Oxford listed in top European investment tech cities in Tech Nation report
Oxford has been listed as one of the top 20 European investment tech cities, just after Helsinki and Dublin, with £200 million raised in 2019. The report also mentions that the South East hosts seven digital tech unicorns, of which two are based in the Thames Valley region, Oxford Nanopore Technologies (Oxford) and Rightmove (Milton Keynes).
The South East was firmly placed on the world stage when Oxford was named one of the top 20 European investment tech cities, just after Helsinki and Dublin, with £200mn raised in 2019.
The South East is home to a high number of digital tech clusters and we’re seeing all the emerging trends highlighted by the Tech Nation 2020 report happening across the region including right here in the Thames Valley which is setting itself up as an AI hub. Its proximity to London and excellent transport links were big factors in the recent announcement by the University of Reading that Blackhall studios is coming to Reading which will also help cement the Thames Valley as a creative hub.
I’m delighted that a few Thames Valley-based scaleups became Tech Nation Alumni in 2019 (Assuria, IMGeoSpatial, and Seakr) but given this region’s reputation for digital tech, I am surprised we have not had more digital tech scaleups from the Thames Valley make it onto Tech Nation programmes.
The key to future innovation is ensuring a healthy and innovative tech ecosystem supporting startups, scaleups, and entrepreneurship generally. We have seen some green shoots including an account management service called ScaleUp Berkshire supporting scale-ups across the Thames Valley, and an event and skills hub called the Curious Lounge which is dedicated to building up local digital skills. The world is going to look very different post-Covid-19 but I see this is a perfect opportunity for the Thames Valley to build on its past credentials and to reinvent itself for the coming decade. I’d personally like to see more of our successful business people and entrepreneurs payback to the region to pay it forward for future innovators and entrepreneurs to create a strong Thames Valley diaspora.
Elizabeth Corse, Entrepreneur Engagement Manager – South East, Tech Nation
The South East in more general terms has cemented its position as one of the UK’s leading tech hubs with £448 million invested in emerging tech, £281 million invested in Artificial Intelligence and 11 high-value tech scaleups, of which two are Oxford-based, ByBox and Osler Diagnostics.
“Oxford’s ranking as one of the top European Investment Tech Cities, reflects it’s recognition as one of the UK’s largest technology clusters. The city’s digital tech industry now employs over 37,000 people and contributes approximately £1.8 billion in revenue to the UK’s economy (2019). Oxfordshire has a rich history of creating new start-ups and so it is no surprise that one of the seven South East, Digital Tech Unicorns, listed in the Tech Nation Report, is based in Oxfordshire as our technology industry continues to grow.”
Phil Southall, President, Oxfordshire Chamber of Commerce
The UK’s digital sector GVA grew nearly six times faster than the rest of the UK economy, contributing £149 billion to it and accounting for 7.7% of UK GVA. Digital tech now employs 2.9m people in the UK which has increased by 40% from 2017.
Although Berkshire has little mention in the latest Tech Nation Report it is still a crucially important region for the UK’s technology industry. Mat Rule, Director at Tocalabs, a Reading-based technology company, explains why Reading is a great place for technology businesses to locate:
“We’re a thriving automation software company and we chose Reading for our business due to the connected business community, just about everyone knows everyone particularly in the tech businesses! Understandably other smaller cities and towns probably boast the same closeness, however when you take into account Reading’s legacy of hosting a large number of well-known tech firms over the last 40 years, it’s ease of access to London and the rest of the country it definitely stood out to us. “
Mat Rule, Director, Tocalabs
“The strong performance of Oxford as a technology hub is highlighted again in the 2020 Tech Nation Report, proving that the innovative city is one of the driving forces behind the region’s consistent and continued growth. We recognise the potential of the wider Thames Valley, with more than 8,000 technology-led companies based here and a proven location for both established global brands and pioneering start-ups and we will continue to work with our partners to unlock opportunities for the industry’s future economic growth in this region.”
Paul Britton, CEO, Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce
Read more, HERE.