Top 10 Tech Startup Stories of 2022

Top 10 Tech Startup Stories of 2022

Computer Weekly’s 2022 startup coverage included a number of case studies of how startups collaborate with various organizations, ranging from helping refugee support groups with the underlying technology of a system. reporting against migrants, to aiding the UK government to circumvent end-to-end encryption.

Another cover looked at general startup trends, including the fact that the UK tech ecosystem was valued at $1 billion, as well as the sector’s woes, including that half of startups are still struggling despite the huge increase in investment and valuation in recent years.

Another major focus has been on the London-centric nature of the UK’s startup ecosystem, with a series of articles published on the need to build regional innovation hubs to ensure a fairer distribution of capital .

Although tentative in its recommendations, the UK Labor Party has also released a plan on its ambition to make the UK a global hub for startups, which it will develop in more detail until 2023.

1. Parity AI talks about auditing recruitment algorithms for bias

Independent algorithmic auditing firm Parity AI spoke to Computer Weekly about the process of auditing AI algorithms for biasafter partnering with talent acquisition and management platform Beamery to perform an ongoing review of biases in its AI-powered recruiting tools.

In accordance with the consensus among algorithmic audit experts that audits should take into account social and technical aspects of an end-to-end system, Parity examined the entire system, starting with interviews to gather qualitative information about how the system worked in practice, before moving on to a review of the AI ​​model itself. even, from the initial practical data collection all the way through its live implementation.

Parity CEO Liz O’Sullivan said starting audits in this way can help “uncover areas of risk that we wouldn’t have seen before” and give Parity a better understanding of the parties. of the system that need attention, who ultimately benefits. , and what to measure.

2. UK tech ecosystem hits $1 billion valuation

In March, Britain’s tech sector reached a valuation of $1 billion after rising 42% between 2020 and 2021 due to increased investment in software and digital companies at the start of the pandemic.

The increase in investment has also helped catapult a number of unicorns (companies valued at $1 billion or more) to decacorn status (companies worth more than $10 billion), of which there is now a total of 13 in the UK. Fourteen other companies are now valued between 5 and 10 billion dollars.

In the first three months of 2022, UK tech companies raised an additional £6bn, of which more than half (£3.3bn) went to fintech firms alone. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport published research last year which found that Britain’s tech sector is on track to add another £190bn to the economy and create nearly 700,000 jobs over the next three years.

3. The refugee support group is working with a tech startup on the reporting system

The Humans for Rights Network (HfRN) and academic “slow-tech” start-up The 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 of ​​creating “truly accessible” reporting mechanisms that allow people to document human rights violations was based on the experience of HfRN founder Maddie Harris in refugee camps. from the north of France.

“Access to reports is incredibly limited and often, if it exists, relies on volunteers or organisations, but in my experience there is certainly no real proactive engagement of individuals,” she says. . “What tends to be the case is people get into a situation, talk to a few people, collect testimonials and come up with a report that’s more of a snapshot in time.”

4. Rise in UK startups scaling up to exit, but half still struggling

Data from Tech Nation showed that despite more startups reaching the exit point than ever before, half are still stuck in low growth stages – especially those who work with emerging technologies.

While 23% of UK tech startups have passed either a Series C investment round or exit in 2022 – compared to 20% that sank around the same time – Tech Nation has warned that these “major liquidity events” will not should not undermine the support needed by the majority (50%) of businesses struggling with persistently weak growth, employment and investment.

Tech Nation said the support is especially vital for research-and-development-intensive companies, which tend to have much longer development cycles and take longer to get to market.

5. Companies offer to scan content pre-encryption to fight CSAM

Startups working for the UK government Security technical challenge spoke to Computer Weekly in January about the project they are working on to detect child sexual exploitation material (CSAM) before it reaches encrypted environments.

To meet the challenge, end-to-end email encryption platform Galaxkey, biometrics company Yoti and AI-based content moderation software provider Image Analyzer are collaborating on a system that will be able to scan content for CSAM on user devices before encryption. They claim that on-device scanning would be the best way to protect user privacy.

However, client-side scanning of communications before they are encrypted raises a number of concerns – primarily that it would render encryption meaningless because the content would have already been scanned or could be repurposed for other uses – which startups have claimed. discussed with Computer Weekly.

6. Labor unveils plans to make the UK a global startup

The Labor Party sketched provisional plans to ‘make Britain the global hub for high-growth start-ups’, with a focus on widening access to capital and revamping the existing tax relief system for entrepreneurs and investors .

Key recommendations include: unleashing institutional investment and patient capital, for example by using pension funds to invest in high-growth businesses; transform the British Business Bank through greater operational independence; and examine in more detail how to facilitate public procurement for startups.

With regard to the tax system and the accessibility of public stock markets, the report further recommends that Labor commit to maintaining the incentives provided by the Seed Business Investment Scheme (SEIS), the investment trusts (EIS) and venture capital trusts, while considering whether the scope and scale of SEIS and EIS are sufficient.

The report suggests the UK should take a cue from France’s Tibi investment scheme, which uses the convening power of government to bring together private sector investors to support high-growth businesses.

7. Investment in UK climate tech start-ups doubles in 2022

Investment in climate technologies has nearly doubled in the UK over the past year and is growing globally, but questions remain about how to increase capacity and whether the necessary change will occur in time to avert climate catastrophe.

A Tech Nation report from November found that UK climate tech startups have so far raised $7.5 billion in 2022, nearly double the full $4 billion raised by the same companies throughout the year. long of 2021.

8. Tech Nation Libra program selects 35 scale-ups for second cohort

Some 35 technological scale-ups have been selected to join the second Libra cohort of the Tech Nation entrepreneurial network in Septembera program designed to support underrepresented startup founders.

The government-backed, six-month Libra program was created to address the tech sector’s lack of racial diversity and aims to act as a springboard for underrepresented founders seeking support during their evolution.

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

Between them, the 35 scale-ups collectively employ 172 people and have raised just over £10m in venture capital investment. The majority of companies this year (63%) also have at least one female founder.

9. The UK needs stronger regional innovation hubs outside the South East

Venture capital fund managers spoke to Computer Weekly about the concentration of capital in London and the South East, and how the the future success of the UK’s tech ecosystem hinges on its ability to form stronger regional innovation ecosystems.

Andrew Williamson, chairman of the venture capital committee of the British Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (BVCA) and managing partner of Cambridge Innovation Capital, said that although clusters are difficult to get started, they offer entrepreneurs very important network. once they have reached a certain level of development.

10. Leaders of regional tech hubs want more support with next Prime Minister’s upgrade

Five leading figures from organizations championing the growth of UK regional tech hubs spoke about how they want the next prime minister to tackle the ‘postcode lottery’ which sees some startups lacking vital funding and support because they are not based in London.

“For us to be successful, it is understood that the whole of the UK must be supported and that help must be offered and available wherever it is needed. area, on the ground rather than centrally directed,” said UK Tech Cluster Group member David Dunn, who is also CEO of Sunderland Software City, ahead of the Conservative leadership election.

“It is imperative that the new prime minister and his cabinet are responsive to tailored regional needs,” he added. “Only then will the upgrade become a reality.”

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Written by EricMbadinga

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