Today, Digital Catapult, the UK authority on advanced digital technology, proudly celebrates its ten-year anniversary, marking a decade of stimulus and impact in sectors such as telecoms, defence and the creative industries, fostering innovation, developing new industrial sectors and driving early adoption across the UK.
Founded in 2013, the Catapult has consistently signposted areas of opportunity offered by new technologies and created strategic programmes and facilities to enable UK companies to be successful early adopters. Over the last 5 years alone, Digital Catapult has helped 174 startups to raise £555 million, engaged with nearly 3,000 companies, and delivered 303 projects and programmes. Since its inception, Digital Catapult has opened 20 facilities across the country and quintupled its headcount from 50 in 2013 to over 250 this year. The amount of private investment raised by companies who have worked with Digital Catapult over the last 10 years is around £4bn.
Digital Catapult has identified three major areas of applied technology where the UK has an opportunity for global leadership. These cross-sector application areas combine advanced digital technologies like 5G and AI to generate tangible benefits in the real world. They are in digital infrastructure, virtual environments and in digital supply chains. Across these three areas, Digital Catapult is driving over £270m worth of major collaborative R&D and commercial programmes, which are helping hundreds of companies to be successful early adopters, increasing interoperability between their products, reducing carbon emissions and demonstrating the market value of new approaches.
The innovation agency has facilitated pioneering collaborations between industry players including Sainsburys, Niantic, Ericsson, BAE Systems, P&G, Sony Music, SoundCloud, Rolls Royce, Seagate, Sellafield and many more. It has accelerated the success of hundreds of ground breaking startups including Flexciton, GreyParrot, Carbon Re, ToffeeAM, and Gravity Sketch.
Digital Catapult has grown its presence across the country with the opening of a Northern Ireland centre in 2016 and the subsequent launch of the Smart Nano Manufacturing programme, funded by UKRI’s Strength in Places fund, the launch of the £8 million PROTO studio funded by Gateshead City Council, and in 2022 the MyWorld programme launched with the goal to boost the UK economy by £223 million, with creative technology development focused on the West of England.
Commenting on the ten-year anniversary, Jeremy Silver, CEO of Digital Catapult, said, “Reaching our ten-year milestone is a testament to the talent, expertise and vision of an amazing team. I am immensely proud of the impact we are making in a range of emerging industrial sectors such as open networking in telecoms, immersive media and quantum. There is still so much more to do. As we look to the future and the increasing challenges of climate change, we will continue to drive innovation, foster collaboration, increase investor confidence to support the growth of the UK economy and help ensure that the digital transition is also a green transition .”