UK tech boom: The most promising startups of Reading in 2021
While we talk about the UK tech hubs, the first cities that might come to mind are London, Manchester, Cambridge, Oxford, Birmingham, Bristol and others. However, it should be noted that the UK is home to digital suburbs and not just cities. One of the regions that is underrated is Reading.
Reading has been named the third-largest digital technology city in the UK. The industries that have thrived include AI and Data, cybersecurity, fintech, and IoT. To put in simple words, Reading’s tech hub is the head of Britain’s answer to Silicon Valley as it is home to large tech companies including Microsoft, Oracle, Cisco Systems, Huawei and Symantec.
Some of the reasons for this could be the University of Reading, which encourages tech companies and startups to start operations over there. Also, it is not a crowded place and a Tech Nation report claims that Reading has seven times the tech company density than the national average. The other particular advantage is that the city is in close proximity to London.
Without further ado, UKTN has curated a list of 10 Reading tech startups that are booming right now.
Founder/s: Matthew Addis, Richard Lowe
Founded year: 2011
The cloud-based secure digital archiving platform, Arkivum allows businesses in highly-regulated industries to safeguard, use, read and audit their data for decades into the future.
Recently, the digital archiving platform raised a new round of growth equity through private equity investment firm Growthdeck to help businesses preserve their data for the future, solving the growing problem of loss of valuable data through obsolescence and corruption.
CEO: David Shaffer
Founded year: 2011
UK-based stored energy solutions provider EnerSys manufactures and distributes reserve power and motive power batteries, battery chargers, power equipment, battery accessories and outdoor equipment enclosure solutions to customers worldwide.
Last month, the firm brought a transformation with the high-performance NexSys iON batteries engineered with sustainable Nickel Manganese Cobalt (NMC) to deliver relatively higher energy capacity in a smaller footprint.
Blue dot (VATBox)
Founder/s: Isaac Saft, Noam Guzman
Founded year: 2012
AI has ventured into many industries and Blue dot (formerly known as VATBox) takes this tech to the tax accounting sector. The company uses AI to help businesses manage their tax accounting.
In April, Blue dot secured $32 million (nearly £23 million) funding led by Ibex Investors along with Lutetia Technology Partners and existing investors La Maison Partners, Viola and Target Global also contributing. This came soon after its rebranding to VATBox. The company announced that part of the funding will be used to help Blue dot penetrate deeper into the U.S. market.
Founder/s: Charlotte Ransom, Thomas Salter
Founded year: 2015
Netwealth is an online wealth management service offered at a substantially lower cost than traditional wealth managers. Their approach allows clients to choose their wealth objectives, risk tolerance and account type. In 2019, Netwealth raised £10 million led by Michael Spencer along with participation from Jim Mellon.
Founder/s: Richard Parker
Founded year: 2014
Drones are being used for various purposes such as delivering medicines, food and other necessities during the pandemic. Reading-headquartered Altitude Angel is an aviation technology company creating global-scale solutions enabling safe integration and use of fully autonomous drones into global airspace. Its purpose-built cloud platform supports both U-Space and UTM, and delivers market-leading services to drone operators, manufacturers and software developers.
With its solutions, Altitude Angel aims to take on Google’s X company — which announced the OpenSky platform — to become the basis for a full-fledged air-traffic control system for drones.
The UTM provider also raised £4 million funding in December 2020 from Octopus Ventures to capitalise on its reputation as the world’s leader in developing and deploying local and national UTM platforms and expanding its international presence.
Founder/s: Will Brocklebank
Founded year: 2015
IoT startup Shepherd specialises in property performance management. It helps create a smarter, more sustainable environment via a range of data analytical solutions. The Brit company helps users review their commercial property energy consumption and set targets to reduce and measure what is important in real-time. Eventually, it helps reduce the carbon footprint and operating costs by 25%.
Last year, Earthworm, an investor focused exclusively on sustainable projects, invested £1.1 million in the Shepherd to enable its continued growth.
Founder/s: Heikki Suonsivu
Founded year: 2014
As the adoption of electric vehicles is booming, there are many companies that specialise technologies complementing this growing trend. Parking Energy is one such startup that specialises in EV charging solutions. It develops and operates some of the world’s largest EV charging solutions for the real estate sector.
The startup solutions provides everything a real estate owner needs and ensures cost-efficiency, minimum disruption, future-proof, simple processes for the real estate owner, and an increase in the property value.
In February 2020, Parking Energy picked up £3.4 million to develop wireless EV charging technology and ways to deploy it for charging electric taxis in large cities. The project was funded by the UK Government along with partners including Transport for London (TfL), City of Nottingham, Sprint Power and Shell.
Founder/s: Colin Batt, David Floyd, Richard Wharton
Founded year: 2009
British-based international mobile phone and consumer electronics business Bullitt Group designs, manufactures, markets, and sells consumer electronic devices in partnership with global brands. It is the worldwide licensee of Caterpillar Inc. for ‘rugged’ mobile devices and accessories and Motorola for outdoor-orientated consumer electronics.
Bullitt claims several industry firsts, including the first 4G rugged phone (the Cat S50) and the first smartphone with an integrated thermal imaging camera (the Cat S60). The other notable product is Cat S52, the first in a new series line touted as the world’s thinnest fully rugged phone.
Founder/s: Colin Curloss
Founded year: 2007
Emortal enables families to preserve and pass on their digital legacies. The solution has been designed to integrate preservation technology with a future-proof legacy fund to pay for continuous updates. These updates will make sure the digital family heritage lasts for generations. This service will charge you £4.99 per month as a flat subscription fee to preserve your digital content.
Earlier this year, Emortal secured more than £1.3 million via an equity crowdfunding campaign on UK’s Crowdcube to continue to grow and develop its solution. It operates with the ambition to launch the Emortal solution in Q3 2021 and capitalise on the big tech sector interest.
Founder/s: Patrick Leong, Ted Ho
Founded year: 2004
Born in Reading and now headquartered in Silicon Valley, Gigamon is a security firm that helps the world’s leading organisations run fast, stay secure and innovate by providing the industry’s first elastic visibility and analytics fabric that closes this gap. With visibility across their entire hybrid cloud network, organisations can improve customer experience, eliminate security blind spots, and reduce cost and complexity.
Earlier in June, cloud visibility and analytics company announced ThreatINSIGHT Guided-SaaS NDR, which was built to improve SOC (Security Operations Center) effectiveness and reduce analyst burnout. It redefines how SaaS-based security solutions are delivered.