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SiliconCatalyst.UK Call for Applications to the 2nd Cohort of the ChipStart UK Incubator


Staff member


London, UK – February 22nd, 2024 – SiliconCatalyst.UK, the UK arm of the world's only incubator focused exclusively on accelerating semiconductor solutions, is pleased to announce that the ChipStart UK incubator for early-stage UK semiconductor startups is now open for its next round of applications. ChipStart UK is backed by the UK Government to provide early-stage semiconductor companies with the technical and commercial help they need to help bring new products to market. Following on from the successful first cohort launch in 2023, the second cohort of selected startup companies will start their nine-month incubation on June 1st 2024.

The £1.3m programme is delivered by Silicon Catalyst.UK, a wholly owned subsidiary of Silicon Catalyst LLC, the world’s most experienced start-up accelerator, who have engaged globally with hundreds of entrepreneurial teams targeting the semiconductor industry. The first cohort of eleven semiconductor startups are currently halfway through their nine-month incubation, gaining access to bespoke chip design tools, commercial expertise and specialised mentorship from semiconductor industry veterans, and networking opportunities with prospective investors and commercial partners.

Minister Saqib Bhatti, Minister for Tech and Digital Economy said:

“Semiconductors underpin our economy, national security and modern way of life, and are vital to our position as a science and tech superpower. That’s why our ambitious £1bn Semiconductor Strategy is designed to grow our semiconductor sector, secure our supply chains and protect national security. SiliconCatalyst.UK is helping us to deliver exactly that. Since launching the world’s first and only incubator for semiconductor design start-ups, they have helped UK firms attract close to £7m of additional investment, creating high-value jobs and training the next generation of UK chip business leaders.”

Semiconductor startup applicants accepted into the ChipStart UK incubator will get access to electronic design tools, design IP functional blocks, semiconductor foundry prototyping, packaging and test capabilities, at either no cost or significantly discounted, through the Silicon Catalyst ecosystem. Each ChipStart UK startup is assigned a dedicated Mentor, selected from the Silicon Catalyst advisor base for their relevance to the startup, who will work with the startup over the nine-month incubation period. The Mentors will help guide the startup teams through the semiconductor industry-specific training, held 3 times per month, and then help workshop these learnings to their startup’s specific needs. The intensive and valuable training is geared to create the next generation of semiconductor business leaders for the UK.

“The first call for ChipStart UK applications last year attracted 27 high quality semiconductor startups from across the UK. To be eligible they must have raised less than £1m of private funding. We are now reaching deep into the UK semiconductor research and innovation base for the second cohort”, said Sean Redmond, Managing Partner of Silicon Catalyst UK Ltd, “The chosen few will have a fast track to success into the global semiconductor supply chain”. Applications are now being accepted with the on-line form here. The application deadline is midnight April 12th, 2024.

Testament to the success of the programme are the glowing remarks from these ChipStart UK companies in Cohort #1:

Dorian Haci, CEO and co-founder of MintNeuro (a spin-out from Imperial College, London) says, “access to multiple licenses of Electronic Design Automation tools at no cost and free prototype runs with TSMC, the leading foundry in the world, is accelerating our go to market plan. The training, advice and support from some of the best semiconductor experts in the world today is significantly mitigating our risks to deliver our high quality implantable medical devices for neural stimulation of the brain much faster than we thought possible. This fully funded UK Government ChipStart UK incubation, delivered by SiliconCatalyst.UK, is providing a clear path to our initial seed investment. It is providing demonstrable risk reduction in every aspect of our business plan.”

Vaire is the first chip company in the world to deliver on the promise of near zero energy AI compute. “We have made connections into the global semiconductor industry that would have been near impossible without the help of SiliconCatalyst.UK delivering this fantastic ChipStart UK incubation programme”, said Rodolfo Rosini, CEO and co-founder.

Helen Duncan, Chief Marketing Officer, for BlueShift Memory said “The training and advice we have received from the Silicon Catalyst ecosystem has helped us sharpen our value proposition and go to market strategy. Putting us on the ChipStart UK stage has enabled us to attract the right investors at the right time, and we believe it has provided a springboard for our future success.”

Tanya Mangoma, CEO and founder of HyperCIM said “to have a founder of Arm, Jamie Urquhart, as our ChipStart UK personal Mentor is gold dust. We are absolutely delighted to be one of the chosen few to be allowed to drink from the fire hydrant of global semiconductor opportunity that SiliconCatalyst.UK is pouring into us with this fabulous fully UK Government funded incubator”.

James Lewis, CEO of RED Semiconductor, said “winning a coveted place on the ChipStart UK semiconductor startup incubator delivered by SiliconCatalyst.UK has been pivotal for our go to market strategy. The semiconductor industry specific deep dive training has refined our business plan. The global market leading customers and partner opportunities that Silicon Catalyst has delivered to us are game changing.”

“The Silicon Catalyst ecosystem delivered through the superb ChipStart UK semiconductor startup incubator has been of immense support during our spin-out process from Edinburgh University,” said CEO and co-founder of Singular Photonics, Shahida Imani. “Their In-Kind Partners have provided free EDA tools and access to advanced TSMC foundry runs. Their advisers have built mutual respect and trust up and down the supply chains that we need to build our business in, and their deep knowledge and advice has been seminal to attract our first pre-seed investment.”

Link to Press Release