What are the opportunities and challenges for digital tech founders in Bristol and Bath?

Kane Fulton, May 10, 2019 2 min read

What do Bristol and Bath have to offer ambitious digital tech entrepreneurs? We asked the following stakeholders and business leaders to find out. For granular data on Bristol and Bath’s digital tech ecosystem – including its companies (and founders), accelerators, and workspaces – see Data Commons.

Monika Radclyffe, director, SETsquared Bristol, says:

There are emerging clusters around quantum, fintech, healthtech, AI and robotics which we are geared up to support. In addition, there is the growing global attraction of the region as a technical hub, pulling in investment from around the world as well as entrepreneurs to base their business here.

Availability of finance and space to grow have been challenges, but a lot of work has been put in collectively to overcome these, and they are largely resolved. There are other growing pains, however, such as the availability of affordable housing and slick transport. Additionally, we still need more local angel investment activity to seed early-stage innovation.

Georgia Stewart, cofounder, Tumelo, says:

Tumelo is an impact investment platform helping retail investors build stock market portfolios aligned with their values, such as environmentalism, gender equality and innovation. Bristol is an amazing place to found and run a tech startup, especially if you’re in the business of making a positive impact. There is a bustling tech hub by the station; a tonne of accelerators and incubators offering support; and a vibrant community of friendly tech founders.

We certainly have national aspirations within year one and expect to be scaling internationally by year three at the latest. Our audience is united by a passion to make a positive change on an issue they care about. We’ve found that most people care deeply about something – climate change, plastic, feminism, technology – and passion obviously isn’t restricted to the UK, so our ambitions are global!

James Hadley, cofounder/CEO, Immersive Labs, says:

Immersive Labs are cyber skills experts. They are transforming the way people learn by engaging their curiosity and unleashing their potential with constantly updated content informed by real-world events and threats. Bristol is an ideal base for us; the ever-expanding and closely-knit local tech community is something that’s really important to us and we love being a part of. There are also several large universities nearby as well as an impressive talent pool that can accommodate our rapidly growing business – without the London overheads.

The biggest challenge now – and it’s a nice challenge to have – is sustaining our current rate of growth. Talent and office space have historically been issues in Bristol (and the wider SW) as the local economy is growing so quickly. So far we’ve managed to rapidly attract world-class talent and still have a seat for everyone in the office; however, we always have to keep the logistics of expansion at the forefront of our minds.

South West