Three of the world’s top-10 communication giants call the Thames Valley home, including Telefónica O2, Verizon and Vodafone (the first cellular network to launch in the country).
Rapidly becoming a centre of excellence for cyber security, major businesses are looking to relocate to the Thames Valley. The region is currently home to a number of the world’s top 25 ‘hottest and innovative’ cyber security firms, including Carbon Black, FireEye, Herjavec Group & Microsoft.
The data centre industry is growing fast, and the UK is a global leader in the field. In 2017 there were 252 co-location DCs in the UK with demand rising from further migration to the cloud, the introduction of 5G in 2020 and the consequent exponential growth in data transmission.
The UK develops software for many applications and international companies, providing funding for research and development. About 100,000 software companies operate across the country, among which are IBM and HP. Many key global IT businesses choose to locate in the Thames Valley, which for many years has been known as the UK’s Silicon Valley.
With more than 8,000 technology-led companies based in the region, the Thames Valley has long been a technology hub and a proven location for both established global brands and innovative start-ups to grow.
This is strongly reflected in the sustained numbers of foreign-owned companies choosing the region as their investment destination. Together with a unique breadth and depth of indigenous firms, the Thames Valley is often referred to as the UK’s Silicon Valley – a reflection on the dominance of the tech-economy in the region.
High-performing technology towns in the Thames Valley, such as Reading and Oxford (see: PwC’s Good Growth for Cities Index), are the driving force behind the region’s consistent and continued growth; showcasing a unique cluster of businesses representing globally significant sub-sectors of the industry.
Berkshire is recognised as an internationally renowned Digital Tech Cluster; home to many large-scale technology businesses and an ever-expanding number of high-growth start-ups. Around 20% of Reading’s economic activity – a Berkshire town – is associated with the ICT sector.
Oxfordshire has a rich history of creating new start-ups, particularly those tied to the University in the computing and health-tech industries. The Oxford Sciences Innovation Fund has guided and powered by some of the world’s leading organisations, raising over £600m and with a commitment to build thriving science and technology companies.
The UK is more attractive to international investors than ever, with 63% of investment into UK tech coming from overseas in 2020. Oxford has been listed as one (7th) of the top 20 European investment tech cities, just after Amsterdam and Munich, with $0.53bn raised in 2020.
Thames Valley’s strong tech sector is shown with the South East cementing its position as one of the UK’s leading tech hubs with $1,274.74m investment into the region, £91bn in turnover, and a value of $585bn in the UK tech start-ups and scaleup ecosystem – with Oxfordshire-based Tokamak Energy falling into the biggest rounds for UK impact start-ups in 2020.
In the South East, Oxford received $532bn in investment and Reading received $15.3bn. In particular, the Thames Valley was spotlighted with Oxford (2nd) and Reading (15th) securing a high rank, with Oxfordshire-based Oxbotica and Oxford Nanopore Technologies Ltd being highlighted as UK tech leaders.
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Reading and Bracknell are home some of the largest digital technology companies in the world, making the region home to the largest cluster outside of London.
The Thames Valley, frequently referred to as the ‘Silicon Valley of Europe’ contributes roughly £10 billion in annual turnover to the British tech economy which is valued to be at £161 billion. Financial Times analysis highlights that the Reading and Bracknell digital cluster ranks highest for employee productivity, with a gross value added for each worker of approximately £158,000.
Oracle are an American multinational computer technology corporation, headquartered in California. The company also has a base at Thames Valley Park which they chose as the location of its UK headquarters ahead of its seven other offices in the country.
Microsoft is an American multinational technology company, headquartered in Washington. The company also chose to base their UK headquarters at the world-famous campus at Thames Valley Business Park.
Cisco are an American multinational technology conglomerate, headquartered in California. Cisco also base on of their 14 UK offices at the iconic Green Park, Reading.