I’m Matt Exley – Tech Nation’s South West Entrepreneur Engagement Manager. We’re building a national network of ambitious entrepreneurs. If you’re a founder who requires support, feel free to book a meeting with me using this form.
Opportunities and events
Interested in attending events for digital tech founders in the South West? Then follow Matt on Twitter, where he’ll be sharing the best ones that come his way.
Matt also tweets noteworthy national opportunities for founders – everything from accelerators and competitions to investment and collaboration opportunities, panels appearances, and much more.
Have an event or opportunity for Matt to tweet? Get in touch
For additional stats, explore Data Commons. It’s our ground-breaking national database of technology businesses, founders, investors, VC funds, angels, accelerators, universities and service providers to the sector.
£300mTotal VC investment in 2019
£438mInvested in emerging tech (2015-2019)
£346mInvested in AI (2015-2019)
£35,000Digital tech salary (median)
3Digital tech unicorns
3High-value tech scaleups (2019)
2Digital tech unicorns
2High-value tech scaleups
£35,250Median digital tech salary (2018)oming soon
How is your company disrupting a part of the economy?
LOQBOX is on a mission to end financial exclusion globally. We’re reinventing the way people build a credit history by enabling anybody to build a credit history, while they save, for free.
By giving everyone the opportunity to build a credit history and thus a digital identity, we are removing the barriers that stop young people, in addition to those new to the country; returning ex-pats; members of the armed forces; and those who simply haven’t borrowed in the past, from living a normal financial life.
Why did you feel that the place or region that you are based in was a good place to disrupt your industry?
The UK as a whole is a centre of excellence for fintech and financial services. Our regulator is one of the best in the world and UK consumers are excited and engaged with services and offerings that disrupt the status quo.
Our head office is located in Bristol, a vibrant and thriving city with a developing tech scene. From Bristol, we are fixing financial exclusion in the UK and the US.
People Matter is a mental health technology company that provides a safe online space to allow you to measure and improve your mental wellness at work, without the need for cumbersome surveys. In March 2019, People Matter were recognised as one of the 10 Rising Stars of UK technology by Tech Nation and have since won Tech Startup of the Year in the South West.
Why did you choose to base your company in your place or region?
People Matter is based in Bournemouth at Barclays Eagle Labs. We chose to base ourselves in the South West as we believe that there is a lot of talent and opportunity outside of London – and that this is a cost-effective way to start things up.
A number of universities are based in the South West that offer partnership opportunities very relevant to our work.
We also aim to create a different culture and lifestyle to more known hubs such as London. We like that idea that we can build a business that fits with our mission and ethos – to create a more caring world – and what better way than to be by the coast! Our ambition is to help support a growing and exciting community of talent, diversity and innovation.
We’re a new payment provider automating regular payments for the lettings, leisure and utility sectors. As a fintech we help consumers to pay their regular bills through a simple app, giving them transparency and control.
Why did you choose to base your company in your place or region?
Our HQ is based in the rugged valleys of Cornwall with smaller offices in London, Madrid and Mexico City. We chose Cornwall to prove that fintechs can be located anywhere as long as we have superfast broadband and great talent, and Cornwall has both.
Oh, and yes, loving the outdoors to surf, cycle and run helps to clear your mind and focus on the next innovation.
How could the place or region that you are based in be better prepared for your business growth/scaling?
Operating a leading software business from Cornwall is possible. I wish we could get that message out far and wide. We believe that escaping the rut of Shoreditch and the City for other regions and building sustainable high-tech businesses elsewhere is good for everyone involved.
Why did you set up your company in the place/region you are based?
In Bristol, the business is located in the Watershed’s Pervasive Media Studio, where I am a permanent resident. I chose to come here because the Pervasive Media Studio has always been a unique and supportive environment that champions radical thinking and diversity.
It has a wide range of residents across the technical and creative industries and it’s easy to forget just how cutting-edge the ideas here are. By being here every day, I can keep my finger on the pulse of what is happening in the wider industry, and see new trends and technologies in the context of artistic application.
What challenges are you facing in your business?
Crossing the chasm! Apparently, we’re slightly too early stage for investment, so we are a skeleton team, not moving as fast as we should, or could be, until we get the cash injection we need to scale. People are genuinely delighted by the product and quickly see its value and potential. I’m putting my priorities into business self-sustainability.
We’d like an investment to move us along, but it’s one hell of a lot of work with absolutely no guarantee of return, especially as a female founder. Previously I got to the last stage before investment and was rejected for being a ‘single female founder.’ I’d been a single female founder from the beginning! So now the ethos is: “Don’t waste your time chasing butterflies. Build a beautiful garden, and the butterflies will come.” – Mario Quintana.
What about your place or region has enabled you to scale your business?
Bristol is a fusion of deep tech and creative industries, and we’re a company that does very deep physics and tech, but the end result has a very real and human impact – so we feed off of that blend and culture.
The tech ecosystem in Bristol is also great – there’s lots of infrastructure and support through things like SetSquared to help you grow.
How could your place or region be better suited to the creation of billion-dollar value businesses (aka ‘unicorns’)?
1. Access to capital. Once you’re out of angel rounds you need to get on a train to London.
2. Office space. Business in Bristol is growing so much that finding an office can be hard.
3. Transport infrastructure: At the moment it feels like you have to be next to Temple Meads. If you’re not, people are going to struggle to get to you.
External support for founders
Our curated picks of support for founders in the South West
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