Region saw £460m worth of equity investment last year

More than £460m worth of equity investment has entered the region – according to a new report.

Using data from Beauhurst, the TechSpark report outlines that the region has not been immune to the wider national slowdown of equity investment, with figures for 2023 being down 50% compared to 21/22. While, on a national level, equity investment is down 34% on 2022.

But Bristol remains one of the UK Top five Start Up Hubs, outside of London.

Despite being home to fewer high-growth companies in 2023, Bristol’s high growth companies generated a total turnover exceeding £4.15bn.

The city outperformed fourth place Birmingham in terms of rounds closed and raised, as well as average turnover per company.

This is hugely positive for the region’s future growth, as  all global stats point to fewer, smaller investments being made, with deals taking longer to close.

TechSpark chair, Nick Sturge MBE, said:  “While it has been a challenging year for UK-based companies, and despite this overall dip, the South West has maintained the level of investment activity that previous national and global statistics predicted and there’s evidence in this report of strong sector investment.”

It will come as no surprise that Tech and IP remain the standout areas of investment in the region, receiving 58.7% of the investment; while investment within industrials is on the up, as the sector takes over business and professional services as the second most invested.

Cleantech, greentech and net zero, as well as medical and health and wellbeing all stand out as sectors of significant interest within this report, taking in a combined £234m of investment.

As Nick continues:  “This drive in healthtech and life sciences will, no doubt, be in great part due to the excellent support and facilities available across the region. The drive for environmentally focused investment is certainly an indicator that Net Zero will be a key focus as we approach 2050. Either way, these are areas to watch for future growth.”

The report was unveiled and unpacked on Wednesday 31st January at Bristol’s Armada House. Supported by a panel of regional leaders and investment experts, the overall consensus regarding this state of play is one of positivity.

As Nina Searle, partner at TLT added:  “Despite the overall dip, the South West looks to have maintained a similar level of activity as the national statistics would suggest and investment areas across sectors have remained consistent compared to 2022.

“We don’t expect to see an immediate reversal of these trends, with the quality of founders and businesses, and the strength of the wider ecosystem in the South West, there are plenty of reasons for optimism.”

The 2023 South West Equity Investment Report, is produced by TechSpark, a not-for-profit network for tech trailblazers in Bristol and Bath. Its ongoing mission is to proactively connect and support start-ups, scale-ups, SMEs and global corporations by focusing on Connections, Investment & Talent.


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