Discovering Silicon Gorge

bristol suspension bridge

A play on Silicon Valley and Avon Gorge, Silicon Gorge is a region comprising Bristol, Gloucester and Swindon where there is a particularly large cluster of tech companies compared to the rest of the UK (London aside). Bristol is the jewel in the crown of this tech cluster.

At the time of writing, over 10,000 tech companies are operating in Silicon Gorge, with many of them located in Bristol. The region has a very mature tech ecosystem, which plays an important role in the economy of the region as a whole.

Indeed, the digital tech sector was responsible for a turnover of over £7.9 billion in 2017 alone. Per person, Bristol has the highest digital turnover in the UK at £320,000.

There are numerous clusters in the area focused on different high-tech industries such as artificial intelligence (AI), fintech, virtual reality (VR) and robotics. Many of these are arising from Bristol’s business incubators and research projects in the university, like the Bristol Robotics Lab, a collaborative partnership between the University of Bristol and UWE.

Tech Incubators

There are several tech incubators in Bristol providing support, collaboration opportunities, funding, specialist advice and more. Here are some of the most important tech incubators currently operating in Bristol:

  • Fintech West has members made up of fintech companies, and people can come along to connect with people in the fintech industry, collaborate on projects and more. Find out about the latest events being held at the website.
  • Engine Shed is a long-standing tech hub that provides a venue and coworking space where people can come along to run projects and connect with likeminded people. It is a collaboration between the University of Bristol, Bristol City Council and the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).
  • SETsquared is one of the best business incubators in the world. It is a partnership between several universities including Bristol, Bath, Southampton, Exeter and Surrey. It has helped over 3,500 entrepreneurs raise over £1.8 billion in investment, and it provides programmes for entrepreneurs as well as opportunities for investors.
  • Unit DX provides flexible laboratory space right in the centre of Bristol. It describes itself as a ‘deep tech incubator’, and as well as providing space, it also offers mentoring and investment for scientists.
  • The Quantum Technology Enterprise Centre (QTEC) is an incubator for quantum technologies that provides a fellowship for academics and helps provide them with the skills needed to establish a startup. It has supported 17 new companies so far, which together have raised £11.3 million.

There are also several meet-ups and tech events, including:

  • TechSPARK, a tech and digital hub that runs regular events where people can turn up to meet like-minded individuals and collaborate on projects.
  • Future Space, a lab space and flexible workspace that offers a collaborative community as well as business support to help entrepreneurs. Its location on the UWE Bristol campus enables access to funding schemes and research.

High-Tech Companies and Startups in Bristol

Many high-tech companies and startups have chosen Bristol as their base. Here are some of the most exciting tech companies currently operating here.

  • Open Bionics uses AI and robotics to create low-cost prosthetics. It describes its products as ‘Turning Disabilities into Superpowers’. It has created products like the Hero Arm, a 3D-printed bionic arm that is the first in the world to be clinically approved.
  • Immersive Labs is a provider of cloud-based solutions that helps users develop cybersecurity skills.
  • LettUs Grow provides an irrigation technology for vertical farms. It allows crops to be grown without the need for soil or pesticides and with far less water usage.
  • Inductosense is a start-up specialising in wireless sensing technology, and it has other offices all over the world.
  • HP Labs is a research group that opened a new office in Bristol in 2019. The first office was opened in nearby Filton in 1985. It specialises in transformative technologies including 3D printing and AI.

These are just the start, and there are many other exciting and innovative tech companies in Silicon Gorge, including Icera, Cray, STMicroelectronics and Ultrahaptics.

Discover Bristol’s Tech Scene

Do you run a tech business in Bristol? Whether you’ve launched your own startup or you are running a large tech company and you plan to release a transformative and world-changing technology, Bristol is a great place to live and grow a business.

We help companies and startups of all shapes and sizes across Bristol with all their IT services, making sure their systems and security is fully optimised so they can get on doing what they do best and not worrying about their IT. Contact us today for more info on how we can do the same for you.