Tag Archives: Cambridge

Investment in Cambridge after ARM Holdings plc

For £24.3 billion, ARM, a Cambridge-based chip design company, has been sold to SoftBank, a Japanese conglomerate, which has vowed to double the staff in ARM in five years among other specified strategies.

Within this activity, at least £380 million was returned to local ARM employees in the period from September 19 – 24 2016. These monies have hit accounts.

As suggested by Emily Mackay, a local fintech and analysis entrepreneur, this is likely to be reinvested to some extent in products and services locally, and another part of it may be invested in early stage through larger listed companies and other assets locally and elsewhere.

This is certainly my case, having been an investor in ARM. I will be spending the unexpected returns mainly locally and partly investing locally. I have already begun to invest not only in listed companies but also in a high local growth scale-up that has been raising millions through crowdfunding.

The 42% premium might have been a much higher premium, given the huge potential of the relevant markets. It appears that the relevant senior ARM staff did not negotiate too hard. I was looking to invest in IoT and ARM for the longer run, and with a much higher upside in that longer run. ARM investors lost part of that upside with this deal.

Leaving that aside, as an investor up that event, and one who would like to continue to invest, I am faced with what to do with the monies returned as they merge with my overall portfolio of assets.

I was a Deutsche Bank securities analyst in the 1990s prior to returning to Cambridge to do a Judge MBA in 2000. There, I had responsibilities to understand and practice portfolio (optimisation) theory, especially around international government bonds and money markets. I am also conscious of the value investing approach of Warren Buffett and have read his books and some of the very old citations within it, such as the classic “Stock Operator” books.

These two ideas somewhat push against each other.

On the one hand, portfolio theory tells us that we should spread out our assets into holdings that are as uncorrelated as possible: diversification. We then are able to use the theory to optimise the balance of the portfolio so that it offers the highest possible return for a given risk level.

On the other hand, Warren Buffett prefers to keep a small number of investment assets which he has gotten to know and has understood and has perhaps been able to establish that they are “undervalued” as measured say against “book value” or some other financial ratio. He will believe in the business model and invest at higher levels than perhaps standard portfolio theory might recommend. He is a risk taker. Well, it worked: after of course many decades, this value investor is in the handful of richest people in the world.

In thinking of diversification, one can go to different asset classes, such as property, equities (stocks in companies), fixed income (bonds), commodities (e.g. gold), alternative finance (lending). One can do all this in different currencies and geographies around the world. There may be influences from taxation policy when one is balancing the portfolio. Within stocks, there are listed public companies (e.g. FTSE 100, AIM listed) right down to small unlisted private companies taking angel and VC investment. Investment can be for a decade or more, or just for a few days.

Another asset class is one’s own business or income potential at work: “human capital”. One needs to balance potential at work with what can be achieved through focus on investments. This is entirely personal and depends on many factors. Normally, that business is a dominant factor.

Now, brainstorming: what are the possible asset classes that might be interesting now. I’ve given some of them as examples above.

Technology.

Some hot and potentially “exponential” sectors, and ones which have representations in Cambridge, are:

  • IOT, IIOT
  • wireless communications
  • healthcare, healthcare services, research tools for academics
  • wearables for mental health and health monitoring etc
  • smart factories
  • payment technologies & fintech
  • software for all the above
  • software for network visualisation
  • 2d & nanomaterials
  • digital printing and 3d printing

We can expect a premium for all classes of company in these areas, but they can still grow and be great investments. ARM of course was one such company. What is the next ARM in Cambridge in terms of growth and development?

P2P Lending: this is a burgeoning, lower risk, lower volatility, lower downside type of investment class than stocks.

Crowdfunding: A recent study showed that the class as a whole has been providing a 14.4% ROI for investors. This is actually comparable with some of the P2P lending returns but at higher risk. If willing to invest in several examples that are uncorrelated, and work with an uncertain medium to long run exit, with very high potential upside (an advantage over P2P) if a “unicorn” is found, then this is an exciting class of assets for part of the portfolio.

Indian equities: this developing country is set to grow among the fastest in the world for the foreseeable future. There are funds for this available from the UK. This would be high risk if investing for only a year or two.

Property in Cambridge has been a great investment – the market has risen on average at just under 6% CAGR for the last 25 years.

The equity value in the property can also supplement funds to invest – if you have the risk-appetite for that. You are likely to be paying “secured loan” rates well under 5% with the bank or building society. You can of course obtain rates from 8% to above 10% in P2P lending (but yes, you cannot defer tax as in shares until sale. You must pay tax each year on gains, even if extracting the monies for the tax bill goes against the investment idea). So there is possible arbitrage, but with risks, of course.

Sometimes investors are thought of as not helping society. Well, your investments are clearly helping people pay less interest and achieve their dreams in P2P lending. Your investments are creating improved properties for you and others to live in. Your investments are enabling entrepreneurs and their teams to have a job and the chance to build great products and services that we all can then enjoy and improve our lives with…in principle!

More investment when you are very successful does not yield less of the good things I’ve just mentioned. And the more you have the more you will deploy effectively to others in society unless you put most of the funds under a mattress.

One of the surprising statistics for Cambridge is that its “Cambridge Index”, created and monitored by the local investment bank N W Brown Group, shows that those Cambridge companies have greatly outperformed the AIM index as a whole. In fact, the Cambridge Index has grown at a rate of over 18% CAGR for two decades, while the AIM index as a whole has languished.

There are many great technology companies in the Cambridge cluster ranging from those wanting angel investment, to those maturing into venture capital and post-angel crowdfunding etc, to those smaller listed growth companies to public companies like Abcam that have reached over £1.6 billion in market valuation and are growing at a faster-than-their-market rate. Are such companies in Cambridge as Abcam, or other generally unknown scaleable tech companies, to emulate the success of ARM?

I look forward to the investment conversations!

Disclaimer: The author was a certified & regulated Securities and Futures Analyst with the FSA (now the FCA) in the 1990s but is not registered to give advice and this blog and all other comments by the author are not investment advice either generally or for any specific security or general class of assets.

Graphene Value Network

by Nicholas Coutts MA and Justin Hayward PhD MBA

Everything we do – research, development, testing, manufacturing,
investing, selling – is part of a value network. Understanding what
the value network looks like and how it may be changing can be
very beneficial in terms of helping to protect or increase the value
received or offered as changes occur. For example, Cambridge
Investment Research (CIR) developed a value network map of the barriers to adoption and use of a new and potentially very enabling & high value functional material: graphene (see Figure). The map shows 17 stakeholder types from the areas of: industry, investor, government, standards bodies, academic institutions and the taxpayer (who ultimately funds public and some private research and development).

graphene-value-network (PDF – all rights reserved CIR Ltd)

The map was developed during a one-day masterclass with participants from industry, professional services and academic backgrounds. The purpose of this value network analysis is to identify the barriers to the adoption and use of graphene by some of the different stakeholders in order to develop approaches to lowering or removing as many obstacles as possible. Lowering or removing barriers should speed the growth of applications for graphene. These can be reduced by the provision of services, and hence service design has an important role in speeding
up the growth of application. The map also shows flows between
stakeholders with an arrow to indicate the flow direction. The flows can be money, product, information, or services, or combinations of one or more of these.

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Image Above Courtesy of FlexEnable Ltd, Cambridge

Needs and expectations
The arrows can also be indicators of the needs and expectations of a
stakeholder. For example, one of the stakeholders – the materials
supplier – expects the standards body to provide standardisation and certification. Without such information, which is a service required by the materials supplier of the standards body, the materials supplier’s ability to supply may be limited and hence the growth of applications for graphene could be stunted.
On the CIR value network map of barriers to adoption and use of graphene, this is shown as a very high (VH) barrier to adoption based on the view of the experts in the group that contributed to the map’s development.
Development Preparation of the map is straightforward. A table of all stakeholders is created. The needs and expectations of each are discussed and agreed.
A description of the barrier and the direction of flow are noted. The impact of these needs and expectations in terms of barriers to adoption and use are then assessed on a simple scale from being a ‘very high’ barrier to very low’ barrier, and this is noted. The resulting updatable table is uploaded to a dynamic software suite on the Cloud. The software then generates the dynamic map with the data.
The map can be used to analyse and assess the role and importance of the stakeholders in terms of their connections to others.
Priorities
These data then help the understanding of priorities for action to be taken that will lower or remove the main barriers. This understanding of priorities, underpinned by a rigorous analysis of the value network by expert participants in a group of organisations or a single company, can then be converted into a short summary of recommendations. This can be for an executive, a management team, or the group of organisations.
An increasing number of leaders are coming to understand the use and importance of value network dynamics, and some now consider it to be sufficiently important and take responsibility for maintaining an up-to date, dynamic value network map both for the present and for the future on a senior management level.

CGD-Banner-Template

If you would like to join a Leader’s MasterClass – if you believe it falls to you in your organisation to drive forward strategy and monetisation of GRMs – then please do approach CIR for info or booking +44 1223 303500 (direct) for the MasterClass on 5 November 2015 in Cambridge as part of the Cambridge Graphene Technology Days 2015 festival of events including business conference, expo of tech, new lab tours and dinner.

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Image Courtesy of Haydale plc Lead Sponsors of Cambridge Graphene Technology Days 2015.

 

August News – Cambridge GrapheneTechDays 2015

We welcome you all!

Who Should Attend? 

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Why attend? Pricing

Sponsors & exhibitors marketing | Click for detailed info and pricing

Sponsor Credits: Haydale plc (Lead) FlexEnable (Co-Lead) CGC (Co-Lead) Marks & Clerk LLP (Gold)

The Cambridge Graphene Tech Days 2015 is a leading festival of events over two days for networking and learning more about the latest advances in commercialising Graphene and related materials  in sectors such as electronics, displays, energy storage, composites, packaging, aerospace & defence and automotive.

Airbus & BP will give new presentations on the challenges for Graphene Solutions Providers in their set of industries and will be joined also by other global conglomerates.

The special programme of events will be held mainly in Cambridge’s newly-opening Graphene Building: with an exhibition of technology and tours of new labs as well as a media event, conference and a fine Hall dinner. The expert-led MasterClass covering the value network srtructure and barriers & application prioritisation offer enormous added value to corporate executive leaders.

Introduction from Dr Justin Hayward, CEO of CIR and Co-Director of Cambridge Graphene Days 2015
It is an honour to have the chance to bring together such excellent industrial and entrepreneurial growth companies in the graphene and GRM sector with Cambridge University and its new Graphene Centre Building Hub. Cambridge is perhaps the top global university across all key measures such as teaching and research. It is also home to a burgeoning technology cluster. Great companies have been born & grown to billions in the 25 years that I’ve lived here, but now multinationals also regularly come to have a base in Cambridge to find excellent research, engineering & coding staff, partnerships with top academics and other outsourcing and learning with many other players offering services in the tech cluster. I look forward to an inspiring couple of days of events.

Ray Gibbs, CEO of Haydale commented ”The Cambridge hub is one of the pre-eminent places to go for the highest quality science and application skills. As a leading technological solution provider to this rapidly evolving market sector it made great sense to support this centre of excellence covering graphene and related nano materials, . We believe the conferences and workshops at the Cambridge Graphene Days will showcase the adoption and use of the graphene materials in real products. Haydale’s functionalised graphene technology already is providing ground breaking benefits to organisations involved with composite materials, conductive inks and next generation battery technology”.

Chuck Milligan, CEO, FlexEnable commented ”The relevance of graphene and graphene-like materials to flexible electronics for displays and sensors is clear, and we are proud to be co-sponsors of the Cambridge Graphene Days event – and the opening of the Graphene Building in Cambridge. We believe that our unique manufacturing processes for flexible electronics, together with the exponential growth expected in the flexible display and IoT sensor markets, provide enormous opportunity for this exciting class of materials.”

Professor Andrea Ferrari added “We are very much looking forward to our Cambridge Graphene Technology Day on the 5th of November, when we will showcase industrial applications of graphene and related materials. We are also excited to be hosting high value manufacturing-oriented meetings on the site of the Cambridge Graphene Centre”

To learn more about the Cambridge Graphene Technology Days 2015 please visit http://www.hvm-uk.com/graphene2015

Book now!

Haydale Named Lead Sponsor for Cambridge Graphene Days 2015

Haydale Ltd., a leader in the development of enhanced graphene and nanoparticulate materials, has announced its decision to sponsor the Cambridge Graphene Days (5-6 November 2015).

The Cambridge Graphene Days is a prime event for networking and learning more about the latest advances in commercialising Graphene and related materials in sectors such as electronics, displays, energy storage, composite, packaging, aerospace & defence and automotive. The festival of events includes a program of events to be held mainly in Cambridge’s new Graphene Building, with an exhibition of technology and tours of labs as well as a media event, conference and dinner at King’s College.

Ray Gibbs, CEO of Haydale commented ”The Cambridge hub is one of the pre-eminent places to go for the highest quality science and application skills. As a leading technological solution provider to this rapidly evolving market sector it made great sense to support this centre of excellence covering graphene and related nano materials, . We believe the conferences and workshops at the Cambridge Graphene Days will showcase the adoption and use of the graphene materials in real products. Haydale’s functionalised graphene technology already is providing ground breaking benefits to organisations involved with composite materials, conductive inks and next generation battery technology”.

Professor Andrea Ferrari added “We are very much looking forward to our Cambridge Graphene Day on the 5th of November, when we will showcase industrial applications of graphene and related materials. We are also excited to be hosting high value manufacturing-oriented meetings on the site of the Cambridge Graphene Centre”

For further information on leading edge functionalised graphene application solutions please visit www.haydale.com or contact Haydale Ltd. on +44-1269-842946 / info@haydale.com.

To book to join and learn more about participating in the Cambridge Graphene Days #CGD15 please visit http://www.hvm-uk.com/graphene2015

Haydale , based in South Wales, UK and housed in a purpose-built facility for processing and handling nanomaterials, is facilitating the application of graphenes and other nanomaterials in fields such as inks, sensors, energy storage, photovoltaics, composites, paints and coatings. Haydale has developed a patent-pending proprietary scalable plasma process to functionalise graphene and other nanomaterials.

Cambridge Graphene Days #CGD15 please visit http://www.hvm-uk.com/graphene2015

Amantys CEO on Electronics & the Smart Grid at Cambridge’s flagship Grids & Cleanpower Event

This talk at Smart Grids 2012 Cambridge (tiny.cc/cleanpower) notes that the current market dynamic pits growing demand and global population against the pressure for a reduced emissions and lower dependency on fossil fuels. This introduces instability at both ends of the system. Renewable energy sources are inherently variable, unstable and remote at one end. And meanwhile, consumers are being pushed to change behaviour.
Bookings for the 4th Annual Smart Grids & Cleanpower Conference can be made here.

Power Electronics and the Smart Grid – Bryn Parry, CEO Amantys Ltd

The energy sector is often labelled as – or maybe even accused of! – being a slow traditional industry, one that is resistant to change, and reluctant to adopt new ideas and innovation. This is reflected in the relative scarcity of new companies in power electronics, and the dearth of young engineers coming into the industry.

Existing national grid systems are based on long-established, proven technology and architectures, an aging infrastructure that has changed little in many decades, and a user who is passive whether he or she likes it or not.

The traditional grid has no link between generation and consumption; it operates with centralised control, a passive architecture, and as a result, lacks any degree of operational flexibility – supply is generally on or off, and so is demand.

The current market dynamic pits growing demand and global population against the pressure for a reduced emissions and lower dependency on fossil fuels. This introduces instability at both ends of the system.

Renewable energy sources are inherently variable, unstable and remote at one end. And meanwhile, consumers are being pushed to change behaviour by governments and suppliers, keen to shift them towards a heavily interactive mode, whether with energy monitors in the home, or smart meters and new models of usage.

Amantys believes that one of the core building blocks of an efficient and reliable Smart Grid is effective power switching – something more sophisticated than on, off or fault; something that combines advanced digital control techniques with precision analogue and power engineering.

The intelligent power switch offers real-time adaptation to varying system, load and environmental needs. It deploys a simple, reusable architecture, with a standard digital communications exporting real-time and non-real-time data from the switch to allow remote monitoring and control.
There is a common demand across all medium and high voltage power switching applications for greater reliability and efficiency, for better control and for simpler design.

Perhaps this is why an industry – normally so resistant to change – is engaging with Amantys to deliver the Intelligent Power Switch to meet the challenges of the Smart Grid.

 

Short Biography – Bryn Parry 

Bryn Parry is the CEO and co-founder of Amantys, a start up company based in Cambridge, which is developing intelligent power switching products for the smart grid, renewable energy and motor drive markets. Bryn was previously a General Manager at ARM Ltd. He started his career as an electronics design engineer before moving into applications support and eventually into general management.

About Cleantech Conferences of Cambridge

This 4th Annual Smart Grids & Cleanpower Conference, uniquely covering the core and range of technologies and strategic vision for grids and power, is brought to you by CIR Strategy in association with ARM plc and Schneider Electric, and is part of the Cleantech Conferences of Cambridge Series which has run 16 times since 2007.

Bookings online at: http://www.cir-strategy.com/events/register or by phone at 01223303500

Powering the unGrid! CEO Eight19 Simon Bransfield-Garth features at Smart Grids 2012 14 June

Twenty-two per cent of the world’s population – 1.6 billion people – are unconnected to the grid and, despite governmental efforts, the number in Africa is still rising. Eight19’s Indigo pay-as-you-go solar combines mobile phone and solar technology to provide off-grid power as a service, providing clean power without the up-front cost of a traditional solar power installation.

Powering the Ungrid

This talk by Simon Bransfield-Garth, CEO, Eight19, will take place in the Smart Grids stream looking at unusual applications of grid and power technology during the 4th Annual Smart Grids and Cleanpower Conference 2012 on 14 June at Cambridge University‘s premier conference centre at Murrary Edwards College. CIR Strategy, organisers and specialists in service design and routes to value advice, offer this 25th Conference in their series since 2002.

You can see the lineup, themes and aims of this year’s leading CleanTech conference in Cambridge on grids and power here and you are welcome to book online.

Simon Bransfield-Garth, CEO, Eight19

Simon has 25 years’ global experience building rapid growth, technology-based businesses in sectors including Semiconductor, Automotive and Mobile Phones. His career includes seven years at Symbian, the phone OS maker, where he was a member of the Leadership Team and VP Global Marketing.

Simon was founder of Myriad Solutions Ltd and was previously a Fellow at Cambridge University. He holds a BA and Ph.D in Engineering from St John’s College, Cambridge UK.

Clean Energy: at What Price? Professor John Miles keynotes Cleanpower 2012 14 June

An analytical keynote talk by Professor John Miles of the Engineering Department at Cambridge University in the opening session of the Cleanpower Conference on 14 June at Murray Edwards College, will look at the possibilities for generating clean energy in the UK in pursuit of the Government 2050 goals. In particular, the cost of supplying energy from these sources will be commented on and some possible practical routes forward explored.

Professor John Miles, Director ARUP & Cambridge University Engineering

 

John Miles has been a Group Board director at Arup, the global consultancy, for 17 years and has been responsible for a number of high profile projects and developments over that time. John has very wide experience in the fields of energy and resources, and has particular expertise in the areas of energy strategy and low-carbon transport systems. As a senior member of the firm, John has been a media spokesman on subjects ranging from Peak Oil to Intelligent Mobility, and has actively contributed to the debate on carbon reduction and global warming. Outside Arup, John has held a number of significant positions including a three-year term as a commissioner on the UK Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) and a term as a director of the UK Housing Forum. He is currently a member of the UK Automotive Council, the UK Energy Research Partnership, and a non-executive director of the Construction Industry Research and Information Association.

To read more information, click here.

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http://www.cir-strategy.com/events/cleanpower/
http://www.cir-strategy.com/events/register (Book now!)