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Atom-Shoemaster: shaping the global shoe industry

Atom-Shoemaster: shaping the global shoe industry

When Shoemaster® software was acquired by the Atom Group in 2016, the board gave the new subsidiary a clear direction: to rekindle the spirit of innovation and leading-edge technology with which the tech company had originally been created. This was music to the ears of chief technology officer Ian Paris.

His response was to create a research centre in the West Country to pursue opportunities for collaborative research projects with universities and to look at the ‘technological future’.

Partnering with SETsquared and joining the Scale-Up Programme, provides a bridge to academic expertise and resources, that is a key part of this strategy. The resulting ecosystem of contacts, academic research projects, thought leadership and talent identification has been “quite remarkable”, says Ian.

Atom-Shoemaster: shaping the global shoe industry


Start date: 2018

Website: Visit website

Location: Bristol

Employees: 5

SETsquared Programme: Scale-Up Programme



Shoemaster is acquired by Italian company Atom and renamed Shoemaster International.

October 2017

Shoemaster AtomLab is established as an independent research centre in the Engine Shed, Bristol, England.

March 2018

First collaborative university project completed with Bristol University

February 2019

Shoemaster AtomLab joins the industrial mentor scheme for Engineering Maths at Bristol University, helping undergraduates to prepare for their careers after graduation

July 2019

Shoemaster International joins the SETsquared Scale-Up Programme.

September 2019

SETsquared enables Shoemaster to attend the NHS Health and Care Innovation Expo in Manchester. Contacts made at the Expo have led to a research consortium being formed that includes the Universities of Exeter, Southampton and West of England.

Jan 2020

Research consortium, with SETSquared assistance, prepares a bid for i4i (Invention for Innovation) from NIHR (National Institute for Health Research) for early-stage projects that have a strong potential for commercialisation and acceptance for use in the NHS

Jan 2020

15th collaborative university project gets started. Projects placed with the University of Bath, Bristol and Bristol Robotic Lab

Chief Technology Officer Ian Paris explains how joining the Scale-Up Programme is critical to the objective of Shoemaster AtomLab to build a world-class research centre that will eventually sell collaborative R&D services to commercial members worldwide.

“In a short time, SETsquared’s Scale-Up Programme has helped us to establish an ecosystem of contacts in the academic, research and grant-funding world.”

 “The universities that SETsquared has introduced us to, for example, have been so positive in terms of wanting to collaborate with industry. In the two years since we moved to the Engine Shed and subsequently joined the Scale-Up Programme, we’ve already carried out 15 different research projects with undergraduates, MSC and post-grad students that amount to something like 50 ‘man-months’ of research support.”

 “The Scale-up Programme is providing essential support and professional assistance in preparing bids for research funding that will not only assist innovation but also with the growth of a new south west research centre that will have a global impact in the Shoe Industry.”

Ian Paris

Ian Paris, Chief Technology Officer
Shoemaster International

SETsquared is a partnership between

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