It is well-known that technology companies in London and the South East are better-funded than those in the regions.
However in recent years specialist clusters have sprung up in various areas – such as HealthTech in Leeds, MediaTech in Greater Manchester and FinTech in Birmingham, South Wales, the South West of England and Scotland.
Other examples include cybersecurity in Glasgow, gaming in Brighton, AgriTech in Aberdeen and virtual reality in the North East of England.
“Many businesses in the UK’s technology sector still encounter barriers to scaling up – but location shouldn’t be one of them,” says Steve Barnett, partner in the venture capital team at Shoosmiths.
The law firm has partnered with tech startup and scaleup policy group Coadec (The Coalition for a Digital Economy) on a new report – ‘Regional and National Ecosystems: Untapped Potential’ – which examines the potential for building successful startup ecosystems across all parts of the UK.
The research aims to aid local policymakers in providing the right climatic conditions for the formation of tech clusters – areas of specialism consisting of a critical mass of tech companies, individuals and institutions within a connected geographic area.
It covers areas such as enabling access to markets via a ‘dating service’ between startups and potential customers; enabling access to finance; linking in with wider town and city centre planning; utilising partnership working where initiatives involve financial risk; forming a long-term vision with realistic expectations; and encouraging networks to help provide education, mentorship and investor contact.
“Given our national footprint across the UK, including Northern Ireland and Scotland, we see first-hand the exceptional talent across emerging tech businesses and want to ensure that it isn’t just those based in London or the larger hubs that have access to the funds and talent required to succeed,” adds Barnett.
Coadec was founded in 2010 by Mike Butcher, editor-at-large of technology news publisher TechCrunch, and Jeff Lynn, executive chairman and co-founder of online investment platform Seedrs.
It has more than 3,000 startups in its network and has been instrumental in building proactive coalitions of businesses and investors on issues that are integral to the health of the UK’s startup ecosystem, such as the establishment of the Future Fund, the expansion of the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa and delivery of the UK’s Patient Capital Fund.
“I’ve seen the power of the digital revolution, and I know that digital is the key for our future economic success,” added West Midlands Mayor Andy Street. “That’s why we need all parts of the United Kingdom to fulfil their tech potential, and why I welcome this latest report by Coadec.”