Overview

The Investment Activator Programme supports investment activity across the region, we have pulled together some useful statistics and information to help you understand all the great things that are happening here. Scroll down to explore the companies making waves in the region and the sectors that are leading the way.

For a downloadable version you can check out our 2022 Annual Report on SW Equity Investment.

£924M
£924M
Total amount raised in region in 2022
£175M
£175M
The biggest single amount raised
115+
115+
Companies supported by the IAP
318+
318+
Number of companies raised in 2021

Top 5 Sectors for investment in the South West

Technology/IP-Based Businesses
53%
Businesses & Professional Services
37%
Industrials
29%
Leisure and Entertainment
9%
Personal Services
7%

Data kindly provided by our data partner Beauhurst

Standout
Sectors

2022 saw companies in the South West region raise just over £920 million in equity investment. This is £265 million down on 2021 which is most likely a reflection of the wider macroeconomic climate, and the downward trend which is happening across the world. In total, 318 companies participated in 355 fundraising events last year, somewhat down on the 392 companies and 451 fundraising events in 2021. Many have tried to characterise the sectors and themes that are most successful in raising equity funding in the region but the list is long and varied. It’s unsurprising that the Beauhurst data highlights Technology/IP-based businesses as being most successful this year given the nature of venture funding. But when pushed, one would probably select FinTech, DeepTech, Cyber, HealthTech and Creative as hot sectors to watch, based partly on the success of companies here, and partly on the targeted efforts of the support ecosystem.

Deeptech draws on the region’s historic strengths in aerospace engineering, chip design and data management.

AI: Very notably, Graphcore has raised £544m in equity investment for their AI infrastructure tools, to scale their processor optimised for machine-learning task.

Quantum: The University of Bristol is a centre of excellence in Quantum. Since 2016, 31 new companies have been created and over £60 million has been dedicated to developing the industry in the region.

Robotics : Bristol Robotics lab is one of the largest robotics research hubs in Europe. Robotics startups include the incredibly impressive Open Bionics, Reach Industries and Perceptual Robotics amongst others.

Biotech: University of Bristol spinout Ziylo was acquired for around £630m, and its founder Harry Destecroix has since set up the Science Creates VC fund as well as 2 Bristol-based DeepTech incubators.

The region is the home of GCHQ’s National Cyber Security Centre and the Cyber Security Operations Centre in Corsham protecting the Ministry of Defence’s cyberspace. Many startups and communities have sprung up over the past few years including Immersive Labs which has attracted £151m of equity investment, and of course the £1bn Golden Valley Development in Cheltenham will only attract more to the area.

The region is home to tech centres for large corporates such as Lloyds, Nationwide and Hargreaves Lansdown and several crowdfunding platforms including the equity platform Crowdcube.

Local scale up Brightpearl was recently acquired by Sage in a £225m deal and recently the South West has seen a plethora of fintech startups emerge. Clearbank and Moneyhub had two of the largest raises in 2022 with £175m and £55m respectively.

With bases from Aardman Animations, the BBC, Netflix, IMDb and Channel 4, the region has attracted some serious players.

The region is home to the £40m+ MyWorld creative research hub looking at the future of content with a focus on immersive tech. Creative companies emerging from the region include Ultraleap, Virti and Condense Reality.

HealthTech is an industry that has grown in the region driven by cross-over expertise in hardware, robotics and creative industries. Businesses such as Robotic Prosthetics firm OpenBionics have been joined by businesses including OKKO Health, Emm and Ferryx who all raised investment in 2022. Healthtech businesses have been particularly supported by dedicated centres, including Science Creates two Bristol sites and FutureSpace at UWE Bristol.

Most active investors by number of deals in 2021 in the SW:

18
18
Crowdcube
9
9
Seedrs
8
8
Bristol Private Equity Club
5
5
Access EIS

Over £4 Billion Raised in the West of England since 2017

139 companies raised equity funding in 2017 with several deeptech and hardware businesses raising significant amounts. BluWireless raised £17.9m for their 5G mmWave wireless technology, Graphcore raised $80m towards the development of their Machine Learning processors and Xmos raised $15.4m for their development of audio and voice processors.

2018 saw over 141 companies raise money in the West of England. This included a significant number raising between £2-5m including MoveGB, MoneyHub, TravelLocal, Micrima and Boxarr. Notably biotech start up Ziylo was also acquired by Danis Pharmaceutical Company Novo Nordisk in a deal of $800m.

2019 was a big year for the West of England investment scene with two of its better known businesses (Grapchore & Ovo Energy) becoming the first ‘Unicorns’ in the area. Additionally Ultra Haptics acquired with West Coast startup Leap Motion to form Ultraleap and over 100 other businesses raised investment.

Despite the impact of COVID-19 last year was a strong year for investment with significant amounts raised by Graphcore ($222M) & Brightpearl (£33m) amongst others. New funds landed in the form of the  £15m Science Creates EIS Fund focussed on deeptech startups and £10m coinvestment fund from Newable to sit alongside Bristol Private Equity Club’s angel investments.

A testament to the strength of the region, 2021 saw a huge rebound from the disruption of COVID-19, with record investment of £1.14 billion going to well over 300 companies. Key investments included Vertical Aerospace (£214 million), Netomnia (£162 million), Ultraleap (£60 million) and Huboo (£60 million).

The top five largest investments in 2022 were dominated by two fibre broadband deals but the list was topped by ClearBank, headquartered in Bristol which raised £175 million. The remainder of the top five was made up of Truespeed (£100 million) based in Bath, ImmersiveLabs (£59.5 million), Moneyhub (£55 million) and Spectrum Medical (£43.9 million) in Cheltenham.

  • 2017: £277 Million
  • 2018: £312 Million
  • 2019: £373 Million
  • 2020: £364 Million
  • 2021: £1.14 Billion
  • 2022: £924 Million
In 2021
82
82
Companies raised less than £100k
125
125
Companies raised £100k - £499k
40
40
Companies raised £500k - £999k
84
84
Companies raised £1M or more in 2021
Investment Activator Programme
Headline Investments

We’ve looked back over the last 5 years of investments in the region and we’ve pulled out the companies that have raised the most money during this time.

Ones To Watch
Other companies that have raised recently

There are a number of other brilliant businesses that have raised over the past year or so, we’ve highlighted some of them here.

Advetec was founded in 2000 and has since raised investment of over £11M, including over £4M in 2021.
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Clue was founded in 1987 and in 2021 raised investment of over £5M from Frog Capital.
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Cushon was founded in 2014 and has since raised investment of £17.9M, including £6M in 2021 from Augmentum Fintech and Seedrs.
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CytoSeek was founded in 2017 and has since raised Investment of £5.29M from Investors which include Science Creates Ventures & Parkwalk Advisors.
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DeGould was founded in 2011 and has since raised investment of over £10.5M, including £6M in 2021.
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Flexi-Hex was founded in 2017 and has since raised investment of over £2M, including £1.25M in 2021.
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Kelpi is a sustainable bio-tech company founded in 2020, and in 2021 raised over £360k.
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KETS Quantum Security was founded in 2015 and has since raised investment of £4.32M from investors including Quantonation & Kx.
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Kortext was founded in 2013 and has since raised over £35M, including £15M in 2021 from DMG Ventures.
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Micrima was founded in 2006 and has since raised Investment of £14.8M, including £3.8M in 2021.
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Moneyhub was founded in 2011 and has since raised investment of over £20M, including £13M in 2021.
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Neighbourly was founded in 2012 and has since raised Investment of £5.6m. Investors include: Guiness Asset Management.
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Perceptual Robotics was founded in 2016 and has since raised over £2.5M, including £1.6M in 2021 from investors TSP Ventures, Humble Holdings, Metavallon VC, and Business Angel(s).
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SageTech Medical Equipment was founded in 2015 and has since raised Investment of over £7M, including over £3.5M in 2021.
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Tickitto was founded in 2017 and in 2021 raised investment of £3.25M. Investors include: Seedcamp, TriplePointCapital and Business Angel(s).
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Virti was founded in 2013 and has since received Investment of £8.84m. Investors include: IQ Capital, Cedars Sinai Medical Centre.
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What people say about the South West

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