Bristol – The New Software City

Technology & communications

Bristol is one of the UK’s fastest-growing tech hubs

With a £320,000 turnover per worker (Tech Nation Report, 2018), Bristol is officially the number one digital tech productivity powerhouse in the UK, and fast making a name for itself as one of the UK’s fastest-growing tech hubs.

Last week Vonage UK teamed up with the Bristol Post to hear from entrepreneurs at the cutting edge of the city’s tech scene about how Bristol’s tech ecosystem is evolving and its growth ambitions.

The Bristol Post roundtable discussion attracted a host of the region’s most exciting growing businesses – including Kinneir Dufort, Brightpearl, Neighbourly, Office Pantry, Zeetta Networks and GWS Robotics.

In a discussion led by the Bristol Post’s business editor, Hannah Baker and Vonage UK’s marketing director Roger Vigilance, entrepreneurs from across Bristol’s tech community discussed the ways in which the area’s success has been defined by access to top talent and a close-knit community.

Austin, Texas, can be a role model for Bristol. It has a heritage, a thriving creative scene – there are lots of parallels. It’s about branding. Bristol has the opportunity to build a world-class brand around its talent, its culture, it’s community,” said Anthony Payne, VP of Global Marketing at Brightpearl.

Brexit, investment and funding were cited as challenges affecting the sector, but the high level of collaboration between businesses in the city was called out as a strength:

People are very generous with their time. My advice is to reach out, contact people, ask for that coffee!” explained Merle Hall, Kinneir Dufort’s CEO.

There’s definitely a halo effect going on in Bristol – with successes from the Engine Shed and the recent Tech Nation report bringing the city to investors’ attention. But funding is still a bit of an old boys’ club – and the old boys are based in London,” said Nick Davies, Co-Founder of Neighbourly.

With so much going for it, Bristol deserves to be ranked alongside world-leading tech hubs like London. But with so much focus on growth from collaboration, rather than competition, it is clear that Bristol’s time is now.