Spring Update from CFT

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Our end-of-year roundup was universally well-received, so, thanks to your feedback (do hit ‘reply’ when you get to the end of this too!) I’m pleased to update you on Q1 news from Cambridge Future Tech and our ventures.

We have travelled the length and breath of the UK to formalise our relationship with 18 different strategic, academic, and government technology transfer offices (TTOs), as well as being in advanced discussions with research labs at 5 leading corporate partners. This has been made possible by the impressive efforts of our expanding analyst team (welcome, Lucie and Josh!), and we’ve been shortlisted for a number of awards thanks in no small part to our new comms team.

CFT’s consulting practice continues from strength-to-strength, whilst our research team has added 91 new deal-flow candidates since January 1st. We’ve spent the day with the Red Arrows learning about high performance teams, travelled to Monterey for CVC Unplugged, Paris to see two of our ventures complete as finalists at Hello Tomorrow, Zurich for meetings with the university, investors and corporates; and last week I even managed a quick trip to No. 10 Downing Street


We have an exciting pipeline of new venture candidates in the late stages of qualification. Whilst each build is different, we always look to our network to help to validate and support these opportunities, whether from experience with a particular industry or product, or thinking towards a potential formal role as an advisor or even founding operator.

As such, if any of the following areas are of interest, please get in touch and we’ll give you as much of a briefing as we can:

  • Novel multi-vital sign monitoring via a device worn on the ear
  • Using biology to remove heavy metal contaminants from soil
  • Novel electrolyser systems and technologies
  • Novel energy storage technologies, from digital twins to new battery chemistry
  • Gravimeters, with use cases from volcanoes to defence
  • An algorithmic tool to enhance diagnostic yield from cyclic data (from physiology to heavy industry)
  • A novel quantum receiver for telecommunications
  • Several novel cooling technologies, from dew point coolers to barocalorics
  • A new paradigm of optical microscopy, into the realm of “picophotonics”

…and many more!


CFT celebrated a significant milestone in February. Our first London Pitch Event, sponsored by J A Kemp, showcased eight pioneering DeepTech ventures from our portfolio to an audience of international investors and VCs. The event not only provided a platform for our ventures to showcase their innovations, but also facilitated meaningful conversations and connections within the DeepTech community. 

Watch the video here!

Literal Labs

  • Renamed and re-branded the company from Mignon AI to Literal Labs
  • Awarded a new Innovate UK grant alongside PragmatIC and Newcastle University, bringing total grants to $590k
  • New CTO joins in May
  • Significant interest in Pre-Seed funding round with $1.3m raised, and raising a further $1.8m 

Gitlife Biotech

  • Significant partnerships including NCIMB Ltd and EdenBio Ltd
  • Welcomed three new team members, including a policy and regulation analyst, a bioinformatician and a scientist, expanding their expertise and capabilities
  • Commercial contracts in negotiation – more next quarter!
  • Seed-Round opening Q2


  • Awarded $950k to pilot and test on Phase 2 of the Global Centre Of Rail Excellence program 
  • Selected for Deep Tech Labs accelerator with investment of $140k
  • Pitched as finalists at Hello Tomorrow Global Challenge Competition 2024
  • Seed-Round OPEN


  • Emotional heat map patent granted 
  • 3 Working demos of technology to align with different market segments
  • Seed-Round OPEN


  • Awarded $1m in grants this quarter, bringing total grant funding to over $2.2m
  • Successful Q1 demos to 80% of UK asparagus market
  • Now a multi-application robotics platform: expansion beyond asparagus to vineyards and flowers
  • ‘Gus’ the robot shortlisted in #21toWatch Awards
  • Seed Round OPEN


  • 3132 Recorded therapy minutes: CamAI’s unique IP, used as authentic training data
  • Invited to present at the NHS CAMHS Eating Disorders Service
  • Four new engineers to be appointed in 2024 ahead of forthcoming raise

Mission Decisions

  • Finalists for the Dstl DISTEC Competition at ITEC London 2024 with our Virtual Analyst Generative AI Product
  • Secure Data Environment now at Initial Operating Capability with a UK MOD Land Customer – future platform for AI exploitation in Defence.
  • A number of customers across the Air Collective and Technical Training markets, looking to contract for Data & AI capabilities in the next 6 months
  • ‘We’d tell you more, but then we’d have to kill you…’

SAIF Systems

  • Awarded $190k DASA grant in collaboration with Defence Science and Technology Laboratories (Dstl) and the Defence AI Centre
  • Launched Pre-Seed round in February, with positive engagement from investors
  • Continuing commercial conversations following 5MoUs signed in 2023
  • Welcomed Matt Harris full time as CTO, and Prof John McDermid OBE, FREng as Technology Advisor
  • Pre-Seed Round OPEN


Our consulting practice continues to move from strength to strength, offering our proven deeptech venture building model to our blue-chip partners. We expect to complete the first builds for our early customers within 2024, bringing to life new and disruptive ventures focussed on our partners’ third-horizon challenges.

Q1 saw repeat business from our existing clients, new partners aligning with our model, and significant bolstering of our pipeline of innovation-hungry partners. We look forward to strengthening these relationships in the coming months: expect some exciting announcements!


We are thrilled to welcome Michael Beer and Jem Davies to the CFT Board as Non-Executive Directors.

Michael Beer is CFO at Energy Vault, partner at Vest Coast Capital, former CFO at FreeWire Technologies and has held senior finance positions at Luminar Technologies and Citi Group.

Jem Davies is former VP, Fellow and GM at Arm’s Machine Learning group.

“The Cambridge Future Tech platform is exceptionally well positioned to identify and attract transformative technologies, partner with purpose-driven founders, and create an environment in which early-stage companies can thrive.” – said Michael.

“Having worked closely with CFT on founding two of their portfolio companies, I have been really impressed with the quality and skill of all the people involved and I am thrilled to be asked to join the CFT board.” – said Jem.

Their extensive experience in the tech industry will bolster CFT’s strategic direction and accelerate our mission to drive innovation in transformative technologies.


Patrick and Natalie welcomed their new baby, Josh has thrown himself into the world of Quantum, Dominika has started her BPP Law course, Owen has been nominated as CEO of the Year in the Cambridge Independent Science & Technology Awards, and Xavier has been nominated for Rising Star of the Year in the UK Green Business Awards.

Looking ahead, we encourage you to please save the date for The CFT Summer BBQ on 27th June!

Thank you 

Owen Thompson | CEO

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