Top 10 tech startup stories of 2022

Computer Weekly’s coverage of Startups 2022 includes several case studies of how startups are collaborating with organizations, from helping refugee support groups with technology to report on migrants, to helping the UK government win end-to-end. Encryption.

Other coverage looked at general startup trends, including the UK tech ecosystem valued at $1tn and the sector’s woes, where half of startups are still struggling despite big upswings in investment and valuations in recent years.

Another major focus was the UK’s start-up ecosystem, centered around London, and published on the importance of building regional innovation hubs to ensure capital is distributed more evenly.

While tentative in its decisions, the UK Labor Party has also outlined its ambition to make the UK a global start-up hub, which will be expanded by 2023.

1. Parity AI talks about biased recruitment algorithms

Independent algorithm auditing firm Parity AI has partnered with talent acquisition and management platform Beamery to check for ongoing bias in AI hiring tools, speaking to Computer Weekly about the process of testing AI algorithms for bias.

In agreement among algorithmic audit experts that an audit should consider the social and technical aspects of the system end-to-end, Parity looks at the system as a whole, from interviews to gather qualitative data on how the system works, from initial data collection exercises to direct implementation to testing the AI ​​model itself. Practice before.

Liz O’Sullivan, the party’s chief executive, said the launch of audits in this way “will help identify areas of risk that we have not seen before”. , and what to measure.

2. The value of the UK technology ecosystem has reached 1tn dollars

In March, the UK tech sector was forecast to grow 42% between 2020 and 2021, with software and digital companies growing 42% at the start of the pandemic to reach a value of $1tn.

The increased investment has helped propel a number of unicorns (companies valued at $1 billion or more) to decacorns (companies valued at more than $10 billion), of which there are a total of 13 in the UK. A further 14 companies were valued between $5bn and $10bn.

In the first three months of 2022, UK tech companies have raised an extra £6bn, with more than half (£3.3bn) going to fintech companies alone. Research by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport last year found that the UK tech sector is on track to add an extra £190bn to the economy and create around 700,000 jobs over the next three years.

3. The refugee support group works on a technology initiative on the reporting system

Humans for Rights Network (HfRN) and “slow-tech” academic startup Whistle spoke to Computer Weekly about their partnership to create a digital reporting system for refugees to document human rights abuses against them.

Using an iterative design process to ensure that the needs of already vulnerable people are respected and met, the idea to create “truly accessible” reporting mechanisms that allow people to document human rights abuses was based on HfRN founder Maddy Harris’ experience in refugee camps. Northern France.

“Reporting access is incredibly limited and often, if any, depends on volunteers or organizations, but certainly in my experience there is no active participation of individuals,” she says. “What really tends to happen is people get into a situation, talk to a few people, gather some testimonials and over time report more about the snapshot.”

4. UK startups prime for take-off, but half still struggle

According to TechNation data, even though more startups than ever are reaching the exit stage, half are still stuck in the lower stages of development — especially those working with new technologies.

With 23% of UK tech startups expected to enter a Series C investment round or exit by 2022 – compared to 20% in the same period – TechNation warns that these “major liquidity events” should not be left behind. Most (50%) companies are stuck with consistently low growth, employment and investment.

According to TechNation, support is especially important for research and development-intensive companies that have very long development cycles and take too long to get to market.

5. Companies suggest scanning content pre-encryption to combat CSAM

Startups working on the UK government’s Safety Tech Challenge spoke to Computer Weekly in January about a project they’re working on to detect child sexual abuse (CSAM) before it reaches encrypted environments.

In response to the challenge, end-to-end email encryption platform Galaxky, Biometrics IoT, and AI-based content moderation software provider Image Analyzer are collaborating on a system that can scan CSAM content on users’ devices before encrypting it. They say on-device scanning is the best way to protect users’ privacy.

However, scanning a client’s communications before encrypting them raises a number of concerns — primarily that it renders the encryption meaningless because the content has already been scanned or can be used for other purposes — the startups discussed with Computer Weekly. .

6. The Labor Organization plans to make the United Kingdom an international initiative

Labor has outlined interim plans to “make Britain a hub for high growth and global startups”, focusing on widening access to capital and revamping the existing tax relief system for both entrepreneurs and investors.

The main recommendations include: unlocking institutional investment and patient capital, such as pension funds investing in high-growth firms, reforming the British Business Bank with greater operational freedom; And a further review of how to make public procurement easier for start-ups.

Regarding the tax system and access to public equity markets, the report recommends that Labor commit to maintaining the incentives provided by the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (CEIS), the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EEIS) and the Venture Capital Trust. The scope and scale of the SEIS and EIS are adequate.

The report suggests the UK should look to France’s TB Investment Plan for inspiration, using the government’s fundraising power to bring together private sector investors to support high-growth firms.

7. UK climate technology startup investment to double by 2022

Investment in climate technology has almost doubled in the UK in the past year and is growing globally, but questions remain over how to scale up capacity and whether the change needed to tackle climate change will come in time.

A TechNation report in November found that UK climate technology startups have raised $7.5 billion so far in 2022, almost double the $4 billion total raised by the same companies in 2021.

8. The Tech Nation Libra program selects 35 scales for the second group

Some 35 tech startups were selected to join Entrepreneur Network Tech Nation’s second Libra cohort in September.

The six-month, government-backed Libra program was created to address racial disparity in the tech sector, and aims to serve as a springboard for underrepresented founders seeking some form of support.

In the year A November 2020 analysis of UK venture capital (VC) investment by Extend Ventures found that between 2009 and 2019, three-quarters of VC investment went to all-white founding teams. In contrast, 23% went to startups with multiracial founders, and only 0.24% went to all-black startup groups.

Between them, the 35 scales collectively employ 172 people, and have raised just over £10m in VC investment. This year, the majority of companies (63%) have at least one female founder.

9. The UK needs strong regional innovation clusters outside the South East

Venture capital fund managers spoke to Computer Weekly about the pool of capital in London and the South East and the future success of the UK tech ecosystem’s ability to build strong regional innovation ecosystems.

Andrew Williamson, chairman of the British Private Equity and Venture Capital Association’s (BVCA) venture capital committee and managing partner at Cambridge Innovation Capital, said that while clusters are difficult to get off the ground, they provide entrepreneurs with a “very significant network effect”. After reaching a certain stage of development.

10. Regional technology center leaders need more support from the next prime minister

Five senior officials from organizations supporting the growth of the UK’s regional tech hubs have told how the next prime minister wants to address the “postcode lottery” that will see some startups miss out on vital funding and support because they are not in London.

“There is an understanding that for us to be successful, the whole of the UK needs to be supported and supported and where it is needed, rather than being centrally managed,” said David Dunn, UK Tech Cluster Group member. Before the Tory leadership election, he was CEO of Sunderland Software City.

“It is very important that the new Prime Minister and Cabinet respond to regional needs,” he said. “Only then will scaling become a reality.”

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