£2.1 bn digital tech business turnover up 41% from 2014 to 2017

£2.1 bnDigital tech business turnover (2017)
BalancedDominant distribution of businesses by age (2017)
£192 kDigital tech turnover by employee (2017)
145Digital tech business births (2016)
£1.4 bnGVA
10,950Jobs in digital tech
29,567Digital tech jobs


The University of Southampton acts as a bedrock to the active tech scene in this city. It is home to the world-leading Web Science Institute, which tackles the big challenges facing the World Wide Web and society. It is also one of the founding members of the SETsquared partnership, a business incubation network run by five universities in Southern England. However, activity is now extending beyond universities.

  • In 2017, four Southampton companies raised money through the ICURe Innovation-to-Commercialisation programme. Piloted by the SETsquared Partnership and Innovate UK, it offers university researchers with commercially-promising ideas up to £50,000 to ‘get out of the lab’ and validate their ideas in the marketplace.
  • The second Venturefest South was held in March 2018, attracting over 500 attendees. Focusing on five key specialisms, including cyber and photonics, the conference aimed to bring the whole tech community together and act as a springboard for wider activity across the region.
  • Plans are afoot for a Southampton City Centre Hub, which would include representatives from each local university, and will address Southampton’s lack of office space, while also promoting activity across the city.

Mike Austin

CEO, Fresh Relevance

About Fresh Relevance
Fresh Relevance is a marketing technology company for online retailers such as Timeout, White Stuff and Wilko. Our software platform empowers digital marketers to increase online sales and build long-term customer loyalty through right-time, data-driven web, mobile and email personalisation.

Why Southampton?
We are based on Southampton Science Park, which has a great community of growing businesses, including many in the technology space. Communications are very good, with road, train and airport providing good connections to London, UK and Europe. Proximity and connections to Southampton and Portsmouth Universities give us access to interns, graduates and research collaboration.

National & International focus
We have offices in London and Boston, USA. We have worked with support networks and agencies including SetSquared, UKTI and Innovate UK. We received investment in March 2017 from leading VC, Foresight VCT, who are based in the Shard, London.

Founded: 2013

Raised: £2.15m

Alex Hill

CCO, Senseye

About Senseye
Senseye™ is the leading cloud-based software for Predictive Maintenance. It helps manufacturers avoid downtime and save money by automatically forecasting machine failure without the need for expert manual analysis.

Why Southampton?
We are based on the Southampton Science Park. This location was chosen because of the excellent transport links – being 10 minutes away from Southampton Airport and train station –as well as the pool of fresh talent coming from the University of Southampton.

National & International focus
We have staff worldwide and keep in touch via regular voice and video calls as well as using specific project management software to keep things in line. Visiting customers face-to-face can’t be beaten and we make regular use of Southampton’s transport links.

Founded: 2014

Raised: £10m

Popular meetups in Southampton

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 Southampton startups say is a strength

1Proximity of a university
2Appealing area
3Access to resources

What Southampton startups say is a challenge

1Access to funding
2Competition between small businesses
3Access to talent

Who Southampton startups say is influential

Tom Frame

Group Managing Director, Etch

About Etch
Over the last five years, Etch has evolved from being a web/design agency, to a deconstructed group of multi-skilled teams. We have three core teams delivering consultancy and services across behavioural design, digital product design and build, as well as a digital marketing team.

Unique to Southampton?
We don’t believe the tech scene in Southampton is particularly unique, however we do spend a lot time looking after the community. Ultimately, it’s people who drive the tech scene, and investing in the community builds trust and collaboration happens. That’s when the magic happens.

Strengths & Challenges
Southampton is a growing hub of activity, but we still feel like we have a long way to go. Better support from local government and more efforts from the local universities, would go a long way to helping cement our place in the UK’s digital economy. If we work together, Southampton could have a great future as a vibrant technological city, that retains local talent and builds some of the best digital products in the world.

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.

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