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12 of Bristol's most exciting technology companies – Growth Business

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12 of Bristol's most exciting technology companies – Growth Business

It has been a maritime trading hub for centuries, but it is Bristol's technology companies that are making waves today.

Alongside Gloucester, Swindon and Bath, Bristol forms the 'Silicon Gorge' technology hub, made up of high-tech research companies. Bristol and Bath's technology sector is one of the fastest growing in Britain, with just under 5,000 technology companies.

According to Beauhurst, the biggest growth in the city's tech scene is coming from SaaS, accounting for 31 percent of tech companies, mirroring the national trend.

But the fastest growing companies span a range of sectors. Bristol has strong green credentials, with a fair share of cleantechs, and was the first city in Britain to be named a European Green Capital. There are 25,000 cleantech companies in the wider West of England region and the region has already committed to becoming net zero by 2030.

Many of these startups are being helped to grow through growth network TechSPARK and the Bristol University-led incubator SETsquared, a partnership between the universities of Bristol, Bath, Cardiff, Exeter, Southampton and Surrey. To date, it has supported more than 5,000 entrepreneurs and helped them raise £4.4 billion in investment.

Complimenting these exciting startups are established companies such as energy technology company Baker Hughes and unicorn Ovo Energy. International technology companies that have moved to Bristol include US company Niantic, which makes VR games, Nokia, Ultrapleap and Anaplan. In May 2023, engineering firm Dyson also announced plans to build a £100m R&D hub in the city, which could house hundreds of software and AI engineers.

The most active investor of Bristol's startups is Seedrs, while angel investors Bristol Private Equity Club, Parkwalk, WebStart Bristol and Molten Ventures have also backed several startups in the city.

List of the most exciting start-ups in Bristol

#1 – Rovco

Rovco has developed underwater vehicles to inspect marine infrastructure and map the seabed. Their products automate offshore wind energy services, including surveying and data reporting to customers to assist in the design, construction, maintenance and performance of offshore wind farms. They also assist in the dismantling of oil and gas infrastructure.

The company was founded in 2016 and has since raised more than £30 million in equity investment.

#2 – Let's grow

LettUs Grow develops technology that allows food to grow without the need for soil. It also allows food to grow faster while using less water, pesticides and fertilizers. Instead, the roots are suspended in the air to give them more access to oxygen and irrigated with a nutritious mist, a method called aeroponics. Types of food that can be grown using the technology include leafy greens, herbs and microgreens.

According to 2022 data from Beauhurst, the company has raised £5m to date.

#3 – Grafcore

University of Bristol spin-out Graphcore has raised the most capital of all Bristol tech startups and is one of Britain's unicorns. Founded in 2016, the company produces semiconductors for use by AI developers, although it has struggled to take full advantage of the AI ​​boom. This is reported by The Telegraph currently looking for potential buyers, with rumored interested parties including OpenAI, SoftBank and Arm.

#4 – Immersive laboratories

Immersive Labs, one of Britain's unicorns, has grown enormously since its founding in 2017. The startup provides cybersecurity training to employees through gamification of real-world scenarios so that they are better prepared to prevent and respond to cyber threats.

According to Tracxn, the company has raised $189 million (£149.2 million) across four funding rounds to date.

#5 – Positioning of focal points

Focal Point Positioning, a spin-out from the University of Cambridge but now based in Bristol, is developing technology to enable tracking of mobile devices not reachable by GPS tracking, using advanced physics and machine learning.

According to 2022 data from Beauhurst, the company has raised £26.2 million in equity investment to date.

#6 – Anaphite

Chemistry lab Anaphite is developing an EV battery manufacturing process that it hopes will accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles. The nanotechnology company's materials improve battery performance and reduce the cost and environmental impact of the manufacturing process. The startup, which was founded in 2018, was awarded £2.5 million by the government in May 2023 and has raised around £5.5 million to date.

#7 – Foolish

Deazy, also based in Bristol, is a marketplace that matches companies with development teams for projects. Customers initially book a call with Deazy to discuss development requirements. This is followed by a review of the developer and team proposals before sharing the project specifications and beginning onboarding of team members. In November 2023, the startup was named as the 40e fastest growing technology company in Britain on Deloitte's Fast 50 list and has raised £6.25 million to date.

#8 – Matter

Matter develops technology to capture, harvest and recycle microplastics from rivers and oceans. One of the patented filtration products fits into washing machines to ensure that 90 percent of microfibers from washing do not enter waterways.

The startup raised $10 million (£7.9 million) in Series A funding in August 2023 and is backed by Leonardo DiCaprio.

#9 – Vertical Aerospace

Stephen Fitzpatrick founded Vertical Aerospace in 2015, after founding unicorn Ovo Energy in 2009. Vertical Aerospace is a carbon-neutral aircraft manufacturer that wants to create a future where we fly electric aircraft for personal travel. The flagship prototype, the VX4, has a range of 160 km, can reach a speed of 240 km/h and produces zero emissions. It can also carry four passengers (plus the pilot).

#10 – Open Bionics

Open Bionics is a 3D printing company that offers prosthetics for amputees. Founded in 2014, their custom arms use sensors to detect muscle contractions in the forearm to dictate hand movements. For its 'Hero Arm', it collaborates with Disney and Marvel to create weapons in the style of superheroes such as Iron Man and Spider-Man. The startup has raised £5.5 million to date.

#11 – Drift energy

Drift Energy's technology has made it possible to create the world's first green energy sailing ships that produce green hydrogen while at sea. The boats use an algorithm to plot the best route where there is the most wind and then store energy through turbines and the kinetic energy produced by the boat moving across the water. Once the tanks are almost full of energy, the boats go to the harbor to unload or dock with a larger 'mother ship'.

#12 – Perceptual robotics

University of Bristol spin-out Perceptual Robotics, founded in 2016, carries out inspections on structures such as wind turbines using drones, so engineers are not at risk. Data from the drones is collected within minutes, which is then used to perform predictive analysis and can be inspected for review on a web-based dashboard. It is based in Athens, as well as its headquarters in Bristol.

More about tech hubs

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12 of the most exciting technology companies in Reading and Thames Valley – Reading's tech hub is the head of the UK's answer to Silicon Valley, the main center of the Silicon Corridor or M4 Corridor

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