32 South West tech businesses that are shaping the future
With the launch of the Go:Tech Awards, Business Leader Magazine profiles 32 South West ‘tech’ business that have become pioneers in their respective fields. From CleanTech to augmented and virtual reality, the list reviews all technology related sectors.
As with any list – and because it takes in multiple sub-sectors – there will worthy businesses that have been missed. Please get in touch if you would like to put a business forward for inclusion.
UWE supported Altitude Tech is a start-up venture specialising in robotics and nanomaterials based in the Bristol Robotics Laboratory’s Hardware Incubator.
The business was recently selected to take part in an Innovate UK business trip to South Korea.
Blue Wireless Technology
Bristol based Blue Wireless Technology, is a specialist provider of unlicensed 57-71GHz wireless networking solutions. It was recently named as one of the nation’s key innovators by the European Commission.
Taunton-based Cardstream is run by racing driver and Oxford University graduate Adam Sharpe, who at the age of 14 became the youngest British driver to race at Le Mans. His business provides secure payment processing, white label payment gateway and merchant account services to businesses worldwide.
On a mission to speed up research around cancer, the Cardiff-based business recently moved into a state-of-the-art laboratory within the Cardiff Medicentre and has launched its first range of colorectal organoids, originally derived from patients’ tumours, to help support research around beating the disease.
The business recently received six figure funding from the Development Bank of Wales.
Bristol institution Creditcall operate like a silicon valley business – inclusive, confident and disruptive, it is a payment service provider and payment gateway. A major employer in the region – the company was recently acquired by US based NMI.
(electronic design and manufacture)
Bristol-based Cubik Innovation are expert in the design and development of electronic products for a broad range of industry sectors.
Formerly a resident at the Bristol and Bath Science Park, Cubik was founded by Paul Mullen and recently achieved ISO 9001:2015 accreditation status.
(mobile app – blockchain)
Using modern Blockchain-inspired techniques to benefit the aid sector, Disberse is a fund management platform that drives the transparent, efficient & effective flow & delivery of aid finance.
It enables donors, governments & NGOs to transfer & trace funds through the whole chain, from donor to beneficiary, via intermediaries.
Bristol based Five AI is an industry leader in building the technology and knowledge required to deliver safe autonomous shared EV transport services in Europe’s cities.
Last year it raised £14m ($18m) and £12.8m ($17m) in two rounds to help with its plans to bring autonomous vehicles to Europe’s roads.
Another Engine Shed based business, Gapsquare is the brainchild of Zara Nanu and is using innovative technology and software to provide gender pay gap analysis and reporting.
With research showing that if the gender pay gap were to be eradicated, an additional £41bn of disposable income would be injected into the UK economy – Gapsquare is leading the way in making this happen.
Graphcore has built a new type of processor for machine intelligence to accelerate machine learning and AI applications for a world of intelligent machines.
In November 2017 the company announced a $50m funding round from Sequoia Capital.
GWS Robotics supplies robots for a range of applications, and software development specifically tailored for businesses focused on customer service, from shops to hotels and offices.
It’s most popular robot is called Pepper. It is four foot tall and can dance, laugh, talk and even feel.
Bristol based software company Habu designs coworking software that simplifies tasks such as memberships, bookings and billing for companies and organisations.
Jak Ollett is the company’s CEO.
Based at Bristol & Bath Science Park, Hieta is a product design, development and production company exploiting the modern technology of Additive Manufacturing (AM).
The company is part of the recently established Institute for Advanced Automotive Propulsion Systems (IAAPS), which is undertaking pioneering work in the development of ultra-low emission vehicles.
Bristol-based software company, Invatech Health specialises in the creation and development of innovative healthcare solutions.
Founded in 2014, Invatech brought together an expert team to solve the problem of medicine management in care homes.
Invatec built its own healthcare platform, developed new software and deployed it into pharmacies and care homes. This now ensures prescribing is appropriate, dispensing is correct and administration is safe.
The business describes itself as the ‘Pokemon Go’ for brands and is a location-based experiences platform that gives digital scale to experiential marketing campaigns.
The business has worked on campaigns for the likes of Lynx, Carling and Shakira.
Its strapline is ‘turning disabilities into superpowers’ and the business has lived up to this – creating bionic hands and arms that enhance the human body. Regularly up for awards the company founders are Joel Gibbard and Sammy Payne.
This software company is based at the University of Bath Innovation centre and its app enables customers to order ahead at cafes, coffee shops, lunch spots and bars to beat the queue and earn loyalty rewards.
The founder and CEO is Tom Dewhurst
With more and more consumers fed up with rising energy prices, there has been a wave of alternative suppliers and disruptors entering the market. One of which is green energy disruptor Pure Planet. Technology first, the Pure Planet app allows users to pay less than the power that pollutes.
Silas Adekunle (founder) and his team are the creators of augmented reality gaming battlebots that allow users to tap into the wildest imaginations.
The business is a pioneer in its sector and recently moved to new headquarters on the outskirts of Bristol.
Visiting Renishaw’s HQ in Wootton-under-Edge is akin to visiting a world within a world where the finest brains work on tomorrow’s engineering solutions today.
With revenues of £536.8m (2017), the company is multi-faceted but at its core specialises in creative innovation around measurement, motion control, healthcare, spectroscopy and manufacturing.
The Bath based business recently won a Queen’s Awards for Enterprise and it’s not a surprise. The software designers have helped a wide range of start-ups and industry giants launch disruptive technology products.
One of its standout products is its Performance Development Management System (PDMS).
Since its launch in 2014 in partnership with the English Institute of Sport (EIS), PDMS has been adopted by over 75% of the UK’s national sporting bodies as a tool for monitoring and managing athlete performance and helping avoid injury.
The business is developing 3D vision and Artificial Intelligence techniques to carry out sub-sea inspections.
Rovco is based in central Bristol, close to Temple Meads, and is planning to grow from ten to 30 employees in the next year as it further develops its technologies for use in the offshore renewable industry and oil field decommissioning. It’s founder and CEO is Brian Allen and the business recently received £400,000 investment from the Bristol Private Equity Club.
Chippenham-headquartered Scicys is a listed company with offices all over the world. At its core is a software business that provides cutting-edge IT services and ‘real world’ applications that save businesses time and money.
At the vanguard of innovation in the sector, in its last fiscal year the company posted revenues in the UK of £57.2m.
Founded by Bob Stirling, the company is a fast-growing, advanced engineering business that delivers a range of complex systems and technical services to the aerospace and marine markets. In a major deal, it was recently acquired by Assystem Technologies.
With over 20 years’ experience in the technology industry Systemagic provides IT support, cloud computing and connectivity solutions to businesses. Based in Bradford-upon-Avon, the Managing Director is James Eades.
Based in Frome, the market research company is a specialist in ‘big data’ and boasts that it takes big ecommerce brands from “doing pretty well” to “doing phenomenally well and making millions more in revenue while they’re at it.”
Clients include Boots, Hotels.com and Jimmy Choo.
At the vanguard of its industry, the company create haptic technology which uses ultrasound to create rich, three-dimensional shapes and textures that can be felt, but not seen.
It’s not for nothing this company was recently awarded a Queen’s Award.
This Cardiff based innovation is an online investment service which lets you build personal investment plans and then manages them for you. Richard Theo is CEO and the large team of employees is made up of investment experts, software engineers and entrepreneurs.
Young, approachable and typically ‘Bristol cool’ in its approach, Wriggle is a mobile app that allows users to find and take advantage of exclusive food and drink deals. The company founder is Robert Hall.
An Engine Shed darling, Yellowdog is a software company that specialises in cloud rendering and batch processing. Headed up by Gareth Williams, the business recently received significant investment from the Bristol Private Equity Club (BPEC) to support its growth.
A Bristol University spin-out and Engine Shed resident, Zeetta Networks provide solutions in software defined networking (SDN) for smart city/campus and telecom operators.
An advocate of building smart infrastructure for businesses and cities, it is a pioneer of 5G wireless technology and services.
Established in 2013, Wellington-based Zinter is a manufacturer of 3D printers.
They export their range of 3D Printers to 18 countries around the world and supply some of the world’s largest aircraft manufacturers – including Airbus, a number of space agencies, government agencies and charities.