Intellegens welcomes staff and guests to new HQ at Chesterton Mill

By (Mike Scialom)

Intellegens opened its new Chesterton Mill headquarters to stakeholders, investors and the world last week as demand grows for its machine learning expertise.

The ribbon is cut with, front, from left, Stephen Warde, head of marketing; director and co-founder Graham Snudden; and co-founder and CEO Ben Pellegrini – with co-founder and CTO Gareth Conduit and marketing manager Caroline Osborne, back. Picture: Mike Scialom

The team – now nearing 30 – had outgrown Barclays Eagle Labs, the company’s home since being spun out of the University of Cambridge’s Cavendish laboratory in 2018.

Co-founded by Dr Gareth Conduit and colleagues at the Cavendish, the company’s Alchemite software applies machine learning methods to learn from data, finding useful relationships and applying this information to predict the behaviour of new products and guide which experiments to do next. The data could be for anything from aerospace to foodstuff, from developing new mixes of metals for use in space flight, to extending the shelf life of whipping cream.

Around 60 people braved the freezing weather to get to Chesterton Mill and enjoy the proceedings during a two-hour welcome which included demonstrations, tours and speakers.

Before the ribbon-cutting ceremony in the main office on the first floor of the new premises, CEO and co-founder Ben Pellegrini took the opportunity to give a quick recap.

“Getting to this stage is a bit of a challenge for all businesses,” he said, “and you don’t really get a chance to stop and appreciate what’s going on and now you have a chance to have a drink and let the moment sink in.

Intellegens open day at Chesterton Mill with Dr Gareth Conduit, CTO and co-founder, left, and Ben Pellegrini, CEO and co-founder. Picture: Keith Heppell

“Intellegens started in 2012 with a bit of a chance meeting with Graham [director Graham Snudden], one of our supporters, and I spent a few months cycling over to the Cavendish where Gareth would try and explain it all to me, and with Elaine [Cambridge Enterprise investment director Dr Elaine Loukes was an NED at Intellegens for three years until 2020] that gave us a really strong start to build and deliver a D-tech [digital technology] company.

“Thanks to lots of advice and support, the team developed and we got our first employee and he’s still here, so we must be doing

something right.

“We had some grants and then we moved into Eagle Labs. It was one of the best decisions we made, it was such a supportive environment. We were there for four years as the team was growing, and our customer base was growing.”

Intellegens opens at Chesterton Mill. Picture: Keith Heppell

So too were the projects and collaborations. In 2018 Intellegens began working with Optibrium, the Cambridge Innovation Park-based developer of software for drug discovery. In 2021 Intellegens partnered engineering simulation leader Ansys – US-headquartered with a UK HQ in Abingdon, Oxfordshire.

“Alongside these partnerships the key elements included working with Mario [Cordero, director group innovation] from Welding Alloys, TWI – a strong supporter – and, more recently, Domino, a key part of our growth just up the road, and Johnson Matthew has played a key part too.

Alchemite demo at Chesterton Mill. Picture: Keith Heppell

“We’ve been very lucky to build these relationships. So we’re now in a really good spot to grow things from here and hopefully Chesterton Mill is the place where that’s going to happen.”

The ribbon was duly cut and now the work at Chesterton Mill begins in earnest, building on a receptive and expanding customer base who have successfully applied the Alchemite method to their R&D strategy.

They include:

\- Rolls-Royce, which has been able to design a new aerospace alloy

CEO and co-founder Ben Pellegrini during his speech at the Intellegens open day at Chesterton Mill

\- Domino Printing Sciences, which has speeded up the development of ink formulations

\- Johnson Matthey, which has optimised automotive catalysts for clean air applications

\- NASA validated the technology for use in material and component design

\- Global food producer Yili developed improved whipping cream formulations; and

\- AstraZeneca and Optibrium predicted key pharmacokinetic properties for drugs.

Director and co-founder at Chesterton Mill open day. Picture: Keith Heppell

The day after the opening, a delighted Ben Pellegrini told the Cambridge Independent: “We’d like to thank so many of our local customers, partners, and supporters for coming along to help us celebrate this milestone for Intellegens, despite the atrocious weather!

“It was great to be able to toast success and to look forward to an exciting new chapter in our company’s growth here at Chesterton Mill.”

There was further good news for the company this week as it was shortlisted in our 2023 Science and Technology Awards.