The Company

Founded by entrepreneur Charles Cotton in 2009, Cambridge Phenomenon has been set up to acknowledge the people, organisations, products, events and initiatives behind Cambridge's unique information technology, bioscience and media cluster.

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The Company

Cambridge Phenomenon Ltd, founded by entrepreneur Charles Cotton in 2009, has been set up to acknowledge the people, organisations, products, events and initiatives behind Cambridge's unique information technology, bioscience and medical cluster. Our current initiatives have all been stimulated by the 50th Anniversary in 2010 of the Cambridge Phenomenon.

Cambridge Phenomenon Ltd has its origins in one of those serendipitous events that are the inspiration behind many companies. In May 2009, Charles Cotton came across an obituary of the extraordinary life of Tim Eiloart in the Guardian written by Rodney Dale. Most regard the setting up of Cambridge Consultants as the catalyst for the Cambridge Phenomenon. It struck Charles that the following year would mark the 50th anniversary of their initiative and he began to think about how to mark this 50-year milestone. In the true spirit of this remarkable city Charles found plenty of encouragement. A not for profit company was established and Charles invited a group of colleagues to join the Board. In true entrepreneurial style with no clue as to the challenge they were setting themselves Cambridge Phenomenon Ltd committed to organising a conference and producing a book.

Our mission

The impact of Cambridge's contribution to science, medicine and technology goes back centuries, but over the past 50 years, the commercialisation of those contributions has become a global phenomenon. Our mission is to explore and celebrate the city's leading achievements. We aim to:

  • Celebrate 50 years of innovation and enterprise in Cambridge.
  • Communicate the factors underlying the success of the Cambridge Phenomenon.
  • Communicate future directions for the Cambridge cluster.
  • Inspire new generations of entrepreneurs.
  • Guide other business clusters.
  • Provide valuable information to policy makers.

The Cambridge Phenomenon is a global one, and we invite you to explore the most exciting innovations our city has to offer. 

Board members

Our experienced board of directors founded Cambridge Phenomenon to showcase the city's global science and technology contributions.

Charles Cotton

Founder & Board member

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Charles is an experienced director of public companies listed on Nasdaq, Euronext Amsterdam and the LSE and private companies in the USA and Europe. His business passions include building successful global technology companies and spreading the word about the Cambridge Phenomenon.

Charles Cotton is Founder and Chairman of Cambridge Phenomenon International Ltd. and co-authored The Cambridge Phenomenon 50 Years of Innovation and Enterprise. He is a Director of Cambridge Enterprise (a subsidiary of the University of Cambridge) and a member of its Investment Committees; Chairman of the Advisory Panel of Cambridge Innovation Capital; Deputy Chairman of Cambridge Ahead; Director of technology companies Solarflare Inc. and XMOS Ltd; a member of the Board of Trustees of the American University of Sharjah; and Chairman of the Advisory Board for CUER (Cambridge University ECO Racing).

Previously he was a Supervisory Board member of Euronext Amsterdam listed, Tele Atlas which was sold to TomTom for $4.3Bn in 2008; Executive Chairman of NASDAQ listed, GlobespanVirata Inc.; and CEO of Virata Corp. which he took public on NASDAQ in 1999 and achieved a market cap of more than $5Bn at its peak.

Prior to that he was based in Boston, Massachusetts as President of Thermal Scientific Inc, and a Director of London Stock Exchange listed Thermal Scientific Ltd. His engagement in high technology dates back to 1983 when he was Sales and Marketing Director at the computer company Sinclair Research Ltd. After graduating, he worked in the automotive industry at British Leyland and Ford.

He lives in Cambridge, England and holds a BA Hons in Physics from Oxford University and is a Fellow of the Institute of Physics and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Chris Chapman

Board member

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An accountant and CFO by profession, Chris has spent over 20 years in a variety of industry sectors, working with start-ups and global multi-billion corporations across international boundaries.

Chris has extensive experience of driving growth and profitability, including raising investment, acquisitions, IPOs, exits, international expansion and managing fast growth. Chris started his career with Lotus Cars and subsequently held senior finance roles in the rail industry, with Cambridge software business Smallworld, General Electric, outsourcing business RR Donnelly, investment research firm, Library House, Brightpearl and Proxama as well as other early stage technology companies.

Chris currently acts as non-executive director, investor and adviser to a variety of fast growth ventures. He is also a member of the Board of the Cambridge Phenomenon, a non-profit business network focusing on the growth of the Cambridge Technology Cluster. Chris is a mentor on several early stage accelerator programmes, including Springboard and Wayra.

Based near Cambridge, he is a loyal Ipswich Town fan, avidly follows Formula 1, plays golf badly, travels whenever possible and tries to ski as well as his twin boys, but fails.

Executives and associates

Some of the key people helping to drive the success of Cambridge Phenomenon initiatives

Kate Kirk

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Kate Kirk is the writer of The Cambridge Phenomenon: 50 years of Innovation and Enterprise and The Cambridge Phenomenon: Global Impact. She has been a freelance editor and writer for more than 20 years and has worked for international organizations, think tanks, specialist publishers and several leading European business schools.

Rachel Holdsworth

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Rachel’s involvement with ‘The Cambridge Phenomenon” started when as young graduate she joined Cambridge Instruments as a press officer. She has since worked with, and provided PR support for, many of the academic institutions,  science-based and technology companies and the business networks that have helped make the cluster what it is today. Rachel and her team at Holdsworth Associates manage The Cambridge Phenomenon's PR activities.

Faye Holland

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With over two decades experience Faye delivers original corporate initiatives and help promote transformational change to successfully drive business results to companies internationally. Faye is a strong commercial leader working initially with entrepreneurial business at the first internet company in the UK, to a large global corporate where she facilitated numerous emerging business opportunities. Faye is helping to coordinate Cambridge Phenomenon initiatives, including the launch event for The Cambridge Phenomenon: Global Impact.

James Cotton

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James is the founder of Onespacemedia, a top-5 web design agency in Cambridge and London. A computer scientist, audio engineer and graphic designer by training, James has founded three successful creative agencies and continues to mastermind digital projects for organisations across the technology, life science, finance and academic sectors. James lends his creative and technical expertise to Cambridge Phenomenon initiatives. 

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