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November 2023

Regional tech report: Bristol and Bath

Sponsored by

November 2023

Regional tech report:
Bristol and Bath

Sponsored by

Contents

JUMP TO A SECTION THAT INTERESTS YOU

Introduction

Expert perspectives

Key players

Looking ahead

Contents

JUMP TO A SECTION THAT INTERESTS YOU

Introduction

Expert perspectives

Key players

Looking ahead

Darren Jones MP

The Member of Parliament for Bristol North West 

Foreword

Building on a proud tradition of scientific and industrial advancement, Bristol has established itself as a leading UK city for technology businesses and startups.  

Bristol forms part of the Silicon Gorge and the wider West of England. The city is renowned for its concentration of high-tech companies and has been home to major technology players over many decades. 

Recently, we have also witnessed several homegrown startups make remarkable strides in the development of emerging technologies, all of which has contributed to Bristol’s tech ecosystem. 

Bristol has always been at the heart of innovation in our country, with our world-leading universities and spinout companies, to our engineering heritage. Our engineers of the past delivered supersonic flight and our entrepreneurs today are building our quantum future. That’s why Bristol will host Isambard AI – one of Europe’s most powerful supercomputers.  

I am proud that my home city not only showcases some of the country’s greatest engineering marvels of the past but is now actively contributing to the development of emerging technologies for the future, as this important report sets out. 

Introduction from our sponsors

Bristol and Bath have together developed into a key innovation ecosystem in the UK, and Lloyds Bank is delighted to build on our existing support and presence in the region by contributing to this report.

Significant investment into the region from public sector bodies such as universities and local enterprise partnerships, combined with that from private sector investors and professional services firms, has made the region an attractive place to start and scale a technology business. The region is a leading UK tech hub, as evident in the levels of investment and successes in key subsectors such as cyber and semiconductors.

Collaborative leadership across the local ecosystem continues to be vital in fostering the right environment for tech and innovation-led businesses to thrive. Lloyds Bank has strong roots in the region, itself having a large number of technologists based in its Bristol Harbourside location, managing change and transformation projects, and our in-house Fintech Investments Team is making direct investments into fintech companies such as Moneyhub. We also continue to support local tech businesses through dedicated teams of relationship managers in Bristol, Bath and across the South West.  
Lloyds Matt Brook

Matt Brook

Relationship Director,
SME Business and Commercial Banking at

Lloyds Bank Bristol and Bath

Having recently celebrated the 25th anniversary of our Bristol office, which has grown from a small team of dedicated lawyers to one of our largest offices in the UK, we know what a great place Bristol and Bath are to do business. In working with the fantastic people and businesses that make the South West their home, it’s clear to us not just the regional strengths of where we’re all based, but the global potential of many businesses here.

Any chance to be involved in supporting the area and shining a light on the diverse talent, innovation, and enterprises found in the South West is one that we welcome. Being involved with this report also helps us to play our part in communicating all those strengths to a wider audience with a view to attracting further inward investment and opportunities for the communities based in the area.

We look forward to continuing to work with our clients and contacts to maximise the collective potential of our area, both at home and abroad as part of our network and take the burgeoning Bristol and Bath tech sectors to even greater heights.

Alastair Mitton

Partner at Womble Bond Dickinson

 

Regional tech overview

Bristol and Bath can be characterised by a culture of collaboration, an unusual variety of disciplines and subsectors thriving in the region, and extremely active communities and networks in both cities.

The cities particularly stand out for investment in R&D and innovation hubs at regional universities, producing a high number of university spinouts.

The University of West of England (UWE) is home to FutureSpace, with wet labs and office space for biotech, and Bristol Robotics Lab with a community of more than 400 researchers and industry practitioners working together.

Founded in 2019, the University of Bristol’s Bristol Digital Futures Institute (BDFI) seeks to better understand how technologies and people are shaping the future together.

The University of Bath has produced many spinouts, some of which have relocated to Bristol as they scale. The university also owns the IAAPS advanced propulsion research project which supports the transport industry to transition to net zero through industry and research collaboration.

A longstanding focus on sustainability has produced a high proportion of B Corps in the area and a growing climate tech subsector more generally.

With distinct cultures and histories, both Bristol and Bath are attractive places to live for tech workers, despite high living costs. Local tech businesses report that access to funding has relied on proximity to London, but a number of new investors have set up in the region in recent years.

Ecosystem overview

Key Sectors
Accelerators & Incubators
Support services & providers
Support services & providers
Investors
Tech meetups & groups
Academia
“Bristol and Bath make up a thriving centre of technology and innovation where world-class universities and companies are driving forward the fields of quantum physics, robotics, biochemistry, amongst others. These technologies are already providing novel solutions to the world’s biggest challenges or stand to significantly benefit society in the future. “The region’s technology scaleups have attracted equity investment of over £2bn since 2012 (Beauhurst, 2022), with success stories in the semiconductor, renewable energy, fintech and cyber security sectors, among others.”
Lloyds Matt Brook

Matt Brook
Relationship Director, SME Business and Commercial Banking at Lloyds Bank Bristol and Bath

Bristol and Bath make up a thriving centre of technology and innovation where world-class universities and companies are driving forward the fields of quantum physics, robotics, biochemistry, amongst others. These technologies are already providing novel solutions to the world’s biggest challenges or stand to significantly benefit society in the future.

“The region’s technology scaleups have attracted equity investment of over £2bn since 2012 (Beauhurst, 2022), with success stories in the semiconductor, renewable energy, fintech and cyber security sectors, among others.”

Lloyds Matt Brook

Matt Brook

Relationship Director, SME Business and Commercial Banking at Lloyds Bank Bristol and Bath

“The region stands apart due to the combination of a thriving ecosystem of tech-focused businesses from startups all the way through to unicorn, world-class universities producing highly qualified graduates – many of whom choose to stay or return to the region – a genuinely open and collaborative culture, and the fact that it’s such a great place to live and spend time outside of work.

“The talent, innovation and opportunities really can be found across the area, backed up by the professional services available to launch and scale a business successfully all in what is a relatively small geographic area.  The region is also within easy reach of London and an international travel network which adds further options to those based in the cities.”

Alastair Mitton
Partner at Womble Bond Dickinson

Bristol and Bath make up a thriving centre of technology and innovation where world-class universities and companies are driving forward the fields of quantum physics, robotics, biochemistry, amongst others. These technologies are already providing novel solutions to the world’s biggest challenges or stand to significantly benefit society in the future.

“The region’s technology scaleups have attracted equity investment of over £2bn since 2012 (Beauhurst, 2022), with success stories in the semiconductor, renewable energy, fintech and cyber security sectors, among others.”

Alastair Mitton
Partner at Womble Bond Dickinson

2022 total investment: £975m


Tech sector value: £1.7bn


4th best city for startups in UK


Source: Startups.co.uk

5th city for 2022 R&D spend (£1.89bn)


9% tech sector growth rate


4,894 tech companies in region