September 17 saw the launch of Library House, the Cambridge-based research facility targeting the technology and VC community founded by Doug Richard. As well as being chairman of Library House, Richard is chairman of Designer Servers in Manchester, Force 12 Software in Cambridge, Cyan Technology in Cambridge and founder and vice-chairman of the Cambridge Angels.
Between 1996 and 2000 Richard was CEO of Micrografx, a US publicly quoted software company, which he sold to Corel Corp in 2000. He has also founded and subsequently sold two other companies: Visual Software and ITAL Computers. Library House aims to benefit from the Cambridge technology cluster and at the same time draw together the constituents of the Cambridge technology community including academics, the companies themselves, angel investors and VCs.
The research carried out by Library House on technology companies in the region, with their co-operation, is extensive and is sold to VCs on an annual subscription of around GBP9,500. Richard envisages rolling out the concept of Library House to other European technology hotspots, which would earn greater revenues for the company since VCs would be able to make comparisons with similar companies outside the Cambridge cluster. The research team at Library House has spent the best part of this year getting the services at a stage fit to launch. On the research side this has included generating complex classification codes to accurately reflect the technology and life sciences businesses in the Cambridge cluster and from which genuine comparisons can be made.
Aside from the tracker research database Library House products include; blue and green sheets on emerging companies and research; “ahead of the curve” briefings with innovators, entrepreneurs and local business angels; and what’s described as an “office from home” with access to meeting room space, web and email. The latter is likely to be used by visiting VCs without a Cambridge office as well as entrepreneurs.
Judging from the attendance at its launch party, described as hosting the great and good of Cambridge technology, Library House has stirred quite some interest among the local community.
The debate about what upside Cambridge University’s technology transfer office retains while going about its business of transferring technology and building start up companies continues.