The Citrix Startup Accelerator will throw its doors open to Cambridge entrepreneurs in May as part of a worldwide expansion drive.
Cambridge is one of five key global tech centres targeted by US IT giant, Citrix - the company will also be “proactively recruiting” entrepreneurs in Bangalore, Sydney, Boston and Silicon Valley.
Citrix will be officially launching a pitching competition for the best new IT ideas Cambridge has to offer at the end of next month and it is expected that this will run from May to June. Entrepreneurs accepted in to the accelerator will receive up to $400k in funding (about £250k) as well as business and technology mentoring and help with network building.
The aim, according to Rob van der Linden, senior director strategy & architecture at Citrix CTO Office is to give a “worldwide flavour” to the seed investment initiative.
The Citrix Startup Accelerator was launched in December last year, with startups accepted on to the programme housed in Citrix Labs’ Silicon Valley facility. Cambridge entrepreneurs winning a place will have the opportunity to “spend a period” in Silicon Valley to plug into investment, business and technical networks, but it has not yet been decided whether there will be a physical incubator in Cambridge.
The accelerator made its first investment last month. It backed Primadesk from Novato, California, a startup developing a way for users to seach, manage and backup their cloud data from one interface.
Van der Linden said that more information about the technology areas the Cambridge programme will target will be published when the pitching competition is launched at the end of April. Citrix is not working to allotments for each of the five centres it is focusing on, so in effect Cambridge entrepreneurs will be competing with other entrants from around the world.
The Citrix Startup Accelerator is focused on “entrepreneur-led innovation” and targets early stage companies, funding them via a convertible note of between $100K and $400K. Citrix looks for startups to exit the programme after 12 to 18 months, usually through a new round of funding though its relationships with the investment community.
Van der Linden will be talking about Citrix’s plans for the Cambridge accelerator at two local events - Entrepreneurs on the Move tonight and Cambridge Pitch & Mix tomorrow morning.
Citrix has maintained close links with Cambridge ever since it acquired APM/Digitivity in 1998 and Cambridge University spin-out and server virtualisation pioneer, Xensource for $500m in 2007. Citrix now operates R&D bases at Cambridge Science Park and Cambourne Business Park.