If you’re looking to launch a new technology startup focusing on the Internet of Things (IoT), London isn’t necessarily the best place to do it.
It can pay to look at other cities like Reading or Liverpool instead, according to research published by the Open Data Institute (ODI), a nonprofit co-founded by the founder of the internet, Sir Tim Berners-Lee.
The ODI teamed up with Digital Catapult, a UK-wide organisation based on data, to publish the Tech Innovation Index in the UK, mapping the growing tech clusters across the country.
The research aims to inform business and public sector decision-making around investment and growth in the tech sector.
Whilst tech innovation is unsurprisingly strong in London, the data shows that there are highly active hubs across the UK, including the other capital cities like Edinburgh and Cardiff.
Jeni Tennison, chief executive at the Open Data Institute, said:
“This new research reveals that innovation around data isn’t a London-based phenomenon, with the current methodology highlighting active communities in Edinburgh, Manchester, Brighton and Southampton.
“Developing measures like this in the open also helps to increase our understanding about what drives innovation and which activities create real impact.”
Here are the top 10 cities for tech innovation
London was obviously going to come first in terms of tech innovation, so this is hardly surprising. However, if you want to launch an artificial intelligence (AI) startup, maybe the next DeepMind, then London is definitely the place to do it as it ranks top for AI.
Scotland’s capital came second and is ranking highly for startups focusing on health. It is good to see that other places outside of London are getting recognition for pioneering tech. Earlier this year, Edinburgh’s fintech scene was given a boost with a new Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) funded tech hub.
Still up North, Manchester ranks the highest for startups focusing on IoT tech. This is good news for Cisco, which launched an IoT innovation centre in Manchester last year to work on smart cities projects for the future.
Edinburgh may be the capital but Glasgow is a larger city in terms of population. If you’re looking to build a startup here, it’s best to focus on AI as the city ranks third according to the Index.
Working in data? Brighton, just over 60 miles from London, is the best for data ventures. According to Tech City UK, the city has over 12,614 digital jobs and has birthed 218 startups.
Served by one of the UK’s, and the world’s, best universities it’s no wonder that Cambridge features on the list. In 2015, the university launched a new centre focusing on the study of AI and the future of humanity. However, the city is currently best for manufacturing startups.
Birmingham too is named as one of the top five places in the UK to launch a manufacturing startup. The city is also graced with easy connections to London, making it easier for founders to have access to the wealth of funding and support that the capital offers.
8. Milton Keynes
Milton Keynes is one of the UK’s fastest growing cities and one of the closest to London; the journey takes only 30 minutes by train from Euston. It is best for data startups, thanks to the MK Data Hub which launched in 2016 and provides data to companies working on urban challenges.
Oxford University has been making the news this week after it announced it was offering an online fintech course to teach entrepreneurs about the challenges facing the financial services sector. / The index also finds that Oxford is best for virtual reality (VR) startups.
The final city in the top 10, Nottingham ranks highly for AI and health initiatives. Between 2013-14, the city had one of the best startup growths in the country, with its entrepreneurs driving startup growth by 68 percent.