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Opinion: Why Uber should be moving to Bristol, not just launching its taxi app here

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Written by: Matt Cross | Posted 28 July 2015 13:21

Opinion: Why Uber should be moving to Bristol, not just launching its taxi app here
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The UK, and particularly the Bristol & Bath region, has never been more attractive to tech startups from abroad than it is right now.

Especially with the recent news that California seems to be tightening the regulatory reins on successful startups like Uber and AirBNB, more and more of them will be considering relocating to take advantage of the openness we have here, not to mention the talent, the technology base they can draw on and the amazing quality of life we can offer.

We are recognised across the pond as a place where things can happen - the US is currently the number one country investing into the UK. And the exciting thing is that the Bristol & Bath region is a natural home for these companies like Cray Supercomputers, IBEX, HP, Broadcom and Oracle are leading the charge.

The region is constantly hitting the tech headlines, and this is because it is brimming over with people working in technology fields like high-performance computing, silicon-chip design, aerospace, television and video broadcasting, and embedded-software creation.

So much so that Bristol & Bath’s high tech and digital cluster was highlighted in a Centre for Cities/McKinsey & Company report last year as the only internationally significant and fast-growing high-tech sector in the UK.

The variety of companies is equally broad, from startups to corporate behemoths, and they are all experimenting with cutting-edge technologies like robotics, gaming, virtual reality, 3D printing, advanced materials, drones, internet-of-things devices and green tech, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

What’s more, they aren’t closed communities either; they are made up of people who love to share and talk about their ideas and the possibilities they present.

It’s no wonder we are pulling in so many companies tech investors, but to maintain this influx we need to ensure we have the talent available.

Fortunately, if there’s one thing the Bristol & Bath region embraces, it’s new talent. We nurture and support it through tech business incubators like SETsquared, Bristol Games Hub, Bristol Robotics Laboratory and Webstart, and through our incredible networking groups and meetups where new innovations are discussed and partnerships are forged.

However, we need to build on it - whether it's home-grown talent or talent coming in from elsewhere. This is the biggest challenge facing the region now and we are already addressing it with recruitment drives showing off what we have to offer, and apprenticeship and graduate schemes placing our top tech students in real work placements. But we still need to do more to ensure all those who want to move here can – it’s a truly exciting time for the region!

Matt Cross is head of inward investment at Invest Bristol+Bath

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