UK universities the best in Europe at fostering start-ups
Press release issued: 19 July 2013
A partnership of UK universities which has helped businesses secure £34m in investment this year alone is one of the best in Europe at incubating businesses, a survey has revealed. The University Business Incubator (UBI) Index has listed the SETsquared incubator – of which the University of Bristol is a member - as the best in Europe.
SETsquared, a partnership of the Universities of Bath, Bristol, Exeter, Southampton and Surrey, has given birth to some 1,000 high-tech start-ups since its inception 10 years ago.
In 2013 alone it has helped companies within its incubator raise £34m in investment and this year saw the sale of one of its alumni businesses, Ubiquisys, to US giant Cisco for $310m.
Other successful firms from the SETsquared incubator include the world’s first equity-based crowdfunding platform, Crowdcube, and PrimerDesign, which produced the world’s first swine-flu detection kit.
The Bristol SETsquared centre has successfully supported over 150 companies which have raised more than £75million in equity, grant and debt funding.
It’s an exciting time for the centre, which will soon spearhead a new business and innovation hub at The Engine Shed – an iconic Grade I listed building built by Brunel, which previously housed the Empire and Commonwealth Museum at the entrance to Bristol Temple Meads station.
A £1.5million investment will see it become a focal point for Bristol’s drive to generate inward investment and encourage a new generation of high growth businesses when it opens later this year.
Nick Sturge, Director of the Bristol SETsquared Centre which is currently based at University Gate East in Clifton, said: “A successful incubator has to be entrepreneurial in how it operates and delivers support to exciting start-up businesses. This award proves that UK universities are as entrepreneurial as anywhere in the world.
“The SETsquared Centre here in Bristol has already won two national awards, so this latest accolade is further testament to all the excellent work being done across the whole partnership.”
Graham Harrison, SETsquared Partnership Director, said: “These successes, combined with the UBI Index ranking, are proof that our model works. We have been supporting the UK’s economic growth by championing these innovative start-ups for the last 10 years and, without question, we see the UK’s economy over the next decade being underpinned by the kind of high-tech, start-up businesses being nurtured in our centres.”
SETsquared aims to raise the agenda for wider support for UK tech start-ups at an event in London this year. Its ‘Accelerating Growth’ event, which marks its 10th anniversary, will provide an opportunity for key figures in UK business incubation to discuss what support UK technology start-ups need to achieve growth. Among those who will speak at the event will be Iain Gray, Chief Executive of the Technology Strategy Board.
The event, on November 27, will feature live investor pitches and bring together some of SETsquared’s most successful companies over the last 10 years as well as some of its most exciting tech start-ups.