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The Shard played host to 21 of the UK’s most promising tech start-ups in real life ‘Dragon’s Den’

More than 20 of the UK’s most promising technology start-ups bid for a collective £30m of investment in front of a live audience of investors at The Shard last night.
The 22nd floor of the iconic London landmark was turned into a real life Dragon’s Den as SETsquared, a business incubation programme run by a partnership of the universities of Bath, Bristol, Exeter, Southampton and Surrey, held its annual investment showcase.

Businesses providing technological solutions for everything from wrinkles to democratic voting pitched in front of an audience of some 250 plus, including those from Mercia Fund Management and Eden Ventures.

The event, supported by leading intellectual property firm Mathys & Squire, also saw a number of significant announcements including:

  • The launch of a new £3.2m programme from SETsquared, HEFCE and Innovate UK to speed up the commercialisation of university research
  • The unveiling of a new partnership between SETsquared and academic health science networks across the south which aims to help patients inside and outside the NHS

SETsquared businesses have raised some £60m in investment in the last 12 months and last night’s event aimed to boost that figure by putting start-ups face-to-face with angel investors, venture capitalists, high net worth individuals and self-certified sophisticated investors.

Simon Bond, Innovation Director at SETsquared, said: “There were some incredibly strong pitches and while investment does take time we have already seen some promising conversations taking place between SETsquared start-ups and investors. We’re looking forward to these developing over the coming months and hope to report even more success stories from our programme.”

Dr Thomas Frame, who pitched on behalf of his business Fourth State Medicine, added: “It was fantastic to be face-to-face with so many investors at once. For many start-ups, getting access to finance to help them grow can be a major stumbling block so we are extremely grateful for the opportunities SETsquared has provided us.”

Over the last 12 years SETsquared has helped more than 1,000 businesses raise over £1bn in investment, figures that have contributed to it being named by the UBI as the top university business incubator in Europe and number two in the world.

Read more about the 21 companies

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SETsquared is a partnership between

  • University of Bath
  • University of Bristol
  • University of Exeter
  • University of Southampton logo
  • University of Surrey