engineshed02In case you hadn’t noticed, we are big fans of anyone, or anything, that seeks to boost the profile of the tech scene in Bristol, Bath and the surrounding areas. So it will come as no surprise that we are singing the praises of Silicon Gorge 1.0 – a major coming together of up-and-coming tech companies and investors held last month at Engine Shed.

Backed by the combined might of BathSPARK, TechSPARK, SETsquared, WebStart Bristol, and Invest Bristol & Bath, the event showcased a selection of the region’s hottest tech startups to major investors from London, Wales, and the North East of England.

On the day, 27 companies, all of which were tech or digitally moded, each gave a five-minute pitch on what they had to offer, with topics covered including horse registration, a website aimed at women entrepreneurs, and Twitter sentiment analysis. Of these startups, 10 belonged to SETsquared’s business incubator, eight were from our very own Bristol & Bath tech network TechSPARK, with the remaining entrants recent graduates of the WebStart Bristol internet accelerator.

Labelled a ‘marathon showcase of a beautifully diverse set of companies‘ by the event’s host and director of Engine Shed, Nick Sturges, it sounds like the young guns made quite an impression. He goes on to comment: ‘(the) quality of the investors exceeded our expectations and the businesses received a lot of constructive input – and offers to have follow-up conversations.’

An overwhelming success, Silicon Gorge 1.0 is being hailed as the latest example of how the area is becoming an ever more attractive destination not only for investors but for increasing numbers of new tech firms.

As Nick Sturges puts it, the ‘assumption’ that you have to flock to the capital ‘might be the case for larger venture capitalist investments, but the seed money these businesses need right now is mobile’.

In conjunction with a recent feature in The Sunday Times in which Bristol was labelled the ‘best city to live in Britain’, it would appear that the only way is up for Silicon Gorge. And with plans for a follow-up event later this year, we say bring on round 2.0.

Dale Marshall