.