SETsquared Bristol has announced that its 80 plus tech startup and scale-up members have collectively achieved record turnover revenues exceeding £58m in 2019. In addition, its members, across 27 sectors, created 240 new jobs in the city region last year.
The University of Bristol-led incubator provides expertise, business support and a caring, connected community for its resident and virtual members. Its programme includes coaching, mentoring, workshops, events, business review panels and investment readiness training.
Its investment training has seen strong results in 2019. In total, 33 members secured funding, raising a total of £64m, which has converted into real economic impact evident in last year’s record amount of turnover revenue.
One of the outstanding successes of the year was Immersive Labs who raised $8m in series A funding and $40m in series B funding to continue innovating their cyber skills development platform.
In addition, Blu Wireless raised £12m to boost the rollout of its processor for 5G chips, and Channel 4’s investment in online travel marketplace, TravelLocal, took their total funding raised to over £8m.
Earlier stage investment successes included agri-tech company, LettUs Grow, who raised more than £3m over two investment rounds, and University of Bristol spin-out, Actuation Lab, who were awarded £300k in Innovate UK funding to develop actuators that survive in the harshest of conditions.
Simon Bates, CEO at Actuation Lab, said: “We have received fantastic support from the University of Bristol and the SETsquared network. Being members has dramatically improved our approach to building our business and has provided us with many opportunities to upskill personally too.”
SETsquared Bristol’s commitment to supporting tech businesses from all backgrounds and communities to stimulate inclusive growth has resulted in an increase in women tech founders/CEO members by 17% and BAME founders/CEOs by 14%. The incubator launched a number of new initiatives in 2019 to accelerate overcoming barriers to diversity in tech, including Back her Business, a pre-incubation programme for women-formed businesses, and the Breakthrough Bursary, funded by SETsquared Alumni, providing three annual bursaries to BAME-led tech startups.
Commenting on the successes of 2019, SETsquared Bristol’s Interim Centre Director, Steve Edwards, said: “2019 was a great year for SETsquared Bristol and its members, as well as the wider ecosystem. We’ve seen more investment into the area’s rich and diverse tech startup scene and even more impressive turnover revenues from our members. We look forward to evolving the incubator’s programme and expanding on our inclusivity projects over the year ahead.”