Paragraf named Business of the Year in Cambridge glory parade
September 15, 2023

Paragraf named Business of the Year in Cambridge glory parade

Paragraf, the first company in the world to mass produce graphene-based electronic devices using standard semiconductors processes, was named Business of the Year in the 33rd annual Business Weekly Awards on 14 September 2023.

Co-founders Simon Thomas – the CEO – and CSO Professor Sir Colin Humphreys received the coveted prize from guest speaker Sir Greg Winter and Doug McDonald who heads the national technology operations for law firm and forensic sponsor of the Awards, Mills & Reeve.

Thomas told Business Weekly after the ceremony that he was doing everything in his power to make Cambridge a successful base for the business despite the undeniable lure of the US which would undoubtedly provide more investment – and faster – than the UK ecosystem is likely to do.

Quantum engineering company Riverlane, especially, pushed Paragraf close for the Business of the Year Award. Riverlane won the DeepTech Innovation category, inspired by co-sponsor Cambridge Innovation Capital.

The success came on the day that Riverlane unveiled the world’s first dedicated decoder chip and published its decoder IP and roadmap to early error-corrected quantum computing.

Judges and sponsors identified young and potentially great companies for the future; in technology these included Forefront RF and Monumo, and in Life Sciences Evonetix won a rarely awarded double while other major awards went to Biofidelity and Domainex. There was intense competition in each and every one of the categories. The Awards in general attracted a record entry and shortlist.

In-depth articles will appear in a special edition on September 28 in print and online but for now here’s a namecheck for all the terrific businesses that went away with coveted crystal obelisks.

Bicycle Therapeutics, which was Business of the Year in 2022, won the Quoted Company of the Year prize introduced by Simon de Young of PwC.

Online fraud busting ML technology earned Featurespace the International Trade Champion award presented by by Duncan McCunn of Barclays.

Cambridge Innovation Capital inspired the new Investment of the Year trophy and hailed the achievement of Evonetix in getting away a significant funding round with US investment in a tough year for raising capital.

Shaun Grady of AstraZeneca introduced both major Life Science categories – scale-up and Innovation. Domainex won the first and Biofidelity the latter.

Cambridge Judge Business School backed two categories. Woman Entrepreneur of the Year went to the inspirational Elise Jenkins of Opto Biosystems while the Cambridge Graduate Business accolade was won by CleanTech pioneer Immaterial.

Sustainable technologies were very much to the fore. This year’s Sustainability Champion in a category presented by Cambridge Science Park director Jane Hutchins was Advanced Infrastructure, a fast-growing data science and software enterprise.

Decorte Future Industries was named Young Company of the Year. The DeepTech company extracts human health data from sound.

Forefront RF, whose chairman is serial entrepreneur and Cambridge angel Phil O’Donovan won the Sir Michael Marshall Engineering Excellence Award. Forefront looks destined to follow the successful trail blazed by O’Donovan’s CSR which twice won Business of the Year before a megabucks acquisition by Qualcomm.

VividQ, whose computer-generated holographic technology will deliver digital realism beyond anything the world has experienced to date, won the new Killer50:One2Watch category sponsored by red hot tech consultancy TTP.

The new Pathfinder Award, sponsored by Bruntwood SciTech, went to Semarion which is revolutionising cell assays with a unique microcarrier platform.

The much sought-after Technology Scale-up prize was won by Monumo, headed by ex-Arm star Dominic Vergine. Monumo is revolutionising all aspects of motors and drive systems.

Last night’s ceremony nestled into a rich context that emphasised the success of the Awards since they were launched in 1990. Arm, twice a Business of the Year and now a sponsor, yesterday secured a $54.5 billion valuation on the US technology exchange, NASDAQ.

Its continued rise and rise was warmly applauded by the almost 200 executive dinner guests who acknowledged that Arm continued to inspire new generations of young technology hopefuls.

Written by Tony Quested