What does Reading have to offer ambitious digital tech entrepreneurs? We asked the following stakeholders and business leaders to find out. For granular data on Reading’s digital tech ecosystem – including its companies (and founders), accelerators, and workspaces – see Data Commons.
Previous Tech Nation reports have highlighted talent shortages. We’re starting to see more initiatives coming through to address this locally, such as Activate Learning announcing it’s part of a successful bid to develop a new Institute of Digital Technology (IoT), leading to significant investment at its Oxford and Reading campuses.
Proximity to London and Oxford means competition for talent is fierce, and with both easily accessible via transport links we’re definitely seeing skills migrating away from the town. At the same time, the Crossrail connection has ensured that price per sq foot on office space remains high. Whilst we’ve made significant progress to create a more connected tech ecosystem in the last year, there’s still a way to go for Reading.
Terry Pudwell, CEO, Assuria, says:
From its offices on the campus of Reading University, Assuria develops and markets a government-grade portfolio of cybersecurity monitoring and defence software solutions and managed services to a world customer base.
Reading in itself is a fantastic technology hub, close to London, with a strong skills base, great University, excellent facilities of every kind, and for a company like Assuria with clients in many countries, its proximity to Heathrow airport is a massive advantage.
UK wide client base and a growing global base of clients in the US, UK, Europe, Middle East, Africa, Japan and Hong Kong. New regions being explored right now include the whole ASEAN region, Australia, Nepal, Canada and Nordic.
Alistair Barrow, Director, Generic Robotics, says:
Generic Robotics work at the interface of humans and robots, specialising in “haptics” – technologies which replicate the sense of touch when interacting with the digital world. I completed a BSc then PhD at the University of Reading then established Generic Robotics with four very talented colleagues, originally as an R&D consultancy before moving on to commercialising our in-house IP.
When expanding, we spent quite some time looking for the ideal location, only to discover the University itself was able to provide affordable office space which grew as we did and a landlord understanding of the growing pains that come with start-up life. Along with our existing connections in Reading, the excellent transport links and facilities it made sense to grow the company right here. While the potential applications of our technologies are broad, our current focus and passion is healthcare education, something which does not recognise borders.