Springboard is planning the launch of a new accelerator in 2013 that draws on the skills that have traditionally provided the bedrock for the Cambridge technology cluster: hardware.
The software theme that has always been at the centre of Springboard's work will still be there, but by mixing it up with hardware, Springboard MD, Jon Bradford, hopes it will play to one of the city's cores strengths, the production of ground-breaking kit and then the software that actually makes it usable.
It is this type of hardware and software mix that has seen Arm become the world's leading supplier of mobile phone chips, that has made Ubisense Cambridge's only high tech IPO in the last five years and that has made Neul one of the UK's most exciting and best funded year-old startups.
Bradford says all three of these companies have expressed an interest in lending their support to the programme, though he still needs to close out the funding before it can launch with a start date penciled in for early 2013.
It does mean that Springboard won't have run a programme in its home town at all in 2012, but Bradford, who says he is still completely committed to Springboard Cambridge, believes the new approach could ensure it becomes a permanent annual fixture after the 2011 iteration did well by the companies, but not so much the local cluster.
By one measure at least – startup funding – last year's Cambridge Springboard which focused on internet-based technologies was a successful endeavour with six of the 10 teams having since landed an average of around £300k. However, as Bradford concedes, Cambridge Plc didn't fair so well – the only startup based in Cambridge pre-event, Arachnys, left for London at the beginning of this year.
"It's not just about teams, but helping sustain the ecosystem in Cambridge," said Bradford. "I stepped back and asked what is Cambridge really good at, what will attract teams and help keep teams in Cambridge?"
Bradford says that by focusing on what are admittedly 'bloody big niches' and drawing out some specialisation, then better teams can be built, which would not only deliver more value to Cambridge, but investors.
As for choosing London's mobile event ahead of Cambridge, it was a matter of timing says Bradford. "We lined up Cambridge and London Mobile alongside each other and Mobile just got ahead first," said Bradford. Both this year's London programmes were oversubscribed, says Bradford, while Cambridge is about 70 per cent of the way there.
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