On Thursday 21 November 2013 a letter of intent has been signed between the Cambridge Innovation Center (CIC), represented by CEO Tim Rowe, and the city of Rotterdam, represented by Vice Mayor Jeannette Baljeu. The parties have expressed the intention to conduct a feasibility study in order to evaluate whether Rotterdam is a suitable location for CIC. To support CIC during their study the city has put together a team including the Rotterdam Investment Agency and Deloitte.
CIC is the world’s largest cluster of startups. It is based in the Boston area, United States, next to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). CIC is not an incubator or accelerator program that takes a slice of equity in exchange for helping a startup business to grow. Instead, it operates as an added-value community for entrepreneurs where they can work, find capital from multiple venture capital funds and learn from each other how to grow their businesses. CIC houses more than 600 companies in approximately 20,000 m2 in two buildings in the heart of Kendall Square. More than 8B dollar of venture capital has been invested in CIC client companies to date.
After many successful years of growth in Cambridge and Boston, CIC and many of its related organizations are now seeking to expand nationally and internationally. This longtime fixture of the Boston-area startup scene recently announced its first out of state expansion to St. Louis, Missouri in 2014, where it will operate 12,000 m2 of flexible office and wet lab space. With this agreement, CIC is announcing its intention to expand its entrepreneur-friendly community to Europe.
When Deloitte learned about the international expansion plans of CIC, they saw in the city of Rotterdam a unique chance for CIC and drew their attention to the city. Subsequently, a delegation from Rotterdam, headed by Vice Mayor Jeannette Baljeu, visited CIC in Boston at the end of last year. Then this year in June the city of Rotterdam was paid a visit during which CIC was given the opportunity to get to know the city, meet and greet technology driven entrepreneurs from different sectors and experience the local startup community. That led to the visit today by CIC’s CEO Tim Rowe, where the agreement to partner has been reached.
Rotterdam is a very interesting location for CIC. It has a strong and diverse economy, a “hands-on” mentality and it has a young population in comparison with other cities. Rotterdam focuses on “industries that make a difference”, can create crossovers and leverages the various strengths that the city and the port have to offer. Rotterdam is firmly committed to building and expanding her strong innovative communities in the fields of Life Sciences/Medical, Food and Cleantech. Together with the Erasmus University, the Erasmus Medical Center, The Technical University of Delft, venture capitalists, R&D organizations and other firms, CIC feels that the city has all components to develop a strong ecosystem for startups as well as for innovative corporations, both national and international.
Vice Mayor Jeannette Baljeu: ´We are excited to be partnering with CIC to explore establishing a CIC in Rotterdam. I have visited their location in Boston, and I think their concept will fit perfectly in our innovative city. CIC offers a unique concept for startups and it is a party that is a perfect catalyst for our ambition to become a vibrant hub for new companies, international companies and growing existing companies in Rotterdam.’
To realize the city’s ambitions and foster innovation and entrepreneurship, the city of Rotterdam is looking for and investing in organizations, ventures and companies that strengthen the economic structure of the region towards such a hub. Therefore the city of Rotterdam is very interested in the Cambridge Innovation Centre. The city of Rotterdam is competing to be CIC’s first site in Europe
(Rotterdam Investment Agency).