Insights into the rise of tech start-ups in the South-West of UK

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With Brexit on the horizon, UK-based start-up companies promise to play an important role in driving the future economy. The South West is home to more than 10,000 tech companies and in Bristol alone, the tech sector forms the fastest-growing part of the economy.

Why the South-West?

The South-West region of the UK has capitalised on the importance of technology by providing the necessary eco-system designed to nurture, develop and accelerate start-ups specialising in technology. Aside from the excellent level of support harnessing and building start ups, there are a couple of other reasons as to why the South-West has been able to be as successful as it is.

  1. Education — The likes of University of Bristol, Bath, Exeter, Southampton and Surrey offer world leading computer science degrees and partner with a number of Labs to propel innovation
  2. Hubs — The quality and quantity of support surrounding students facilitates the growth of ideas into impressive businesses
  3. Location — Being only an hour away from London has its perks. With rent half the price of London prices and train links to majority of the UK, it’s a lucrative place to live
  4. Cluster — The focus on tech has built a community where ideas can develop. Having the support system to assist like minded individuals is a recipe for success

As well as this, the region is home to some of the biggest Tech firms in the UK. The likes of Nokia, Vodafone, Amazon, Sony and BT all with operations based in the region. This drives a demand for the solutions to some of companies biggest problems and produces a tech-first mindset that propels tech-orientated business ideas.

Why Bristol is at the epicentre of innovation?

Bristol is one of the leading tech clusters innovating in robotics, AI and autonomous vehicles through partnerships with the University of Bristol and tech labs across the city. It is home to two billion-dollar tech unicorns. The city has a host of remarkable incubators, labs and tech co-working spaces. Most notably:

Bristol tech companies alone have raised $305m this year and it has been named a top 10 city for tech in Europe.

The cities tech businesses achieved a combined turnover of $7.9billion and employed roughly 25,000 people.

Top companies currently based in Bristol include:

Even Sequoia Capital is dipping its toes!

Sequoia has invested$50m in Bristol based AIstart-up Graphcore. Nigel Toon, CEO of Graphcore has said Sequoia was a suitable fit for his company, because of its understanding of the importance of machine learning

The alignment in goals by both Graphcore and Sequoia have led to the partnership. Toon has said that ““We’re not obsessed with raising money, we’re obsessed with who we work with and Sequoia has a deep understanding of what it takes to scale and build a successful business.”

This isn’t the first time a big Venture Capital firm has entered the South-West region and with the eco-system currently in place, it certainly won’t be the last time.

The Stats

Statistics for the South-West region provided by TechNation

There is a yearly increase of roughly 30% year on year… 2020 looks on pace to beat that despite all the troubles that have happened so far this year!

If you’re a VC/Angel Investor and haven’t considered exposure to the region yet, maybe it’s time you do.