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

Kane Fulton, May 10, 2019 2 min read

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

Ken Nettleship, Business Expansion Specialist, Invest in Nottingham, says:

One of the most exciting prospects for the city’s tech community is the development of the Nottingham Cross-Reality (XRI) Centre which will further enhance the city’s VR/AR cluster. XRI will be a collaboration between the public sector, local universities and tech community and will see the creation of a dedicated tech hub and business support programme to develop a high-quality ecosystem for startups and entrepreneurs in the VR/AR sector.

As with a lot of cities in the UK, a tightening in the local talent pool is one of the main challenges for the tech community. We’re seeing some great initiatives by groups such as Tech Nottingham to raise the profile of the employment opportunities in the city and help retain grads. Another is the Tech 1000 programme, a public/private sector initiative which is looking at developing the next generation of tech talent in the city.

Jon Slade, CEO, ENSEK, says:

ENSEK is an enterprise SaaS platform for the energy supply market, enabling retail energy companies to operate in the market and provide better customer experience through modern technology and the power of data. Nottingham is our home, providing a really strong talent pool for us as the business grows. The region possesses excellent technology and energy credentials, with leading universities. It’s also centrally located for our nationwide client base.

Our clients operate throughout the UK and are made up of many large household names along with a number of smaller new challengers to the market. We are assessing opportunities for international expansion and will be looking to enter our first non-UK market next year.

Pete Rowe, Cofounder and commercial lead, Deep Branch Biotechnology, says:

Deep Branch Biotechnology transform the polluters of today into the producers of tomorrow. In many ways, Nottingham really is home for Deep Branch Biotechnology. The University of Nottingham’s Synthetic Biology Research Centre (SBRC), where we met while completing our PhDs, and BioCity, the incubator and accelerator that helped shape the business in its formative days, are both based here. There’s a real buzz around biotech in Nottingham at the moment, with a diverse range of companies taking on some of the world’s biggest challenges.

We’re an international team and this is reflected in our outlook. We love Nottingham as a city and our connection with the SBRC will mean we’ll always have a base here. However, to be true to our mantra of making the biggest positive difference in the smallest possible timeframe, we need to operate internationally. Currently, we’re in the process of finding the best landing spot for our first commercial production facility. There are multiple factors that will ultimately determine where this will be and we’ve had some really interesting approaches from all over Europe and the US.