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

February brought to light the growth and investment taking place in the East. Despite the national atmosphere of uncertainty, tech entrepreneurs are forging ahead with new ventures and British multinationals like BT are proving their commitment to the region through sustained investment.

East of England tech startup birthrate rose by 5 per cent in 2018

The number of new tech companies being set up in the East of England rose by 5 per cent in 2018 according to new analysis by RSM. In total, there were 748 new software development and programming businesses incorporated in the East of England in 2018, up from 715 in 2017.

Laragh Jeanroy, RSM’s managing partner for Cambridge and Bury St Edmunds, said: “Given the current economic uncertainty, it’s fantastic to see that tech startups across our region have continued their upward trajectory.

“Particular hotspots include Cambridgeshire and Essex which are proving to be a magnet for the next generation of tech entrepreneurs. We are also seeing good interest from venture capital, private equity and traditional funders who are still lining up to commit funds to the right projects.”

To support the growth ambitions of successful UK tech-based scale-ups, RSM has announced its partnership with Upscale 4.0 – a six-month accelerator programme delivered by Tech Nation. They will work with Tech Nation to offer its latest cohort of 30 companies access to its expertise and experience in a bid to assist the next phase of their growth ambitions.

Norwich-based digital staffing platform Pickr secures £1m

Pickr, a digital staffing platform for utility service providers and workers, has raised £1m in a funding round from venture capital firm Episode 1. The new capital will be used to secure key senior hires and to expand Pickr’s existing talent cloud of skilled workers.

Shortlist success shout-out

In addition to their funding success, Pickr has been shortlisted alongside Train As One in the National Technology Awards 2019! Pickr is in the running for Start-up Tech Company of the Year, and Train As One for Healthcare Technology of the Year. We’ll have our fingers crossed for them both on the 16th May.

East cities dominated UK growth in the Irwin Mitchell powerhouse index at #1 #4 #7 and #9. Congrats Cambridge, Ipswich, Norwich and Peterborough respectively!

Liftshare is a finalist in DigitalAgenda’s 2019 Impact Awards.

Rainbird Technologies has been featured on the Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Best-of-Breed Platforms ShortList™ compiled by Constellation. Another prestigious achievement!

BT Group contributes £2.7bn to East of England economy

BT Group published an independent report which reveals that BT is responsible for 12,400 jobs in the East of England, and contributes £2,750 million in GVA in the region. BT is also spending £993 million with local suppliers.

Giles Ellerton, Regional Director, BT Group, Midlands and East Anglia, said: “The report shows that BT generates £1 in every £55 of wealth in the East of England. We’re proud to be one of the region’s largest private sector employers and investors. Our investments, including the latest 5G mobile technology through our mobile network EE, will ensure the UK continues to be one of the world’s best-connected economies. Information and communications technology remains one of three core industrial sectors across East Anglia thanks to our Global Research and Development HQ in Martlesham.”

BT told Tech East: “Our objective is to ensure our products and services are available to help even more people take advantage of an increasingly digital world. Access to the internet opens opportunities for better education, healthcare, jobs, economic growth and new ways of working. Delivering greater connectivity, which can catalyse the East of England towards an economy fit for the future, will require close collaboration across all sectors.”

Tech East expands Workspace Passport Network into Norwich

Tech East members can now benefit from a new co-working location in Norwich as part of the expanding Workspace Passport. The Enterprise Centre at the University of East Anglia (UEA) is the latest location to be added, following The Bradfield Centre in Cambridge, and Runway East in London. Members can book meeting rooms and hot-desk space at each of the venues.

Norfolk Businesses get ultrafast broadband

Thousands of Norfolk businesses will be able to benefit from ultrafast broadband after Norfolk County Council secured £8m from the UK Government Digital, Culture, Media & Sport department’s Local Full Fibre Network (LFFN) fund. They can also enjoy lower fibre connection costs by using private funding to access the upgraded fibre network. Additionally, they can apply to a voucher scheme that will provide up to £2,500 per business to fund their connection and pay the first-year running costs.