The UK is renowned for its booming tech sector around the globe. Just last year, the country was voted number one in Europe and number three internationally, only behind goliaths US and China when it comes to high-growth tech companies, venture capital investment and digital innovation.
It’s no surprise then, that there is both a fierce pace of innovation as well as a sense of competition when it comes to regional activity across the UK; as a country we’ve got a title to live up to, and the opportunity for investment is too good to miss out on.
Looking at the spread of the high growth companies across the UK, there are a few cities that jump out immediately – our capitals London and Edinburgh, and key university towns Cambridge and Oxford, for example – but a region that is creeping up as a significant player in the UK’s tech scene is the West Midlands, and Birmingham more specifically.
In recent years, Birmingham has experienced a thriving startup scene and is fast becoming one of Europe’s most influential business hubs thanks to its transport connections, rich supply chain, and diversity. It’s a city flooded with talent due to the five universities spanning multiple specialisms across the city, providing a deep and diverse pool of expertise and innovation. The startup culture is rich.
This city, which I proudly call home and where I founded and run my business from, has transformed into a vibrant epicentre of technological innovation and entrepreneurship. I’m originally from New York, have lived in Colorado, London and Manchester too, and there’s nowhere that excites me as a tech business founder more than Birmingham.
As the founder of Rem3dy Health, the world’s first truly personalised nutrient snack which uses 3D printing, I have witnessed first-hand the remarkable growth and transformation taking place in this dynamic tech ecosystem. I am also lucky to be privy to industry conversation through networking and professional groups such as the Business Commission West Midlands which I recently joined as a commissioner to help connect and grow other businesses in the region.
Several key sectors are driving this growth, especially HealthTech, which has seen significant growth from Third Skin. and Kaido Group Ltd, all proud members of the city. We’re seeing ground-breaking startups in digital health, medical devices, and personalised nutrition to reinvent the way people achieve optimal wellness. Rem3dy Health (trading as Nourished) is one of those innovative companies; using a three-tiered stack of patented technology and a clever recommendation matrix algorithm, we’re able to gather information from individuals about their lifestyle and goals and 3D print a nutrient gummy on demand which is specifically suited to them, delivered to their door each month with less hassle, waste and cost than buying individual vitamins and supplements separately. It’s direct to consumer, it’s tech-fuelled, and it all happens from our manufacturing facilities in Birmingham.
Outside of HealthTech specifically, Birmingham is also storming ahead in the fields of digital marketing, fintech, and gaming and the five universities located within the city alone are consistently updating the pool of talent in these respective fields. It’s a cost-effective base compared to London and Manchester, allowing companies to allocate more resources to fuel innovation and expansion without such restrictive overheads.
With excellent transportation links, including a major international airport and a well-connected railway network, the city is an attractive and accessible destination for tech enterprises. Over the past few weeks, while the Conservative and Labour party conferences have set out their aims and goals, it has been made abundantly clear that investment into Birmingham as a city is necessary to continue its current strides as an innovator and leading city.
Birmingham’s tech sector is on the cusp of something remarkable. With the right investments and collaborations, our city will undoubtedly continue to flourish as a leading tech hub in the UK.
However, to turbocharge growth, Birmingham needs more private capital and VC funding. The establishment of the West Midlands Investment Fund is a great step and initiatives like the Future Fund have boosted seed stage investment. But for more tech companies to flourish locally, we need more Series A+ and growth funding.
Birmingham Tech Week this week (beginning 16th October) shines a light on our city’s great potential. With the right investment and support, Birmingham can become the UK’s next global tech powerhouse.