(Sometimes) sunny Southampton attracts both tourists and startups.
The cluster is supported by two universities – the University of Southampton and Southampton Solent.
The University of Southampton has 100 companies on campus, and has produced 27 spinouts since 2000. The university supports these businesses through the Future Worlds incubator, the Catalyst programme and the Science Park. The university is also one of the founding members of the SETsquared partnership, and in 2013 launched the Web Science Institute. The institute brings together world-leading experts to tackle the biggest challenges facing the World Wide Web and society.
The city also has excellent international connections – a 2015 FedEx report singled out Southampton as an “export epicentre” with one of the highest export rates of any city: 81 per cent of small businesses in the area trade overseas.
The pilot phase of ‘Z21 Innovation Fund’ has has been launched by the Solent LEP and the University of Southampton. Aiming to find and fuel research with real world applications, it will be a useful addition to the local angel network in the area, Angels 5K, which has 60 active investors.
In March, the region’s innovators, entrepreneurs and investors came together at Venturefest South to showcase the latest technology and explore new ideas.
The decommissioned Fawley Power Station will be given a boost, with plans in motion to transform it into a technology, business and residential hub.
Switch is an innovator in digital advertising technology. It automates the placing of advertisements in digital magazines, streamlining the process. But, unlike many companies in this field, Switch’s toolkit facilitates a truly ‘parallel’ auction system that allows advertisers to bid for the best positions, while enabling publishers to maximise their advertising revenues. Essentially, Switch is set to revolutionise digital publishing, and this success has been driven by local Southampton talent.
The resources and talent available in Southampton for technology startups are simply outstanding. I’ve lived in the city for most of my life, but feared that on launching Switch Concepts I might have to relocate to London. I couldn’t have been more wrong. What’s more, Switch has forged an invaluable relationship with Southampton University, a hotbed of digital tech skills and insight, that has proved useful in building our crack tech team. Quite simply, I can’t imagine launching a digital tech business anywhere else.