Wales is an exciting place for technology companies right now, especially in the start-up space. Recent research has shown a 30% increase in equity investments across Wales – bucking the UK trend – with a 19% increase in seed funding for life science businesses.
Wales is seen as good place for start-up and early growth companies. Why is that? It’s down to a number of factors.
Welsh universities are leading research into a number of key technology sectors, with ideas stemming from Masters and PhD projects often making it to the wider market. We have world leading researchers helping guide the next generation, fostering innovation and enquiry.
We also have state-of-the-art facilities provided in a number of supportive technology ‘hubs’ in Wales. These include; the Hatchery, run by Entrepreneurial Spark in Cardiff, the Life Science Hub in Cardiff, the Technium in Swansea, Welsh ICE in Caerphilly (with a second ICE hub opening in north Wales soon) and the Digital Innovation Hub in Newport.
These hubs offer more than just space for fledgling companies – they allow start-ups to collaborate within their sectors, share marketing resources and offer links to supportive investors. The ability to collaborate and share work space and best practice with fellow technology entrepreneurs in your sector is invaluable.
There’s a good cross-section of opportunities here too; from FinTech and software as a service, through to engineering and manufacturing, life science and MedTech and even optoelectronics (that’s lasers to you and me!).
Here are just a few examples of companies we’ve invested in recently:
- Amplify – Cardiff-based, AI specialists searching the deep web for trends and analysis. They’ve completed three funding rounds in the last 12 months
- North Wales-based BiVictriX are researching new ways to tackle cancer
- Gaia are a manufacturing and renewable technology company based in Llanelli, they build solar powered generator systems for the construction industry
- RateSwitch are a property technology company based in Cardiff, their software finds the best mortgage deals
- PulmonIR – Swansea-based PulmonIR are leading the way with their research in to COPD treatments
The success and growth of these companies is down to the positive, supportive and collaborative environment we have here in Wales, as well as the inventiveness of the people behind them.
The UK is a leading innovator and investor, according to the recent Tech City 2017 report the UK invested 50% more into technology companies last year than any other European country. The report also highlighted the importance of hubs and bases in places like Wales – which help foster entrepreneurial growth.
We have a vibrant technology scene with good deal-flow through our technology ventures and main-stream teams. What’s more we are leveraging some 50% private sector funding on our investments, a significant vote of confidence in the high tech start-up space in Wales.
We’re excited to talk to ambitious new start-ups and early growth companies looking for finance. If that’s you, please get in touch by emailing [email protected] or calling 0800 587 4140.
By Dr Carl Griffiths, Technology Seed Fund Manager at Finance Wales. He holds a PhD in Physics from Cardiff University and is the former CEO and founder of Seren Photonics Ltd. Carl now focuses on investing in IP rich Welsh technology companies.