UK #1 digital tech productivity powerhouse at £320k turnover per worker

£7.9 bnDigital tech business turnover
BalancedDominant distribution of businesses by age (2017)
£320 kDigital tech turnover by employee (2017)
226Digital tech business births (2016)
£2.9 bnGVA
24,754Jobs in digital tech 
26,999Digital tech jobs

The above data on Bristol is based on Travel to Work Areas as defined by the Office of National Statistics. The city of Bristol sits within the creative and tech cluster of Bristol & Bath. The connection and collaboration between the two cities has been instrumental in the development and success of the tech cluster.


Investment is the buzzword in this deep-rooted digital tech cluster, with game-changing funding flooding in for specific companies and citywide initiatives alike. Mix this with a good quality of life, a heritage in engineering and excellent academic institutions and Bristol is the perfect place to start and grow a digital business.

  • Graphcore, a semiconductor company that develops accelerators for AI and machine learning, secured £38 million Series C funding in a round led by Sequoia Capital, following a $30 million Series B led by Atomico in July.
  • In March 2018, the Smart Internet Lab, a world leader in 5G network technologies, delivered an end-to-end 5G network in Bristol’s Millennium Square, to demonstrate 5G services to the general public for the first time. The experimental events worked with artists, researchers and creatives to produce bold new works which explore the capability and potential of 5G.  The events are part of a £16 million government funded project, to develop the first trials of end-to-end 5G systems, at the University of Bristol, King’s College London and the University of Surrey.
  • A benchmark study by UBI Global ranked SETsquared as the world’s leading business incubator. The enterprise partnership between the universities of Bath, Bristol, Exeter, Southampton and Surrey has helped over 2,500 UK startups raise more than £1.5 billion of investment. Last year over 880 entrepreneurs participated in SETsquared programmes, while the 381 companies it incubated raised a record £218 million of investment.

Silas Adekunle

CEO & Co-founder, Reach Robotics

About Reach Robotics
Reach Robotics comprises a passionate team of creatives from all walks of life. We revolutionise consumer entertainment, combining leading robotics technologies with gaming and augmented reality through our flagship product, MekaMon.

Why Bristol?
The majority of the founding team studied or are based in Bristol, therefore it naturally became our base, however, Bristol has also been long established as a science and tech hub. The city has allowed us to grow and flourish in our early years and continue to acquire the high calibre talent we need to expand further. Innovation is right on our doorstep, with two universities, allowing us to infuse brand new ways of thinking into our revolutionary products and ideas.

National & International focus
We are indebted to a number of companies and organisations spread globally. From startup incubators and communities to funding and scaling platforms, we continue to engage with a wide variety of organisations in order to better understand and contribute to the industry.

Founded: 2013

Raised: almost $10m

Paul Wickers

CEO & Founder, Huggg

About Huggg
Huggg is a platform that allows you to message food and drink products to friends for them to collect in store whenever they like.

Why Bristol?
Bristol is a spirited city, with a thriving startup scene and some impressive tech talent. It has some of the best coffee in the world and has been named as ‘Britain’s answer to Silicon Valley’, so there’s really no place we’d rather be.

National & International focus
We’ve launched in Bristol, but have global ambitions which we will unveil one layer at a time. Right now, we take capital from London, have clients from all over the UK, and intend to have customers in all four corners of the globe. Over time, we will open new offices, but Bristol will always be our home.

Founded: 2014

Raised: £2.1m

Popular meetups in Bristol

1,995 members


1,707 members

Bristol Media

1,541 members

Bristol JS

We have clustered Bristol meetups according to their topics. Meetups with similar topics are attracted, whilst meetups with different subjects are repelled. A full screen version can be found here. Click on a node, or search for a topic in the full screen version.

We have clustered Bristol meetups according to their topics. Meetups with similar topics are attracted, whilst meetups with different subjects are repelled. Please view this page on desktop to use this visualisation interactively.

Bristol meetup clusters: Software Development Artificial Intelligence Open Source Web Design

Source: Tech Nation, 2018;, 2018. Thanks to the Oxford Internet Institute and JSIC

The size of each node is determined by the number of connections it has with others. A large node signifies a highly connected meetup with many topics shared with other groups.

Community perceptions survey findings

The Tech Nation 2018 Survey was conducted between January 2018 and February 2018, in partnership with Streetbees. This year’s survey received the largest response yet from members of the UK tech community. In a total of 3,428 submissions, people told us about the opportunities and challenges their local ecosystems face, and the digital tech leaders they admire. The majority of respondents (33%) were founders and CEOs.

What Bristol startups say is a strength

1. Helpful tech community
2.Appealing area
3.Access to talent

What Bristol startups say is a challenge

1.Access to funding
2.Access to talent
3.Cost of living

Who Bristol startups say is influential

Nick Sturge

Managing Director, Engine Shed

About you
I run the Engine Shed as a hub to connect and encourage growth in tech and other sectors, including hosting an incubator and Oracle’s accelerator. I previously co-founded and listed a tech hardware business which is a good base for understanding what really drives business – people.

Unique to Bristol?
Bristol & Bath’s tech scene is unique because of its size – big enough to have shed loads of stuff going on (industry sectors, cultures, culture) but small enough that everything, and everyone, is so closely connected. That is underpinned both by a rich diversity of people and a mature confidence that encourages people to collaborate.

Strengths & Challenges
Our rich diversity of people is an opportunity that we’re not taking full advantage of. We have more to do more to make this exciting growth, work for, and include more, of the local population. We’re making good inroads, and as you’d expect, everyone is pulling together to achieve this. Decent, flexible scale-up space is a challenge. Not this co-working trendy stuff, but good value space for our businesses to scale in where they can build their own identities and cultures.

Tech Nation 2018 is now open!

Great news. All data featured in the 2018 Tech Nation Report is available online for non-commercial use by third parties.  The data can be accessed through the platform. If you use the data, please let us know. We would love to showcase your work.

If you'd like know why we are doing this, check out our blog.

Share this page

Next cluster