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January 28, 2016updated 30 Aug 2016 3:12pm

Tech City UK Upscales start-ups with data disruption

News: Start-ups will have access to expertise from the likes of Skype founder Niklas Zennström.

By James Nunns

Tech City UK’s Upscale programme has selected 30 digital companies to take part in the inititative.

Among the companies selected are Fintech firms Elliptic and Seedrs, while data and analytics companies are represented through the likes of Growth Intel and Import.

There are other companies selected in areas such as e-commerce, Edtech, hardware and IoT and Healthtech and biology.

The broad range of companies selected reflects the diversity of digital specialisms in the UK. It also demonstrates the range of sectors that are being disrupted by data-led innovation where growth businesses are utilising data analytics to excel in different areas, Tech City UK said.

Improbable for example, which has been selected in the data and analytics area, uses data to allow people to build simulated worlds that create the ability to test the impact of introducing autonomous cars, or changing patterns of energy consumption.

Touch Surgery, selected in the healthtech and biology category, allows surgeons to practice operations in virtual reality using data to guide them through the process.

The program has seen previous success with 90% of companies incorporated in the last six years, with average funds raised so far at $8m and the average growth of sales revenue was 53% month-on-month over the last three months.

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As part of Upscale the 30 companies will work with Scale Coaches that include Skype founder Niklas Zennström, Techstars co-founder Brad Feld and Unruly co-founder Sarah Wood. They will share their experiences in order to help the entrepreneurs to address what specific challenges are encountered by fast-growth businesses.

In addition to these coaches the program has partners in Silicon Valley Bank and law firm Cooley LLP that will help to support the companies through financial and legal advice on scaling.

The point of the program is to make a grassroots effort to support the next generation of UK’s entrepreneurs, Gerrard Grech, CEO of Tech City UK, said: "Upscale from Tech City UK is a grassroots initiative to coach the next generation of UK-based entrepreneurs. Upscale has been built from the ground up, using direct feedback from company founders, investors and ecosystem partners."

The ecosystem will aid in giving these companies expert knowledge which will put them in a better position to be able to scale their businesses.

The ability to learn from each other within Upscale is one of the key benefits of the program, Sarah Wood, co-founder and co-CEO of Unruly, said: "Our tech start-up ecosystem is stronger than ever; scaling UK start-ups further and faster is now the most pressing challenge for UK PLC if we want to harness the business opportunities brought about by the digital revolution."

Wood went on to say that only by working together and by sharing expertise can the UK ensure that more companies go from "start-up to scale-up" and go on to contribute to the growth of the UK’s digital economy.

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