From education to employment

University of Bristol tech incubator raises £40.2 million in 2020

Despite investment in the South West declining due to the pandemic, a record figure of over half of SETsquared Bristol’s 80 members secured funding in 2020, including six @BristolUni spin-outs and student start-ups.

Incubator members also created 225 new jobs in the city region, generated £32 million in turnover revenues, and helped achieve record numbers for leadership diversity.

SETsquared Bristol, based at Engine Shed, is an active supporter of making tech more inclusive. Its initiatives to give under-represented groups access to funded business support and coaching include its Breakthrough Bursary for BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) start-ups, now in its second year, and its Enterprising Women programme, in partnership with NatWest. In 2020, women made up 45 per cent of its member founders/CEOs, and people from a BAME background made up 23 per cent.

Investment successes include University of Bristol spin-out, Kaedim, which is developing AI technology to make it simpler, faster and cheaper to create digital 3D assets. The company recently raised a substantial pre-seed round only six months after it was awarded top prize in the University of Bristol’s New Enterprise Competition.

Konstantina Psoma, Co-Founder and CEO of Kaedim, said:

“We are really grateful for the advice and support from the University of Bristol Basecamp team and SETsquared Bristol. Both organisations have been instrumental in fuelling our current success. Our pre-seed round will enable us to grow our team, test our product with our pilot customers, and secure further funding.”

Other successes include Duel, a brand advocacy platform, which secured £1.8 million in funding including the University of Bristol Enterprise Fund, among others, to develop its brand advocacy tools, advance its patented curation AI and hire more staff.

Steve Edwards, Centre Director of SETsquared Bristol, said:

“These fantastic results are a reminder of the strength of tech innovation in the South West, a testament to the work our members have put in to grow, and the opportunities and connections that come from our network with the University of Bristol.”

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