Bristol firms dominate unique list of South West’s most disruptive firms

November 17, 2017
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The 25 most disruptive firms in the South West have been named in a unique list – with seven of the top 10 based in Bristol.

The first of its kind, the Disrupt South West index recognises ventures with headquarters in the region which hold the greatest potential to influence, change or create new markets. 

Produced by Tällt Ventures, recruitment firm ADLIB and regional law firm Foot Anstey, it highlights the disruptive business success stories from the South West, furthering the region’s growing profile as a global technology hub.

The index contains start-ups and scale-ups from a wide range of sectors – from artificial intelligence and machine learning to 3D printing technology. Each business in the list holds the potential to influence, change or create new markets, according to its compilers.

Across the 25 ventures, 20% are using artificial intelligence and machine learning, 20% are developing cloud and 16% are using 3D technology.

The list also shows that investment into the 25 ventures has been substantial. Since 2015 they have received more than £130m in funding, with more than 80% of the total investment going into the top three ventures – Ultrahapics, FiveAI and Graphcore.

The list was revealed at an exclusive event at Bristol’s Loco Klub last night.

Tällt Ventures founder & CEO Matt Connolly said: “Not only is it brilliant to see local companies receiving financial backing but it cements the South West as a brilliant place within the UK for new ventures to set-up and scale their business.”

The index has tracked start-ups form the region, analysing each venture against a scoring matrix to determine their disruptive potential with particular analysis on the people behind the business, the product they’ve created and the potential they have to scale and disrupt markets.

The top three South West disruptors are:

  • Ultrahaptics. Founded in 2013, Ultrahaptics is changing the way we connect with technology by enabling people to ‘feel’ virtual objects, without the need to wear or actually physically touch anything. In May the business raised £17.9m in Series B funding and September saw Ultrahaptics open their first US office in Silicon Valley. 
  • FiveAI. Founded in 2015, the Bristol based start-up is building software for autonomous vehicles that will be safe to use in complex urban environments. The start-up has two aims – first, to develop a self-driving system, and second, to build a software platform that will manage an autonomous taxi service. 
  • Graphcore. The tech start-up is changing the way machines operate by altering the way they learn. Their technology not only reduces the cost of improving AI, but also helps to incorporate the technology in low-power devices. Graphcore completed their latest funding round in November 2017, raising $50m from Sequoia Capital, putting their total investment figure to date at $110m.

ADLIB managing director Nick Dean added: “Through recent years we’ve continuously seen the South West region grow and transform into the thriving and recognised tech cluster it is today. This has called for us here at ADLIB to continually evaluate and adjust our own proposition to meet the demands, growing out our own digital and technology teams. Businesses are evaluating, growing and transforming, the driving force of which comes from the people within them. We’re proud to be part of such a recognised region, amongst a prime line up of businesses, testament to and proof of that we’re home to (and able to attract in) real talent.”

Foot Anstey head of technology and partner Martin Cuell said: “It’s fantastic to see the South West tech scene thriving. We’re observing an abundance of new ventures and innovation across industry sectors with investment and funding available for those who seek it.

“Being part of Disrupt South West has been part of our effort to help showcase and celebrate all this great activity, so the region gets the recognition it deserves. One of the interesting challenges for the future is how we harness all the energy, enthusiasm and great news stories to support companies destined to be the next big things in the tech sector and how we ensure that innovation benefits the end consumers and perhaps even more importantly the wider community.”

Click here for the full list 

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