We are supported by readers, when you click & purchase through links on our site we earn affiliate commission. Learn more.

8 founders, leaders spotlight fintech and deep tech as Bristol’s prime sectors

The U.Okay. is gaining in recognition as a fantastic place to start out a tech agency. The nation is rapidly catching as much as China on the tech funding entrance, with VC investments reaching a report of $15 billion in 2020, based on TechNation. A world well being disaster however, London remained a favourite for traders. U.Okay. cities made up a fifth of the highest 20 European cities, with names reminiscent of Oxford, Dublin, Edinburgh and Cambridge rising to the fore in 2020.

Bristol proved particularly common amongst tech traders final 12 months — native companies raked in a powerful $414 million in 2020, making it the third-largest U.Okay. metropolis for tech funding. The town additionally has probably the most fintech startups per head within the U.Okay. outdoors London, based on Whitecap’s 2019-2020 Ecosystem Report.

Efforts by town’s personal and public sectors to modernize town have helped it rank among the many top smart cities in the U.K., attracting a bevy of tech entrepreneurs. Its proximity to London has meant that it’s a good various for founders searching for a extra reasonably priced keep whereas letting them faucet the capital’s monetary sources. The College of Bristol additionally has the most important robotics division in Europe.


Use low cost code HARBOURSIDE to save lots of 25% off an annual or two-year Additional Crunch membership.
This supply is just out there to readers within the U.Okay. and Europe, and expires on August 31, 2021.


Bristol can also be dwelling to an necessary startup accelerator, SETsquared. A collaborative effort by the 5 universities of Bathtub, Bristol, Exeter, Southampton and Surrey, the accelerator has supported over 4,000 entrepreneurs and helped their startups increase a complete of £1.8 billion. Different startup help gamers embrace the brand new Science Creates VC fund, arrange by entrepreneur Harry Destecroix, and TechSPARK Engine Shed.

Key rising startups from Bristol embrace Graphcore, Open Bionics, Ultraleap, Immersive Labs and 5 AI.

To get a greater thought of the state of the tech ecosystem and the investor outlook for this metropolis, we surveyed founders, leaders and executives concerned in nurturing Bristol’s startup ecosystem.

The survey revealed that town has a sturdy renewable, zero-carbon and fintech startup panorama. Robotics, VR, bio, quantum, digital and deep tech are additionally areas displaying promise. As for the investing scene, though Bristol has a wholesome angel community, town lacks institutional VC, however with London solely a drive or prepare experience away, this has not proved a major downside.

We surveyed:


Coralie Hassanaly, innovation advisor, DRIAD

Which sectors is Bristol’s tech ecosystem sturdy in? What are you most excited by? What does it lack?
Bristol is powerful in renewable and zero-carbon innovation, fintech and robotics. It’s weak in {industry} 4.0.

That are probably the most fascinating startups in Bristol?
Graphcore, LettUs Develop, Open Bionics, Ultraleap and YellowDog.

What are the tech traders like in Bristol? What’s their focus?
A number of concentrate on fintech, I believe.

With the shift to distant working, do you assume folks will keep in Bristol or will they transfer out? Will others transfer in?
Bristol is a good center floor between a big dynamic metropolis (plus it’s not removed from London) and entry to good countryside space. With distant working we are able to anticipate it’s going to entice new residents within the subsequent few years.

Who’re the important thing startup folks within the metropolis (e.g., traders, founders, legal professionals, designers)?
Aimee Skinner, Abigail Frear and Stuart Harrison.

The place do you assume town’s tech scene will probably be in 5 years?
Second main metropolis in U.Okay. innovation.

Pete Learn, CEO and founder, Persona Schooling

Which sectors is Bristol’s tech ecosystem sturdy in? What are you most excited by? What does it lack?
Bristol is powerful in media/animation, edtech, social influence, well being and science. I’m most excited by edtech and the likelihood to succeed in and positively influence thousands and thousands of scholars by way of on-line studying. It’s weaker in {hardware} and fintech.

That are probably the most fascinating startups in Bristol?
Kaedim, Persona Schooling and One Huge Circle.

What are the tech traders like in Bristol? What’s their focus?
There are a number of very energetic tech funding networks coming from a number of angles, e.g., university-led, teams of personal angels and tech incubators. The nice factor is all of them collaborate and share sources, concepts and experience in initiatives reminiscent of The Engine Shed and Silicon Gorge.

With the shift to distant working, do you assume folks will keep in Bristol or will they transfer out? Will others transfer in?
Extra individuals are transferring in, as Bristol has a fantastic city way of life with quick access to the countryside and Southwest/Wales vacation spots, and a world airport 20 minutes from the middle.

Who’re the important thing startup folks within the metropolis (e.g., traders, founders, legal professionals, designers)?
Jerry Barnes at Bristol PE Membership; Abby Frear at TechSPARK; Briony Phillips at Rocketmakers; Jack Jordan-Connelly at SETsquared.

The place do you assume town’s tech scene will probably be in 5 years?
It’s growing quickly with numerous help, so will probably be greater, attracting extra funding and positively extra on the worldwide scene 5 years from now.

Kiran Krishnamurthy, CEO, AI Labs

Which sectors is Bristol’s tech ecosystem sturdy in? What are you most excited by? What does it lack?
Our tech ecosystem is powerful within the aerospace and protection sector. We’re excited by the scope and scale of digital transformation alternatives with AI out there on this sector. The principle weak point on this sector is the gradual tempo of transformation, particularly now because of the pandemic.

That are probably the most fascinating startups in Bristol?
Graphcore and YellowDog.

What are the tech traders like in Bristol? What’s their focus?
In comparison with the U.Okay. tech sector common, Bristol has a very low proportion of established corporations (4% versus 8%), a better proportion of seed stage corporations (42% versus 37%), and a better dying charge (21% versus 17%). It’s a very younger ecosystem.

With the shift to distant working, do you assume folks will keep in Bristol or will they transfer out? Will others transfer in?
It’s attainable that individuals transferring out of London will come into Bristol because of the transport hyperlinks, sturdy ecosystem and delightful nature of town.

The place do you assume town’s tech scene will probably be in 5 years?
I wouldn’t be shocked if Bristol seems to be San Francisco of Europe!

Simon Corridor, director, Airway Medical

Which sectors is Bristol’s tech ecosystem sturdy in? What does it lack?
Bristol is powerful within the medtech, veterinary, industrial sectors.

With the shift to distant working, do you assume folks will keep in Bristol or will they transfer out? Will others transfer in?
Others have moved in.

Who’re the important thing startup folks within the metropolis (e.g., traders, founders, legal professionals, designers)?
SETsquared.

The place do you assume town’s tech scene will probably be in 5 years?
We’ll see huge development in 5 years.

Ben Miles, CEO, Spin Up Science

Which sectors is Bristol’s tech ecosystem sturdy in? What are you most excited by? What does it lack?
Our sector is weak in entrepreneurial ambition amongst researchers, and so suffers from low charges of deep tech spinout exercise from main universities. We’re most excited by the step change in exercise we’ve got seen up to now two years and tradition shift in the direction of innovation.

That are probably the most fascinating startups in Bristol?
Rosa Biotech, Albotherm and CytoSeek.

What are the tech traders like in Bristol? What’s their focus?
Medium energy in shallow tech; presently weak in deep tech.

With the shift to distant working, do you assume folks will keep in Bristol or will they transfer out? Will others transfer in?
Individuals are transferring in.

Who’re the important thing startup folks within the metropolis (e.g., traders, founders, legal professionals, designers)?
Spin Up Science, Science Creates and Science Angel Syndicate.

The place do you assume town’s tech scene will probably be in 5 years?
Very sturdy in deep tech with an invested area people of entrepreneurs, incubators and traders.

Rupert Baines, ex-CEO, UltraSoC

Which sectors is Bristol’s tech ecosystem sturdy in? What are you most excited by? What does it lack?
Bristol is powerful in wi-fi (5G, 60 GHz, and so on.), semiconductors (particularly processors, AI/ML and parallel architectures), robotics and different arduous tech/deep tech.

That are probably the most fascinating startups in Bristol?
Graphcore, Ultraleap, Blu Wi-fi and 5 AI.

What are the tech traders like in Bristol? What’s their focus?
It’s restricted. There are some angels, however few domestically centered funds.

With the shift to distant working, do you assume folks will keep in Bristol or will they transfer out? Will others transfer in?
A lot the identical: Folks select to stay in Bristol/Bathtub for high quality of life. A lot of the work is already exterior — commuting to London.

Who’re the important thing startup folks within the metropolis (e.g., traders, founders, legal professionals, designers)?
Nigel Toon, Simon Knowles, Stan Boland, David Could and Nick Sturge.

The place do you assume town’s tech scene will probably be in 5 years?
A lot stronger, with extra processor and {hardware} exercise.

Mathieu Johnsson, CEO and co-founder, Marble

Which sectors is Bristol’s tech ecosystem sturdy in? What are you most excited by? What does it lack?
Bristol has a powerful robotics, aerospace and renewables scene. I’m most excited to see how the legacy in aerospace in Bristol will translate to future industry-defining corporations. The ecosystem is weak on the investor aspect, although London VCs are lower than a two-hour prepare journey away.

That are probably the most fascinating startups in Bristol?
Graphcore, Ultraleap and Open Bionics.

With the shift to distant working, do you assume folks will keep in Bristol or will they transfer out? Will others transfer in?
I consider Bristol will turn out to be extra engaging.

Who’re the important thing startup folks within the metropolis (e.g., traders, founders, legal professionals, designers)?
Tom Carter at Ultraleap, and Joel Gibbard at Open Bionics.

The place do you assume town’s tech scene will probably be in 5 years?
Getting nearer to London and Cambridge.

Chris Erven, CEO, KETS Quantum Safety

Which sectors is Bristol’s tech ecosystem sturdy in? What are you most excited by? What does it lack?
Bristol has a powerful biotech, quantum, digital, science-based/deep tech ecosystem. I’m excited by this eclectic metropolis with thrilling those who assume in another way.

That are probably the most fascinating startups in Bristol?
Any QTEC, SETsquared, or UnitDX members and alumni.

What are the tech traders like in Bristol? What’s their focus?
Very early/nascent, principally angels.

With the shift to distant working, do you assume folks will keep in Bristol or will they transfer out? Will others transfer in?
In all probability transfer in! Stunning inexperienced areas round, numerous fascinating, unbiased outlets. And (nearly) commutable from London.

Who’re the important thing startup folks within the metropolis (e.g., traders, founders, legal professionals, designers)?
The incubators — QTEC, QTIC, SETsquared and UnitDX; Bristol Non-public Fairness Membership; Harry Destecroix.

The place do you assume town’s tech scene will probably be in 5 years?
Buzzing. Extra nice startups and VCs transferring in.