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Bristol startups shine at SETsquared@20 Investment Showcase and Impact Awards

Bristol SMEs including Corus, Milbotix, Optect, SpaceBands, and Ultraleap have been recognised at an Investment Showcase and awards ceremony celebrating 20 years of business incubator and accelerator SETsquared.

Over 200 investors and funders came together at Church House, Westminster, to see the latest crop of SETsquared-backed startups, spin-outs and scale-ups pitch for investment, including SETsquared Bristol-supported companies Corus, Milbotix, Optect and SpaceBands.

The showcase has become the must-attend event in the investment calendar, and this year’s event was bigger and better than ever, with double the number of companies pitching and a lunchtime panel discussion which looked at the landscape for innovation and investment over the next 20 years.

Alex Hudson, CEO of Optect, said: “We’re here today because this is one of the best events across the country to meet the right type of investors for our company. We’ve found it really useful and have had some good discussions with some investors who are very interested in our technology.”

Kimberley Brook, programme manager at SETsquared Bristol, said: “The annual Investment Showcase is a vital part of our strategy for connecting our ventures with investors and supporting them to fundraise. It’s the culmination of our investment readiness programme, ensuring they are well prepared for the opportunity.”

Six businesses which are currently or previously supported by SETsquared received Impact Awards in recognition of their positive effect on the environment, economy, and society. Bristol’s winner was Ultraleap.

Ultraleap began as a University of Bristol spin-out and have now evolved into a fully-fledged scaling business. The company has become a significant player in the haptics space – which is powering the next wave of human potential – and have created the world’s most advanced hand tracking.

Ultraleap have created the next generation of interfaces with the world’s biggest brands such as PepsiCo, LEGO, Skoda, and Qualcomm. They have created real economic and social impact by tirelessly pushing the boundaries of technology, whilst continuing to place emphasis on their own corporate social responsibilities, creating a plethora of highly-skilled jobs for Bristol and its surrounding areas.

The Showcase and Awards coincided with the launch of Warwick Economic and Development’s independent Impact Report, which estimates that between 2002 – 2022, the total GVA contribution of businesses supported by SETsquared is £15.7 billion with 15,600 jobs created.

Pictured: Kimberley Brook and Optect