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University of Bristol tech incubator supports creation of 300 new jobs

The Actuation Lab team

Press release issued: 1 March 2024

Companies who are part of SETsquared Bristol, the acclaimed University of Bristol tech incubator, created 300 new jobs in 2023.

SETsquared Bristol supports the growth of over 100 technology startups, helping them move from initial ideas into commercial viability.

Its companies also generated over £45 million in revenues, raised a combined £50 million in funding, and achieved record numbers for leadership diversity in 2023.

Of the 300 new jobs created, 200 of them were in the South West region. The sectors with the highest number of jobs created were fintech, healthtech and engineering.

University of Bristol spinout, Actuation Lab, created 10 new jobs. Last year, the R&D startup was awarded £3.5 million from the Department for Energy Security and Zero’s Net Zero to support development of its novel gas valve, designed to prevent gas leakage and enable the scaling of hydrogen as a clean energy source in the industrial and aerospace sectors.

Simon Bates, Actuation Lab’s CEO, said: “In 2022, our team worked incredibly hard to secure development contracts, grants and investment to develop key components for the hydrogen supply chain. When they came to fruition, we needed to rapidly expand our team in 2023. Having a strong connection to SETsquared and the University of Bristol has helped us find a group of incredibly motivated team members from operations to engineering.”

Other companies who created new jobs included Loqbox, a wellbeing business focused on financial health, which created 17 new jobs, and healthtech startup getUBetter which created 12 new jobs to advance its digital self-management support platform for muscoskeletal injuries and women’s pelvic health. Its app is now used in over a third of NHS England.

SETsquared Bristol is a dedicated advocate of diversity in tech, with specific programmes, initiatives and events to encourage under-represented and minoritised groups into tech entrepreneurship.  These include its Enterprising Women programme, fully funded by NatWest, and inclusivity HR training for its companies, delivered by Babbasa.

Its work towards gender parity is paying off, with 49% of the incubator’s companies in 2023 being led by a women founder or C-Suite member. Furthermore, 25% of the total investment raises in 2023 came from its women-led companies.

Kimberley Brook, Director at SETsquared Bristol, said: “We’re thrilled to see the impact our companies are having on creation of new jobs for the region and wider, and the breadth of diverse founders finding success in our incubation programmes. We look forward to building on this for 2024.”

Further information

Founded in 2002, SETsquared Bristol is the University of Bristol’s tech incubator that grows global tech businesses out of Bristol. It has supported over 450 companies in 20+ sectors to raise over £710 million in funding. Its incubation programmes provide bespoke business support, training, events, a network of advisers and investors, and a community of startups and scaleups. The incubator champions tech diversity, running inclusion initiatives to ensure sector representation; 49% of its founders are women and 21% are from a minority ethnic background. It has been named The Europa’s Hottest Accelerator in Europe and UBI Global No.1 University Business Incubator as part of the SETsquared Partnership. It is part of Bristol Innovations, which offers innovation-led businesses access to cutting-edge research, technology and talent, creating breakthrough solutions and scalable commercial opportunities that drive growth. 

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