Why We’ve Formed Camb.ai

An AI Community for Cambridge

January 23, 2020
April 30, 2020

At the end of March, CCG.ai launched camb.ai, a network to connect the AI community in Cambridge (UK). But why have we formed it, what do we hope it’ll achieve, and how do we hope you’ll get involved?

Why camb.ai? And why now?

There are so many cool but disparate companies and people doing great AI things in Cambridge but they often don’t talk to each other or share their experiences. camb.ai creates spaces — both on and offline — where people can meet, learn from, and collaborate with other people in the AI community.

As an AI startup in Cambridge, CCG.ai benefits hugely from the vibrant tech and life science ecosystem locally. But we were feeling that with the explosion of AI around us — including huge companies like Microsoft, Apple and Amazon and much smaller startups operating out of labs and shared workspaces — we were struggling to make meaningful connections with all our neighbours. Whilst there were already lots of cool events and initiatives taking place in Cambridge, it was a struggle to find them without trawling websites and signing up to a million mailing lists; there also seemed to be a gap in the space for community focused AI events. Thus, we decided to take action!

At our launch event, we asked our members to explore what they wanted out of an AI community, including what events they’d like to see, what skills they want to develop and what skills they can share! Their answers were, as expected, wide and varied. People want to: connect with local companies looking for their next hire, get advice on AI careers and on forming startups, develop their coding skills in workshops, improve their soft skills… But primarily: people want to make friends with others, find out what cool things everyone is getting up to, and be aware of any exciting opportunities they could take part in.

Our Aims

The feedback from our launch event therefore directly infers camb.ai’s aims: i.e. how we want camb.ai to be meaningful and useful to people. We are not a standalone network; camb.ai connects the people, companies and communities that already exist, linking them all into one giant (neural) net of AI goodness. We do this to fulfil our two main aims…

For you to:

  1. Level up your career and develop your network
  2. Communicate and collaborate to learn and develop together

We plan to fulfil these aims by being and doing the following:

  • Be a central resource for local AI related events. Our events page is regularly updated with any events or workshops happening in Cambridge. If you have an event to promote, let us know and we’ll get it online.
  • Host our own talks and workshops centred around the community. Currently our events focus on networking but we have plans for talks, panels, workshops and recruitment events, bringing together local companies, further down the line.
  • Create (offline) spaces where people can meet. This might be at a camb.ai event, at another event happening locally, or even at the pub. Places, basically, where we can talk about AI whilst drawing ideas on napkins.
  • Create (online) spaces where people can virtually meet. We have a vibrant slack channel, where we encourage people to ask for share resources and cool AI news, ask for support and advice, advertise any active job adverts, and give people a space for follow up conversations with other members.

Get involved!

The hub of AI activity in Cambridge is so exciting! We believe that by strengthening the cross company/people links within the area, we can raise awareness of all the great work occurring here and increase the collaborative spirit of the community.

We are always looking for ways to work with, and grow, the community further. As such, there are loads of ways for you to get involved:

If you’re interested in AI in any capacity — maybe you’ve built an AI pipeline, maybe you’re doing a masters in bioinformatics, maybe you have a non-tech role at an AI company, maybe you just like AI…! Whatever the reason, we’d love to see you at an event soon! To get in the loop:

If you’d like to host or partner with us on a Camb.ai event / event series, or work with us in any other capacity, we’d love to chat to you! We are actively looking for sponsors to help Camb.ai grow. If you’re interested in partnering with us, please drop our Director Belle an email at hello@camb.ai or reach out to her on the Camb.ai Slack.

This is hopefully just the beginning of camb.ai, we hope to have you along for the ride!

  • Written and Edited by Belle Taylor, Strategic Communications and Partnerships Manager at CCG.ai and Director at Camb.ai
  • Thanks to Joan Tanous for all her help with Camb.ai thus far and to CCG.ai for all their support with this initiative

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