We recently questioned ‘How can we define Deep Tech?’ in our first feature for Deep Tech Month and, to clear things up, we’re defining it as “companies founded on a scientific discovery or true technological innovation.” But what are the South West deep tech startups you should know about?

The South West is one of the biggest hubs for tech in the UK, so we want to showcase 11 deep tech companies from the region that you should know about. Whether you’re a huge techie or you just learned what deep tech means, we’re sure you’ll be amazed at the innovative companies that are trying to shape our future from right here in the South West!

Cray / Hewlett Packard Enterprise

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Cray offers a comprehensive portfolio of high performance computing, storage and data analytics Founded by Seymour Cray, considered to be the father of supercomputing, the company was formerly known as Cray Research and accumulates over 40 years of experience in the field. Cray builds innovative systems and solutions that allow scientists and engineers in academia, government and industry to meet existing and future simulation and analytics challenges.

In 2016, Cray delivered a hugely complex Government IT project for the MET Office, the Cray XC40 Supercomputing System, one of the most powerful supercomputing systems dedicated to weather and climate that has enabled the UK to continue to lead the world in weather, climate and environmental science high-performance computing. In late 2019, Cray was acquired by HPE in a transaction valued at £1.01bn, net of cash.


KETS Quantum Solutions

KETS Quantum Solutions helps large organisations fix some of their biggest security problems by combining the power of quantum technologies with the scalability and practicality of integrated photonics. KETS’ unique chip-based solutions, based on technology developed over a decade at the University of Bristol, provide ultra-low size, weight and power without compromising performance.

KETS was successful in securing £2m through publicly funded projects and a seed equity round. Furthermore, KETS has also earned international recognition as they were selected as one of the three startups to join Facebook and BT’s TIP Ecosystem Acceleration Centre in 2017, as well as being named the UK’s Most Innovative Small Cyber Security Company at Infosecurity Europe in 2018.


Ziylo was founded by a University ofBristol graduate in 2014 and designed synthetic glucose-binding molecules that react and adapt to glucose levels in the blood and thereby prevent dangerously low blood sugar levels, known as hypoglycaemia. Diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the world; it is estimated that 382 million people are living with diabetes worldwide, with most of those needing to take insulin.

Formerly a member of SETsquared Bristol, Ziylo was acquired by has been acquired in a deal worth up to (£625m) in potentially one of the largest successes in the University of Bristol’s history, its spin out parent. Ziylo went through the ICURe programme to validate their idea in the marketplace before joining SETsquared Bristol in 2015 and progressing through the business incubation programme.


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Graphcore is a semiconductor company that develops accelerators for AI and machine learning. 

The Bristol-based company aims at setting a new standard for machine intelligence compute with their new IPU processor, specifically designed for AI compute.

Graphcore is one of the most successful tech companies in the UK, with a valuation of over £2bn. It is no surprise that Graphcore has attracted investors in previous funding rounds. Earlier this year, Graphcore secured £159.8m that included leading investment firms Schroders and Fidelity International, contributing to Bristol placing third among the UK’s tech hubs for securing investment


Oracle Corporation

Oracle has come a long way to become the multinational technology company that it is today. In 1977, Software Development Laboratories (SDL) were created in Silicon Valley and one year after the first Oracle was created, it was written in assembly language running on PDP-11 under RSX-11 in 128K of memory and never released.

Nowadays, Oracle ranks as the world’s largest database management company with £72m in sales which contributed to placing the second-largest software company by revenue and market capitalization in 2020.

The company also develops and builds tools for database development and systems of middle-tier software, such as supply chain management (SCM) and enterprise resource management (ERP).



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Rovco provides underwater surveying and inspection services for a range of industries such as oil and gas, scientific research, and renewables. The Bristol-based company is a leading provider of ROV and hydrographic services combining industry-leading expertise with innovative, cutting edge technology.

It’s no surprise that Rovco received 9 tech awards last year, including the SPARKies 2020 ‘Totally Killing It’ award. Furthermore, a couple of weeks ago they officially launched their spinoff Vaarst, a marine robotics company. The company will provide technologies such as the SubSLAM X2, an intelligent data collection system that delivers robotic spatial awareness and live 3D point clouds to any capable device around the world.



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Founded in 2015 by Gareth Williams, Bristol-based YellowDog helps organisations power their innovations with the World’s most scalable cloud native workload management software. Using advanced machine learning, YellowDog scales, controls and optimises compute with their world-class cloud native workload management platform.

Their main products are YellowDog Sigma and Sigma +. Sigma executes workloads in the cloud end-to-end. Workload management, resource provisioning, and data capture from the provider’s object store. The service is delivered via an intuitive and easy to use User Portal for configuration, monitoring, reporting and analytics. Optima, a service that predict workload runtime, helps businesses decide on how long to provision resource, and proactively respond if workloads fail


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Five was founded in 2015 and provides software for safe and cost-effective urban mobility in public transport and solutions to complex urban environments. At Five, they are creating a platform that will empower the industry to build automated driving systems that are safer, smarter, faster and at scale, through applying insights from solving some of the most challenging problems they face.

Five first started out building our own high-functioning, complete autonomous vehicle system and successfully testing it on London’s public roads, then  went on to lead the government backed StreetWise trials, widely thought to be the most complex AV trials completed publicly in Europe.

Five has built up close collaborative links with world-class academic groups, and their in-house research scientists and engineers publish regularly in top academic venues. 


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Ultraleap was co-founded by a PhD student at the University of Bristol in 2013. Their developing hardware uses ultrasound to replicate the sensation of touch by uniting the world’s most advanced hand tracking with the only haptic technology that creates the sensation of touch in mid-air. Ultraleap already has products for sale, including their hand-tracking Leap Motion Controller and a plug-and-play haptic module that integrates virtual touch, including both hand tracking and mid-air haptics.

Having previously partnered with Qualcomm to supply the Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 5G chips for their next generation XR headsets, Ultraleap plans to continue developing their innovative technology with a recent partnership with University College London. 


Blu Wireless


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[Blu Wireless is a pioneer in mmWave communications and a leader in wireless networking equipment for multi-gigabit connectivity, delivering reliable ultra-low latency performance into demanding applications such as Defence, cellular backhaul and High-Speed Transport. The Bristol-based company is disrupting the market with its ultra-fast and seamless 5G mmWave solutions.

The global wireless gigabit market size is estimated at £13.7m in 2021 and it’s expected to grow at a CAGR of 29.8% until 2026, reaching £50.5m by the end of 2026. As a leader in the UK, Blu Wireless aims to change the way people communicate and connect in their daily lives through their product design, unrivalled mmWave systems and Silicon IP.


XMOS was founded in 2005. A University of Bristol spin out, XMOS now employs more than 50 people and has shipped over 1,000,000 units to over 400 customers all around the world. XMOS produces the world’s lowest-cost multicore microcontroller and this is used in products from a range of manufacturers including electronics giant Sony.

XMOS is a deep tech company that not only designs processors and purpose-designed applications that help product designers innovate and get to market fast, putting intelligence at the core of smart devices. Their cost-effective products have been previously used to improve the efficiency of new technology. In 2019, XMOS developed a £0.72 voice processor chip that allows Amazon’s Alexa to function by using only two microphones instead of four.

Main Image Credit: Photo by ThisIsEngineering from Pexels