Spotlight on: 10 top tech investment raises in Bristol and Bath

There's no limit for South West tech companies when it comes to investment, here are some of the most impressive from the past few years
30th March 2017

With TechCity’s UK digital tech sector report fresh out of the press, Bristol and Bath are revelling in the success of its tech cluster, boasting an impressive £109 million of investment raised by its tech businesses and startups in 2016.

To celebrate, we’ve put together a list of some of the most impressive investment raises by individual technology companies in the region.

Graphcore – $30m (£24m)

Bristol-based startup Graphcore fast tracked its way to an impressive raise of $30million from worldwide venture capitalists late last year in order to develop its machine learning and artificial intelligence chip and system development technology.

The company has emphasised keeping investors relevant to its goals. So, with plans to have its chips powering the edge of the internet in consumer devices and driverless cars, having investors that specialise in this field such as Samsung and Bosch has formed part of its key to future success.

Ultrahaptics – £10.1m

Ultrahaptics was founded by University of Bristol PhD student Tom Carter, incubated by world-leading university incubator SETsquared, and quickly rose to fame when investors saw the huge potential and excitement around its unique haptic feedback technology. In case those words mean nothing to you, its tech lets you feel and interact with things in mid-air which aren’t really there (check it out in the video below).

Raising £10.1million in November 2015, the company is now working to create virtual reality experience where you can touch virtual objects and has grown so fast it now occupies a large central Bristol office with more than ten-fold the number of staff and developers it had last year.

Blu Wireless Technology – £10m

Earlier this year Blu Wireless Technology sealed a £10million deal with ARM – a world leader in microprocessing technology – to develop 5G chip designs chip for high-speed modems that run up to 10Gbit/s.

Working together strategically means that Blue Wireless’ modem will combine with ARM processors for small mobile phone base stations that include processing and storage to provide faster browsing.

Industrial Phycology Ltd – £2.2m 

Industrial Phycology, which is based at the University of Bath Innovation Centre, was awarded a £2.2million Horizon 2020 grant in late 2016.

The funds will allow them to grow its team and continue to develop its incredible biotechnology that uses microalgae on a mass scale to recycle wastewater, converting it into green energy and livestock feed.

Zeetta Networks – $2m (£1.6m)

Bristol-based startup Zeetta Networks has developed a unique software approach to network solutions called NetOS, which received $2million in venture capital investment back in December 2015.

The software simplifies and dramatically increases the performance of ICT networks and can enable the deployment of services such as ultra-HD video distribution, city-wide Wi-Fi and the Internet of Things.

FiveAI – $2.7M (£2m)

FiveAI is a Bristol-based startup that’s developing artificial intelligence and machine learning software for fully autonomous vehicles.

The £2million backing the company received from venture capital funds Hauser’s Amadeus Capital Partners, Spring Partners and Notion Capital, will fund a bigger team for the development of the technology as well as simulation and road testing of the software.

It’s hoped that the company will develop to the top level of autonomous operation, Level 5, similar to the Google cars currently being testing in California.

Living Map – £1.2m

Bath-based Living Map is unlocking the potential of our spaces and cities. They won the UK Big Pitch, an Engie investment pitching competition, back in May 2016 and went on to receive £1.2million worth of investment.

Living Map’s clever and eye-catching smart maps have caught the imagination of some impressive clients, with its team building GPS maps for Heathrow Airport, the Met Museum in New York, as well as the maps for the Legible Bristol and Legible London projects.

Smart Antenna Technologies – £1m 

Bath SETsquared member Smart Antenna Technologies (SAT) has embarked on the challenge to create the world’s first multi-functioning antenna with help from £1million worth of investment funding from the University of Birmingham.

Currently, a typical device will have six separate antennas – GPS, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 2G, 3G, 4G – so a multi-functioning antenna will mean greater efficiency (think better battery life!). It also eliminates the fear that new antennas will not be able to operate in harmony as we progress into using more advanced technologies such as 5G.

Cloudfind – £830k 

Bath-based software startup Cloudfind impressed angel investors with its automatic tagging software for businesses who use cloud storage.

The company received £830k worth of investment in 2016 to develop its innovative tagging system to radically simplify how teams access information stored in the cloud.

DoodleMaths – £350k 

DoodleMaths has been steaming ahead with its clever app that helps children with their understanding of maths and numeracy.

As well as raising £350k worth of angel investment, the startup won the prestigious [email protected] competition as well as the Best Mobile App award at the SPARKies tech awards – both in 2016.

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