Neuroscientist ramps up the pace

It’s easy to see why Coco Newton held one of the powerhouse positions in the Cambridge crew which won the 2021 Women’s Lightweight Boat Race.

Brimming with energy and drive she’d never rowed before venturing out on the River Cam.

But she found another gear during her PhD at the University, not just in sport but also in her work as a neuroscientist exploring new cognitive diagnostic tests for Alzheimer’s disease dementia.

“There is nowhere else in the world like Cambridge,” she declares. “There is nowhere that has the people linked with the right institutions, linked with the right mindset, linked with the right students. That generates an energy that is totally unique.”

From a chance conversation with a friend who had just done the EnterpriseTECH course run through the Cambridge Entrepreneurship Centre at the Judge Business School, Coco found herself on a completely new journey beyond academia into the world of business to create a cutting-edge product for use in the NHS.

Accessing support first through Cambridge Gravity’s Bio-Spark programme, and later at the Cambridge Judge Business School, she found the perfect runway to go from being an academic student with absolutely zero business experience to someone capable of starting their own company.

The difference between academia and business fundamentally is pace

Coco Newton

Through additional programmes such as EnterpriseTECH STAR and now with Accelerate Cambridge,  Coco continues to hone her skills with writing business plans, in due diligence, teambuilding and leadership. All of this has contributed to her emergence as the cofounder of Fathom Cognition, which refined a tangible product she could take to market.

“They inject you with a purpose which is not only to do good science but to make good science usable for the rest of the world,” she says. “People understand where you’re going and they understand that you’re going to go through painful points and you’re going to go through successful points, and they’ll make sure that the right environment is there for you if you want it.”

The resilience that she discovered in rowing is now powering her towards life-changing success as an entrepreneur with Cambridge a constant force in her work.


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