New 12 Clusters report praises The Midlands’ burgeoning FinTech market

Member Article

East Midlands leads national charge in HealthTech;

West Midlands fosters thriving digital creative sector

  • The East Midlands praised for its robust manufacturing heritage, national pioneers in HealthTech, in a position of post-pandemic privilege
  • The West Midlands praised for being a creative powerhouse with a burgeoning ‘Silicon Spa’ games industry
  • The East and West Midlands reports are part of the brand-new London Tech Week ‘12 Clusters of Tech’ initiative, mapping the UK tech sector in its entirety for the first time

News, Thursday 4th June: New reports from London Tech Week and UK Tech Cluster Group have highlighted the unique strengths of the East and West Midlands, and the contributions they make to the UK’s £150 billion plus tech ecosystem, including a burgeoning FinTech cluster across the Midlands as a whole. With eight deals completed during Q1 2021, totalling £1.89 billion – more than double the previous quarterly record of £857m in Q1 2020 – FinTech recently maintained its reign as the most investable start–up sector in the area.

The East Midlands – specialist pioneers in HealthTech:
Famous for its robust engineering and manufacturing heritage, the East Midlands is widely recognised as the ‘home of innovation’, including the world’s first factory, the discovery of silicon and pioneering game changing research into genetics and semiconductors. These days, HRTech, FinTech and HealthTech dominate the area’s tech hotspots as it leads the way across wearables, biotech and medtech at a national level. Nottingham is the buzzing hotspot, where Boots, Experian, MHR, Lockwood Publishing, Adzooma, Tebex, Pharmaseal and e-days are based, and top tech talent is flocking to in droves.

“The East Midlands has long had a robust healthtech hub to boast about,” said London Tech Week festival director Suzy Pallett. “With the support of large corporations like Boots, academia, incubators and accelerators geared towards the pharmaceutical industry, biotech and medtech, there is a production line of talent and exciting spinouts in the region. Attracting over 1,000 investment deals in the last 10 years (a 300% increase in investment in 2020) is testament to its position as a leading UK tech hotspot.”

Boots UK director of the Nottingham Enterprise Zone Mark Chivers: “Our vision is to create a UK centre in health, beauty and wellbeing in Nottingham… that will improve the local economy and allow a number of start-ups and small and medium enterprises to develop and grow. (It’s) part of our ongoing commitment to innovation and being an incubator for young businesses in the East Midlands.”

Lincoln-based Tended is one such young business, combining wearable technology with behavioural psychology to deliver real time insights to employers while ensuring the mental and physical wellbeing of employees.

Tended founder and CEO Leo Scott Smith: “We’re proud to be part of the growing tech ecosystem in the East Midlands. The region is undergoing a huge transformation that is accelerating its economic growth and status as a prosperous place for people to work, study and live. In turn, this has helped us forge long-lasting relationships with investors and commercial partners.”

London Tech Week’s Suzy Pallett added: “With the relative closeness of key cities Nottingham, Derby, Lincoln and Leicester, there’s a unique connectedness to the cluster that sees talent spread across the area, placing the East Midlands in a position of privilege as post-pandemic working trends are established.”

Invest in Nottingham’s Ken Nettleship said: “The East Midlands has a strong track record in growing some fantastic tech businesses and this has been reflected in the 12 Cluster of Tech report. From established players such as Experian, who started in Nottingham, through to those with a great future ahead such as Felloh, the region offers a great ecosystem for businesses that are starting up or expanding into new locations. The talent pool, world-class universities, cutting-edge technology clusters and the access to funding mean that tech businesses can grow and scale with ease in the region.”

West Midlands – a creative industries powerhouse:
A world away from the manufacturing foundation of its neighbour, the West Midlands excels in the creative industries (£1.1 billion sector), with thriving software and games development industries, worth £195 million and £185 million respectively. The region’s ‘Silicon Spa’ is home to several games studios, including Ubisoft Leamington, Pixel Toys, Sumo Digital and Playground Games, which became part of Microsoft in 2018.

Sumo Digital managing director Gary Dunn said: “Leamington Spa is recognised within our industry as a centre of excellence for games development, with studios of varying sizes enjoying the large number of talented developers that live in the region. Sumo Digital has two studios in the town, with Sumo Leamington and Lab42 both making great games that play on a global stage, thanks to the incredible talent of both teams. We’re very proud to be part of the tech and creative community within the region.”

In addition to gaming, the West Midlands has also nurtured strong FinTech and EdTech hotspots, and sits at the forefront of digital development, with the region currently piloting a new government programme to roll out 5G mobile networks earlier than in other parts of the UK to help organisations of all sizes unlock 5G’s full potential through an immersive experience.

“Exciting tech-enabled innovation is happening right across the West Midlands region, with the number of new tech startups rising by 48 per cent in the third quarter of 2020,” added Pallett. “In stark contrast to the East Midlands, the West Midlands has a blooming creative sector, as well as EdTech and FinTech hotspots. It benefits from 12 feeder universities producing over 70,000 graduates each year, including 16,000 with FinTech related degrees.”

David Hardman, Managing Director, Bruntwood SciTech-Birmingham, commented “Birmingham and the West Midlands are brimming with innovators and tech entrepreneurs. As the home of digital innovation within the region, the Innovation Birmingham Campus is proud to actively nurture tech talent, with initiatives for first-time founders, start-ups, growth businesses and corporate access to innovation all aimed at supporting the regional economy and building on our reputation as one of the UK’s top cities for tech.”

Barclays Regional Director for the Midlands, Richard Green, said: “The Midlands technology scene is a vibrant one; at grass roots level we have progressive Universities such as Aston/ Keele and Loughborough with active and productive science parks. There are Midland’s based funds, such as Mercia Asset Management, to support these businesses through their early stages of growth alongside a well-informed professional community to support all of their needs.

“The geographic spread of the technology businesses is an even one with no real centre but each major city in both the East and West Midlands has a growing number of technology companies. The region is well represented by leading established tech companies such as SCC – the largest privately owned technology business in the UK – alongside new growing players such as Ideagen PLC., Node 4 and Jigsaw Systems.”

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NOTES TO EDITORS

About Informa Tech
Informa Tech is a market leading provider of integrated research, media, training and events to the global Technology community. We’re an international business of more than 600 colleagues, operating in more than 20 markets. Our aim is to inspire the Technology community to design, build and run a better digital world through research, media, training and event brands that inform, educate and connect. Over 7,000 professionals subscribe to our research, with 225,000 delegates attending our events and over 18,000 students participating in our training programmes each year, and nearly 4 million people visiting our digital communities each month.

About UK Tech Cluster Group
The UK Tech Clusters Group (UKTCG) is a self-assembled group of individuals and organisations that support geographical clusters of technology and digital businesses across the UK. UKTCG works closely with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and other government departments, it aims to highlight opportunities for national policy changes and innovative pilot programmes. UKTCG delivers a number of regional programmes and events that aim to help strengthen the UK’s technology sector, helping over 4,000 organisations break down the barriers to growth.

About Invest in Nottingham
Invest in Nottingham promotes inward investment into the city and county. The organisation aims to put the spotlight on Nottingham on a global scale and provide a compressive service to businesses looking to relocate or expand – from property searches and demographic information to access to finance and bespoke recruitment support.

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