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Tech in the East: The November and December 2018 Roundup


Tim Robinson, COO of TechEast, shares his monthly roundup of the biggest tech news stories from East Anglia.

Accelerator, growth and scaleup programme success

Several East of England tech businesses have secured places on national and international growth programmes.

Norwich-based AI firm, Rainbird, achieved a place on the London Stock Exchange ELITE programme. ELITE is a business support and capital raising ecosystem, designed to help ambitious firms secure the investment they need for growth.

Spark EV, an electric vehicle data company from Newmarket, won a place on Canadian development programme, Creative Destruction Lab. The programme provides businesses with access to a global network of mentors, experts, and investors. The programme is sponsored by global automotive players, including Honda and General Motors.

Spark EV hopes the Creative Destruction programme will help roll out their tech to a global market. Justin Ott, CEO of Spark EV, said: “Increasing the adoption of electric vehicles is a global requirement — and by joining the Cities Stream we can develop our solution and successfully address the growing global need for our technology.”

Three East Anglian tech firms are semi-finalists in the Tech Nation Rising Stars growth programme. Among the finalists are two firms from Norwich: fintech company, Thyngs, and edtech firm, Developing Experts. Hertfordshire e-commerce marketplace, PlayerLands, also made the semi-finals.

Tech Nation’s Rising Stars aims to showcase innovative tech startups from around the UK. The finalists will be announced in London on 6 March 2019. Earlier this year, Thyngs was also selected for Tech Nation’s first fintech programme cohort.

TechVelocity, the Norwich-based accelerator, has announced its winter 2018 cohort of four new startups: In-Let, an insurtech for the sharing economy, Lexxika an online translation platform for travel insurance, Memjo, a memory journal for early stage Alzheimers sufferers, and Resooma, a platform for student accommodation and utilities.

New tech incubator in Colchester and Institute of Technology bid update

A new incubator for tech businesses in Colchester is due to open in 2019.

The Innovation Centre at the University of Essex’s Knowledge Gateway research and technology park will provide workspace for 50 businesses, as well as support for startups. The centre, built in partnership with Oxford Innovation will contribute to the existing business community based at the Knowledge Gateway.

As well as attracting more businesses, the Innovation Centre aims to support students launching startups. Essex County Council provided £2m to the University of Essex to complete the development.

Meanwhile, West Suffolk College in Bury St Edmunds has just submitted its final bid to become an Eastern Institute of Technology, already shortlisted by DfE.  If successful, this will provide East Anglia with an industry-focussed training centre for businesses and employees in the tech sector.

Jo Churchill, Conservative MP for Bury St Edmunds, said: “We currently sit on the cusp of the fourth industrial revolution in one of the most dynamic parts of the country, it is therefore vital that businesses and education work together to ensure that young people have the high skills required for the future economy.”

Three Cambridge-linked tech businesses included in SyndicateRoom Top 100

Three Cambridge-based tech firms have made the SyndicateRoom report on the top 100 fastest-growing businesses in the UK.

Darktrace placed at 34 and Healx, came in at 45. Cambridge and Norwich linked Optalysys, an optical processing firm, placed at 62 in the top 100. Forty-four of the 100 fastest-growing businesses in the UK identified themselves as tech companies.

Tech wins at the Norfolk Business Awards

A number of tech businesses achieved wins at this year’s Norfolk Business Awards.

Hosted by the Eastern Daily Press, the awards honour a diverse range of successful businesses in the region.

The world-class innovation facility, Norwich Research Park, won the 2018 Outstanding Achievement award. FX Home, a photo editing software company, won both the Breaking Boundaries and Customer Care awards. EdTech firm, Developing Experts, won the Tech Innovator award, and Netmatters won the Skills of Tomorrow award for its Scions Coalition Scheme young developer programme.

First Eastern Launchpad connects startups with investors

TechEast hosted its first Eastern Launchpad event at the Bradfield Centre — TechEast’s embassy on the Cambridge Science Park.

The event gave local startups the chance to pitch to investors from the Cambridge area. Businesses pitching were Thyngs,, SupaPass, TrainAsOne, and Omix. Investors in attendance included Accelerated Digital Ventures, Aviva Ventures, Cambridge Innovation Capital, Cambridge Angels and Anglia Capital Group.

Cambridge’s healthy investment ecosystem has not historically extended beyond prized CB postcodes to the rest of East Anglia. This event helped connect investors with startups to which they wouldn’t usually be exposed.

Jonathan de Groot, strategy & finance lead at Accelerated Digital Ventures, said: “The talent we all know exists in Cambridge actually extends out across the East of England. Events like these do a great job of curating the smartest founders in the region and connecting them with investors like ourselves. We’re always looking for founders with big visions for the future so we’re glad to be involved.

East of England productivity growing faster than rest of UK – new Deloitte research

And finally, the first Deloitte Power Up Report paints a positive picture of productivity in the East of England.

According to the report, output has grown faster in the East of England than for the UK as a whole since 2010.

The report also demonstrates the high employment rate in the region. At 78.2%, East Anglia’s employment is close to the record high, and second only to South-West England. The tech and scientific sectors have seen the greatest growth in region.