Loading...

Follow TechSPARK.co on Feedspot

Continue with Google
Continue with Facebook
or

Valid

Bristol University is part of a £7m project to build micro robots that can help repair the underground pipe network preventing disruptive roadworks and road closures.

The 1 cm-long robotic devices will use ultrasonic sensors developed at Bristol to find and mend cracks in pipes. Science minister Chris Skidmore visited the university labs to see the early work on the technology (above).

“While for now, we can only dream of a world without roadworks disrupting our lives, these pipe-repairing robots herald the start of technology that could make that dream a reality in the future,” he said. There are over 1.5m road closures each year for repairs, costing over £5bn. “From deploying robots in our pipe network so cutting down traffic delays, to using robots in workplaces to keep people safer, this new technology could change the world we live in for the better.”

“Having previously taught at the University of Bristol, I know just how deserving it is of its ranking within the world’s top 100 universities. Its research and innovation lead the way in its field and I have seen today how futuristic research can improve lives and make the UK even more competitive,” he added.

“Our new research programme will help utility companies monitor hidden pipe infrastructure and solve problems quickly and efficiently when they arise. This will mean less disruption for traffic and the general public,” said Professor Kirill Horoshenkov from the University of Sheffield’s Department of Mechanical Engineering who is leading the project that includes work from Leeds and Birmingham.

“This innovation will be the first of its kind to deploy swarms of miniaturised robots in buried pipes together with other emerging in-pipe sensor, navigation and communication solutions with long-term autonomy,” he said.

The funding is part of the £93m Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) robotics challenge. “It is work like this being carried out at Universities across the UK that has cemented R&D at the heart of our modern Industrial Strategy, with the biggest boost to funding in UK history to create high skill jobs and boost productivity across the country,” said Skidmore.

The post Swarms of tiny robots monitor pipelines appeared first on TechSPARK.co.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Bristol-based IMDb, the #1 movie website in the world, has announced the launch of IMDb Freedive, a free streaming video channel available in the United States on the IMDb website via laptop or personal computer and on all Amazon Fire TV devices. IMDb Freedive, an ad-supported channel, enables customers to watch hit TV shows including Fringe, Heroes, The Bachelor and Without a Trace, as well as top Hollywood hits like Awakenings, Foxcatcher, Memento, Monster, Run Lola Run, The Illusionist, The Last Samurai, True Romance and more without purchasing a subscription.

IMDb is expanding its video offering beyond short-form original series, trailers and celebrity interviews. IMDb Freedive offers popular, full-length movies and hit TV shows – for free, with ads. Customers can dive even deeper into the titles they are watching on IMDb Freedive by using X-Ray, which is powered by the authoritative information on IMDb about cast, crew, trivia, soundtracks and more. Popular IMDb original video series, including The IMDb Show, Casting Calls and No Small Parts, are available to stream on IMDb Freedive now.

“Customers already rely on IMDb to discover movies and TV shows and decide what to watch,” said Col Needham, Founder and CEO of IMDb. “With the launch of IMDb Freedive, they can now also watch full-length movies and TV shows on IMDb and all Amazon Fire TV devices for free. We will continue to enhance IMDb Freedive based on customer feedback and will soon make it available more widely, including on IMDb’s leading mobile apps.”

IMDb Freedive is available beginning today at www.imdb.com/freedive, on IMDb’s website via laptop or personal computer and on Fire TV devices. Fire TV customers will see the new IMDb Freedive icon in the “Your Apps & Channels” row, making it easy to find free movies and TV shows. On Fire TV, simply say “Alexa, go to Freedive,” to immediately access, browse and enjoy free movies and TV shows.

The post IMDb Launches free streaming service featuring hit movies and TV shows appeared first on TechSPARK.co.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Many business leaders find it difficult to identify suitable grants to apply for, which suit both the aims of the business and fund provider. Once identified, it’s then important to understand the key objectives of the fund provider, and to clearly communicate within the bid how your project satisfies these aims.

Here are some tips from founders of South West tech scale-up businesses, taken from the 2018 series of Threads Meetups, helping you to make best use of grants as useful supplements to your financing.

Discussion points from ‘How can founders get the best from grant funding?’.

Here are some take-away thoughts from the December 2018 Threads discussion.

We would be pleased to hear your views, challenges and experiences. Please feel free to comment, or to contact the organisers directly if you’d prefer.

Grants are useful as one element feeding into an overall funding strategy for the business; these can be small amounts, which can help towards the next major investment milestone.

It can be a struggle to find up-to-date information on grants, funds and sources of investment; better signposting is needed. Briony Phillips’ scale-up enabler map is a good resource. https://grantfinder.com/ is a paid-for resource that can also be useful.

Innovation loans are available through InnovateUK. These currently offer 3.7% interest rates on up to £1m, paid back when the product is selling/shipping, which could be three to 10 years off.

Innovation loans are for 100% of the cost and do not require matched funding. There is less competition for these as they are new and aren’t so well known. It could take six to nine months from submission to decision; plan and budget accordingly.

Grant assessors will likely look at your business and its leadership team, checking that the firm has not been brought into existence purely to secure grant funding. Have your house in order.

Most businesses find it difficult to secure grants, so take courage that others are finding it difficult too. It is partly a numbers game and if there is resource to do so multiple bids should be pursued in parallel.

Grants are often paid quarterly in arrears so be ready to fund the work yourself until the grant funding arrives. They are typically 70% of the total project cost or less, so make sure you have your accounting worked out beforehand.

A bid for a grant is more likely to be successful where there is a proper match between the aims of the grant funder and the objectives of your project. Consider the funder’s motivations and what it wants to see as outcomes, and tailor your bid accordingly.

Remember whose money it is – it’s not free jam! In the case of Innovate UK it is public money intended to fund innovation which has social benefit, e.g. boosting jobs, sustainability or diversity. Tailor your bid accordingly.

If it is a technical grant, seek to truly understand its technological objectives and to clearly express the technological uplift that your project will deliver. These objectives can be hard to decipher from the described aims of the grant funder so you may need to read between the lines.

SBRI (Small Business Research Initiative) can be a good scheme as they are 100% funded.

ERDF (European Regional Development Fund) runs in two year cycles, so timing may be a consideration.

DASA grants (Defence and Security Accelerator) are similar to SBRI, as contracts, at 100%.  

It can sometimes be possible to get government funding by way of a contract, particularly in the defence sector. This may be preferable to grant funding as contracted work may allow a claim against R&D tax credits and the IP ownership terms may be more favourable.

Grant funds with broadly described aims can be trickier to target, as it is difficult to illustrate how your bid will satisfy these aims.

Balance the effort:reward – it usually takes a similar amount of time to bid for a grant, whether the amount is large or small, so direct your energies effectively.

Get familiar with the art and science of writing effective bids for grants by attending workshops provided in the local ecosystem – SETsquared and its ‘scale-up program’ run practical sessions.

Ask around and see if people will share their successful and unsuccessful grant applications – there are lots of different styles, but make sure the content is right first!

Founders expressed mixed feedback about paid for bid research and bid writing, finding it takes a while for third parties to get familiar with their domain challenges and product USPs. It’s usually best for founders to author the first draft, then seek refinement; Business West has proven grant writers which can be called upon at this stage.

The providers of grants do not like program overruns. It is usually important to them that the money is spent on schedule. Overspends are less of an issue as their funding commitment is fixed and so to them, any overspend is just additional investment from you.

If you don’t own your IP, grants may not be for you – other than for developing internal processes. This is particularly true for Innovate UK grants – they are looking for innovative ideas which can benefit the UK economy in the long term.

Alternatively, if you don’t own your own IP, you could subcontract or collaborate on grants, securing the money by proxy.

It’s hard to qualify for process improvement grants as you can’t give back the value that you create, so you may prefer to seek funds which seek to boost skills instead.

When working in partnership on a grant bid, as a subcontractor, or in assigning a subcontractor to support your own project, first carefully ensure that values and objectives align. A poor fit can have long-term ramifications.

Threads Meetups are a way for Founders and Managers of technology businesses to share learning, experiences and conundrums. These roundtable discussions unpack topics around leadership, business and operations. Most people find at least one improvement to take away and implement.

Threads is held from 6:00pm to 8.30pm on the first Wednesday of each month. To RSVP, head to the Threads South West Meetup page.

For more Founder’s scaleup tips, follow Threads on twitter, and keep an eye out for more Threads guest blogs on TechSPARK.

Matt Butcher

Matt Butcher has a PhD in Physics and a background in sales and marketing, commercialisation, IP, and project management. He has held director level positions in a number of University spin-outs and is currently CEO of Inductosense.

The post Threads #14: Top tips on getting the best from grant funding appeared first on TechSPARK.co.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Foresight Group  announces the £1.5 million investment from the Foresight Williams Technology EIS Fund into Open Bionics Limited.

The investment has been made alongside an identical commitment from Downing LLP and Ananda Impact Ventures of £1.5m each and Rathbone Nominees to complete the £4.66m round.

Open Bionics is an award-winning designer, manufacturer and supplier of bionic limbs with ambitions to become a market leader in a range of bespoke prostheses and assistive technologies and a global supplier of prosthetic and orthotic products and services.  Based in Bristol, the Company was founded just four years ago by CEO Joel Gibbard and COO Samantha Payne, since when the team has grown to 23.

Andrew Bloxam, Senior Investment Manager at Foresight said, “The Fund’s strategy is to support innovative UK businesses with disruptive technologies. Open Bionics is a great example of engineering innovation and disruptive technology that has the potential to grow the market significantly. We look forward to working with the management team as they grow their business and helping with the commercialisation of this life-changing technology.”

The Company’s first commercial product, its Hero Arm, uses 3D printing and simplified mechanical systems which have opened up attractive new markets for whom bionic functionality was hitherto too expensive. Combining this competitive pricing with commercial licences from Disney, Marvel and Pixar, positions the Hero Arm most favourably with children as young as eight and adolescents, changing their perceived disability into superhero status.

Joel Gibbard, CEO, Open Bionics commented: “We’re thrilled to receive this investment from the Foresight Williams Technology EIS fund. We’re excited to have support from Williams on scaling our manufacturing process as we begin serving the United States and other overseas markets.”

Matthew Burke, Head of Technology Ventures, Williams Advanced Engineering, said “Williams Advanced Engineering is excited to work with the team at Open Bionics and share our expertise in product development systems. Alongside the Fund’s investment, Open Bionics will benefit from the engineering and technology experience at Williams and the investment management and growth experience of Foresight’s team of investment professionals. Together this aims to be an ideal combination to deliver for the sector, its customers and the wider UK economy.”

The post Open Bionics attracts investment from F1 team Williams as part of latest growth round appeared first on TechSPARK.co.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

The UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK, has awarded the agri-tech company a grant of £399,650 to lead a £700,000 project – which will help increase food resilience and security in the face of climate change. LettUs Grow will work alongside ECH Engineering, industry leaders in controlled environment technology, and urban agriculture experts from Grow Bristol.  This is alongside a further €100,000 from the Green Challenge and several additional research grants.

The grants came hot on the heels of the disruptive startup’s most recent investment round, where they raised £460,000 from ClearlySo, Bethnal Green Ventures, the University of Bristol Enterprise Fund II, managed by Parkwalk Advisors, and angel investors. This funding has allowed the company to scale operations and drive forward product development to access a rapidly growing global market for efficient and sustainable farming technology.

By 2050, humanity must increase food production by 70% to feed over 9 billion people. Existing methods of agriculture will not be enough to feed this burgeoning global population with 25% less farmland, degraded soil quality, and an ever more unstable climate. Alongside this, most ‘fresh’ produce is imported out of season, often travelling hundreds of miles to reach consumers and resulting in colossal waste throughout the supply chain.

To help solve this problem, LettUs Grow has designed a patent-pending aeroponic system that has shown growth rate increases of over 70% compared to existing solutions for leafy greens, salads and herb production. In aeroponics, instead of using soil, plant roots are suspended in a nutrient-dense mist. This results in faster growth rates than conventional hydroponics, consistent and predictable yields, and a 95% reduction in water usage versus open-field farming. LettUs Grow doesn’t use pesticides or herbicides and massively reduces the environmental impact of delivering food from farm to fork, by siting farms in rural and urban locations.

Charlie Guy, co-founder and Managing Director of LettUs Grow said “This injection of private and public funding into the company enables us to accelerate our innovative products to market and build one of the most technically advanced facilities for indoor growing in the world.

“The global agri-tech industry is very exciting right now, all stemming from the necessity to improve the economic and environmental sustainability of food production. We are fielding enquiries from all around the world from food producers and farmers who want to experience the benefits of our technology across a growing range of crops.”

Matias Wibowo, investment manager at ClearlySo said “Innovation is critical to ensuring long-term food security and sustainability. Our investors see the value, both in terms of financial and environmental/social returns from tackling this systemic global problem. That’s why they got involved in LettUs Grow. LettUs Grow provides the technological innovation piece to the vertical smart farming movement that is currently trending rapidly in the urban context.”

The post LettUs Grow secures £1m to build farms of the future appeared first on TechSPARK.co.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Did you catch everything at Bristech this year? The one-day tech event, showcasing speakers from across the technical spectrum, was jam-packed with incredible talks. Ranging from the more technical tools, languages, techniques and frameworks to questions of ethics, soft skills and diversity there was something for everyone. Of course, you may not have been able to attend, or catch all the talks you wanted to see, which is where we come in. The Bristech team have released the videos for all the talks at last months conference, and we’ve compiled a few for you here.

Dora Militaru: Where are the Women?

Dora is a senior developer at the Financial Times, where she works on FT.com.

Her hit talk will help you understand and begin to fix the diversity issue in technology and beyond. It’ll help you contribute to our community becoming more accessible, inclusive, and welcoming for everyone.

Dora Militaru - Where are the women? - YouTube

Ben Byford: Holistic ethical machines

Ben is an AI ethics researcher, technologist and host of the Machine Ethics Podcast.

His talk takes a quick look at some of the issues, at the design, business, data and algorithms that make up a holistic view of creating ethical AI.

Ben Byford - Holistic ethical machines - YouTube

Cecilia Thirlaway: The art and science of communicating complex messages 

Cecilia is a strategic comms consultant and writer working with technology companies, innovation teams, and change/innovation consultants to help them express what they do clearly and effectively, engage their audiences, and bring about change.

Her talk seeks to answer the question of how to communicate well and tell the right kinds of stories about technology to overcome some of these problems. Taking look at some tried and tested communications techniques to help.

Cecilia Thirlway - Talking Tech: the art and science of communicating complex ideas - YouTube

Antony Waldock: Learning to navigate in unstructured environments

Antony is a principal robotics engineer building new products at Dyson using the latest machine learning techniques.

This talk discusses the challenges involved in navigating in an unstructured and changing environment and highlights the importance of extensive real-world testing especially as machine learning approaches become more prevalent.

Antony Waldock - Computer Vision: Learning to navigate in unstructured environments - YouTube

Viki Johnson: Enhancing Exhibits with augmented reality

Viki is an XR Developer at Zubr, here in Bristol, where she works on an ever-changing variety of augmented reality projects,

Her talk discusses how to use AR to add value to your galleries. How to enlighten visitors and enhance their experience in a way that is sympathetic to the message you are trying to send, with the help of this wondrous and pretty exciting technology.

Viki Johnson - Enhancing Exhibits with Augmented Reality - YouTube

These are just a few of our highlights from Bristech, you can find the full videos for all 18 talks on the Bristech YouTube Channel.

The post Check out all the videos from Bristech 2018 appeared first on TechSPARK.co.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Techmodal, a Bristol-based consultancy and technology company, have committed to jointly fund a three-and-a-half-year full-time PhD studentship in collaboration with UWE. The studentship opportunity will be in the area of Cyber Security within the Faculty of Environment and Technology. Applications are currently open until 23rd January 2019.

The studentship is available from 1st April 2019 and based primarily at UWE’s Frenchay campus within the Computer Science Research Centre with regular visits to Techmodal’s Queen Square office. Full time tuition fees and travel costs for project partners will be funded by Techmodal and UWE in addition to a yearly tax-exempt stipend.

The research project will explore the use of blockchain technology for shared collaborative project planning in secure military environments, researching the exchange between privacy-preserving technologies and encryption techniques, and the needs for transparency and explainability.

Techmodal are looking forward to collaborating with UWE on this exciting project, which further establishes Techmodal as a committed investor in talent with the Bristol tech community. More information about the studentship can be found here.

Kempton Cannons, CEO of Techmodal says, ‘This is an excellent opportunity for a talented individual to work alongside us and benefit from our specialist knowledge and unique access to the Defence industry. We’re passionate about investing in local technology talent and this collaboration with UWE is just the start of our commitment.’

The post Techmodal fund PHD studentship with UWE Bristol appeared first on TechSPARK.co.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

The region’s leading tech companies are out in force at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas this week. From AI to voice control, mid air haptics to the latest VR displays, companies are meeting partners and customers to show their latest developments.

Bristol chip designer XMOS is showing its far field voice capture technology at the show.

“We are one of many exciting tech companies flying the flag for Bristol here in Las Vegas at CES 2019,” said Mark Lippett, CEO of XMOS. “XMOS tech delivers accurate voice-capture from across the room – even in a noisy environment. We’re driving rapid development in microphone array, algorithms and artificial intelligence to bring a more seamless ‘human’ experience to our interactions with virtual assistants like Alexa. Voice technology is becoming mainstream in consumer electronics and our technology is at the heart of it.”

XMOS is demonstrating the world’s first voice-activated personal assistant device that listens to where you are – and then speaks only to you. Holosonics has combined its patented directional speaker technology with XMOS VocalSorcery microphone hardware to point an audio reply directly at the person who queried the device.

“The Holosonics team is thrilled about the partnership we forged with XMOS to bring together XMOS spatial audio capture expertise with Audio Spotlight directional sound to create what we believe is the next level in personal assistant device technology,” said Dr F. Joseph Pompei, CEO and founder of Holosonics. “By incorporating the option of focused sound into the existing available features of a personal assistant, we find ourselves in the very exciting position of creating the next chapter in the evolution of assistive voice-activated devices.”

Other products using XMOS technology at the show include Pillo (above), a healthcare companion from PilloHeath that was honoured in the 2019 Innovation Awards and ShadeCraft, a robotics and technology company based in Los Angeles that’s using XMOS technology for self-operating, weather-optimised, smart-home hubs in parasols for outdoor living.

Ultrahaptics is showing its mid air haptics technology for a wide range of applications, making physical buttons and touchscreens disappear in cars, and designing, developing, collaborating and learning using 3D environments with AR, as well as bringing magic to VR play.

After winning awards at last year’s show, it is working with distributor Arrow Electronics on an interactive installation that shows the services they provide through the life of a product using Ultrahaptics’ mid air touch tech.

Plessey in Plymouth has been honoured in the CES 2019 Innovation Awards, and is showcasing its microLED technology at the event. It is working with material supplier Nanoco Technologies to shrink the pixel size of its displays using Nanoco’s cadmium free quantum dot (CFQD quantum dots) nanoparticles.

Plessey will integrate the CFQD quantum dots into selected regions of blue LED wafers to add red and green light, shrinking the pixel size from today’s 30µm to just 4µm for smaller, higher-resolution, microLED displays in applications such as AR/VR devices, watches, and mobile devices.

“The nano-sized emitters with narrow band emission make them a suitable solution for Plessey’s microLED display roadmap, which will see pixels being driven down to 4µm in size by 2019,” said Mike Lee, President of Corporate and Business Development at Plessey.

In AR/VR goggles or head-up displays, Plessey’s microLEDs already offer ten times the resolution, 100 times the contrast ratio, and up to 1,000 times the brightness with half the power consumption, doubling battery life in portable devices.

From Graphcore, the region’s first billion dollar chip ‘unicorn’, Victoria Rege is looking at the technical definitions and use cases associated with AI and exploring its potential in the conference. As the head of Strategic Partnerships, she is expanding on the opportunities, fears and requirements of the consumer technology industry to support AI’s continued growth and evolution.

Silas Adekunle, CEO and co-founder of Reach Robotics, is also at the show to discuss the evolution of robotics.

You can look back at last year’s show at Bristol firms to show world-leading tech at CES 2018

The post Southwest companies shine at CES 2019 appeared first on TechSPARK.co.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Train delays could be a thing of the past, thanks to a system that predicts when part of a train track, signalling equipment or other devices at a station are likely to fail. It does this by using thousands of sensors and 3D modelling that taps into big data.

The system, currently in development, will also allow engineers to use Augmented Reality (AR) via a smartphone or a Head Mounted Display (HMD) to locate failing components or structure faults and read on-screen instructions in real-time to help them with repairs.

The project is a collaboration involving the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol), smart engineering solutions company Costain and engineering technology start-up Enable My Team (EMT), which is the project lead.

A network of Internet of Things (IoT) sensors will initially be installed in 2019 in London Bridge Station, which is to be used as a test site. The sensors will gather data on tracks and station facilities, such as ventilation systems, barriers or lighting before sending it to a software called i-RAMP (IoT-enabled Platform for Rail Assets Monitoring and Predictive Maintenance).

The system will then use Artificial Intelligence (AI) techniques to analyse the data and to predict when a fault is likely to occur and highlights any stress points or component failures on a 3D virtual model of the station and tracks.

It is set for completion in April 2020, after which it will be trialled with selected customers for up to nine months. Five other train stations in the UK have been approached to serve as testing sites for the technology. The roll-out of the scheme is planned for 2021.

Professor Lukumon Oyedele, Assistant Vice-Chancellor, Digital Innovation and Enterprise, who is the principal investigator on the project at UWE Bristol, said: “Every day in the UK, production is adversely affected by the hundreds of hours lost through train delays, often caused by faulty signal boxes or broken tracks.

The system will enable companies to fix a problem before it even becomes one, and at a time when commuting is not disrupted, all thanks to the IoT sensors in the station and on the track.”

IoT sensors can transmit a whole variety of data including vibration, strain or pressure on a structure, humidity or temperature. Using several such components will enable train companies and station managers to monitor many parts of a train network at the same time.

Sandeep Jain, who is Founder & CEO at Enable My Team (EMT), said: “i-RAMP could bring reliability to the 1.7 billion annual passenger journeys on the UK railway, increasing productivity across the country. With machine learning and big data processing we can predict problematic vegetation, damaged structures and faulty signals, allowing repairs to be implemented before issues arise.”

The system will also allow engineers to use Augmented Reality (AR) technology that offers them information about the location of faulty components and provide guidance on how to fix it. As well as orienting them to the exact place where the problem lies, it will also supply them with real-time instructions and warn of dangers when carrying out the repairs

Professor Oyedele said: “By wearing a headset or using their mobile phones, engineers can view instructions superimposed on the joint or electrical circuit that they are repairing or replacing. For instance it might give information or warnings about the presence of high voltage in a section of a control panel, or how to disassemble an electric circuit in a signal box in a safe way.”

The post UWE Bristol collaborates on project to make train delays a thing of the past appeared first on TechSPARK.co.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Happy new year! 2018 has been fantastic for the tech cluster in Bristol & Bath, but we’re not ones to rest on our laurels. We’ve spoken to a few of the amazing community leaders her and asked them to fill us in on their highlight for the year and what they think we’ve got to look forward to in 2019.

Nick Sturge – Director, Engine Shed

I think that 2018 was a year of consolidation. We have done a lot of work, collectively, on understanding the gaps, opportunities and strengths in the cluster. These all show there is some so much authentic activity – business, social and collaborative around here. So, the thing that rocked my boat this year was the Sparkies – getting 400 people celebrating the cluster was genuinely awesome, as well as genuine.

We saw some significant businesses raising above the parapet and appearing massively on the international radar in the last year – not least Reach Robotics, Xiylo, Ultrahaptics and Graphcore. I’m expecting to see a number of other solid, sustainable, well-run businesses become anchors of our cluster and further strengthen the Bristol & Bath cluster as a powerhouse of solid growth (as opposed to vapour-ware).

I also think that we’ll see some real progress on the actors in the ecosystem working together on ways to make our economy more inclusive. This is not an agenda that anyone owns: our economy, wellbeing and prosperity will benefit from more people being included in the economic activity in the region. There have been some great initiatives kicking off in the tech sector especially, and 2019 needs to see us building on that – and preferably prioritising energy to doing rather than talking.

Briony Philips – Associate Director & Scale-up Business Enabler, Engine Shed

It’s hard for me to name just one thing that excited me last year. We retained our title as the UK’s most productive tech cluster (thanks TechNation), Liz Truss MP visited to highlight our potential to become the UK’s Silicon Valley (thanks to our status as the fastest-growing part of the UK economy outside London), we saw Graphcore announce a further $200m funding round and take the title as the region’s first unicorn and our first official ‘grow on’ space for fast growth companies opened in central Bristol.

This year I’m expecting to see more of the things that make our region special – not least collaboration, innovation and camaraderie!

Mike Jackson – Entrepreneur Success Director, Tech Nation

The two landmark events for 2018 have been the opening of Runway East – and the fact that it was full of companies, many of them the same as those we were helping as startups four or five years ago in the Engine Shed.  Seeing them now, all as scaleups is fantastic.

The second thing about this year, is the very recent news that Graphcore has become the first true unicorn in Bristol. Even though that’s just one company and it doesn’t necessarily mean the whole ecosystem is changing it’s a badge for Bristol. It means that other investors will now have Bristol on their map in a way that they didn’t before

For 2019 I think it’s more of the above. More co-location and co-working spaces, more accelerators and incubators more ancillary ‘things.’ There are going to be some interesting announcments about some dining clubs and entrepreneur societies coming soon. Bristol is a big enough ecosystem to have two, three or half a dozen of something it’s not a single ‘thing’ city as you sometimes see. We’ll see more companies scaling, building jobs that benefit the local economy, hiring high-paid, high-skilled people in Bristol and building out into global companies, world-leading companies from our home city.

David Foreman – General Manager, Runway East Bristol

What really excited me about 2018 was the opening of two new large co-working spaces in Bristol, alleviating the chronic shortage of scaleup space in Bristol. Desklodge House and, of course, our Runway East.

In 2019, following on from the brilliant news that Graphcore became the city’s first unicorn, I’m excited to see who’s next and how many we can foster.
Tatjana Humphries – Senior Business Executive – Creative and Tech, Invest Bristol & Bath
We have lots of exciting projects in the pipeline from Bristol & Bath company expansions, to national relocations and some really exciting international brands looking to expand across the city region. Hope we continue to see these kinds of projects and Bristol & Bath continues to be the number 1 location to innovate!
So many to choose from including Graphcore’s latest raise and achieving Unicorn status, to the opening of delaware’s first UK delivery hub. For me though it has to be the selection of Bristol by Channel 4 as the destination of its new creative hub. Whilst next steps are still being worked on, the bid process not only showcased the strength and ambition of the entire ecosystem, but truly celebrated the collaboration of the tech and creative sectors.
Ben Shorrock – Managing Director, TechSPARK 
This year has been awesome for the tech cluster and has really shown how it’s matured in the last few years! From Ziylo selling for $800 million to Graphcore being named our first unicorn and Channel 4 moving in, it’s been a brilliant year.
We have lots of super exciting plans for 2019 launching projects around skills, diversity and growing geographically so that’s pretty cool! For the cluster, I’m hoping we see more ace companies coming through and showing how brilliant, world-beating companies can come out of the South West!
Want to stay caught up on all the Tech news coming out of the cluster in 2019? Follow TechSPARK on twitter @TechSPARKuk, Instagram @TechSPARKuk and on Facebook. You can also join our Facebook discussion group to get to know the Tech community here a bit more.

The post What’s 2019 got in store for Bristol and Bath Tech? appeared first on TechSPARK.co.

Read Full Article

Read for later

Articles marked as Favorite are saved for later viewing.
close
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Separate tags by commas
To access this feature, please upgrade your account.
Start your free month
Free Preview