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

Kane Fulton, March 10, 2020 2 min read

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

David Shepherdson, cocreator of HullCoin, says:

Hull, in its own idiosyncratic way, is both competing with other cities in terms of external investment but more importantly is nurturing tech within a commercial, civic and social context, building a solid and sustainable infrastructure within the process.

There is a growing understanding from policymakers, business leaders and politicians that the digital agenda is not an ‘add-on’ in terms of driving economic growth and sustainability; it is something that is integral to any business, local authority department or charity.

The challenges facing the city are not unusual nor are they unknown. There is a serial skills gap in Hull that is endemic of its inability to unlock the potential of its population towards technology-related industries, resulting in ‘brain drain’ with better-qualified people accessing jobs that would otherwise remain within the city’s local economy.

Lucy Blackley, founder and MD at Bombyx PLM, says:

Bombyx PLM (Product Lifecycle Management) is a web-based SaaS system for companies and their suppliers designed to streamline the complexities of the product lifecycle of any manufactured product.

I was born and raised in Hull and moved Manchester aged 18, before moving around the country to Birmingham, Oxford, and then London, eventually ending up in Berlin for three years; that’s where the concepts behind Bombyx were born. I returned to my home city to become involved in the growing tech community at C4DI (Centre for Digital Innovation).

Bombyx has users in Europe and North America, and we are currently working with a major university to incorporate our software into the curriculum of product design/engineering degrees. In 2019 Barclays’ Eagle Labs took Bombyx PLM on the road around the UK to showcase the benefits of the software while promoting the importance of wellbeing in the workplace.

Furqan Alamgir, CEO at Connexin, says:

Connexin is an innovative technology company specialising in building and operating award-winning Smart City Infrastructure to support digitisation and internet of things. We use digital technology to connect, protect, and improve the lives of citizens. With the data this captures, we provide local authorities and citizens constant with feedback so they can make informed decisions.

The company’s founders have always been passionate about helping Hull to grow. In 2012, we began the build of our first wireless network here, to not only supply homes and businesses but also provide public wifi. We believe Hull has a lot of talent that migrates out of the city, so we have created a culture that retains and develops strong local talent.