Press Release: Investment in UK industrial safetytech startups tops £150m since the end of 202023/02/2023
Industrial safetytech startups working with AI, data analytics, robotics and other emerging technology classes attracted over three times more investment in the period 2021 – 2022 than in 2018 – 2019
London, 23 February 2023: Investment in emerging technology startups focused on industrial safety and risk has soared in the UK since the end of 2020, according to Safetytech Accelerator, a non-profit technology accelerator focussed on safety, risk and resilience in industrial sectors.
Safetytech Accelerator has started mapping the UK landscape of technology companies either focused primarily on occupational safety in industry, or where safety gains are a key benefit of the application of their technology. So far, it has found that:
- UK industrial safetytech startups working with AI, data analytics, robotics, wearables, virtual reality and other emerging technologies have attracted more than £150m in funding since 2020
- This technology niche has attracted over three times more investment in the period 2021 – 2022 than in 2018 – 2019, hitting an all-time high of over £100m in 2021
- Preliminary data indicate that funding fell back to £48m in 2022 following a record year for investment in 2021, but remained significantly ahead of pre-pandemic levels
- Safetytech startups working in AI (£60m), data analytics (£51m) and sensors and wearables (£27m) have attracted the most funding since 2018
Significant rounds since the start of 2021 include:
- Soter Analytics’ $12m funding round to drive expansion and research and development for wearables and AI that reduce work-related musculoskeletal disorders
- A £10m Series A round at FYLD, whose AI-platform automates risk assessments to improve fieldworker safety
- Notify Technology’s £3.1m funding round to accelerate investment in sales, marketing and AI product development for its safety, wellbeing and sustainability platform
According to HSE, more than a hundred people are killed each year in the UK due to workplace accidents, over half a million sustain non-fatal injuries, and 1.8 million people suffer from illnesses caused or made worse by work. In addition to the human and social impact, the cost of workplace injuries and new cases of work-related ill health to UK companies and the economy is more than £18 billion a year.
Dr Maurizio Pilu, Managing Director at Safetytech Accelerator, comments: “While the wide range of technologies make this a difficult area to measure, our initial findings show investors are starting to see the potential of industrial safetytech. UK entrepreneurial activity in the industrial safetytech space is robust. It is encouraging to see that investors and industrial companies are supporting the development and deployment of technologies that could boost safety, efficiency and also support environmental, social, and governance initiatives.”
“Through our discussions with clients and technology companies, there is anecdotal evidence that the pandemic has made companies reassess the importance of worker welfare and also how to keep operations safe and resilient with fewer people on site. This has led to new approaches to safety and risk management, in particular using technology, and may have led to more interest in safetytech across industry. We hope this trend is here to stay.”
What the innovators say
Kevin Donaghy, CEO of AuditComply, which provides real-time risk intelligence to organisations in various industrial sectors, comments: “There’s a huge amount of innovation in safetytech. We’re making sense of risks quicker and using AI to assess safety at scale. Industry is putting ESG and corporate responsibility centre stage. It all lines up, and I think we’ll see the tech market go through a new stage of growth in the coming years.”
Hao Zheng, CEO and co-founder of RoboK, a Cambridge University spin-out whose AI-powered computer vision insights support safer transportation and logistics, comments: “Maritime, logistics, construction – these are strategic sectors that the government is active in supporting. That’s critical. It complements private funding, de-risks startups and raises technology readiness in key industries. We can make these sectors safer for all with more willingness to adopt life-saving solutions.”
Kyle DuPont, CEO and founder of Ohalo, which helps industrial companies improve safety by analysing unstructured data sources, comments: “The data we could be using to improve safety is enormous. But until recently, it hasn’t been usable. With safetytech, we’re turning data points, incidents and near misses into complete pictures to identify risk better. It’s easier than ever to see how we can make workplaces safer every day.”
Jag Minhas, CEO and founder of Sensing Feeling, whose visual sensing technologies automatically detect risks in safety-critical environments, comments: “Safetytech is now mature enough to deliver the business case demonstrably. Companies across industry recognise the progress and usability. And they are acutely aware of the risks of not acting. It’s causing a shift from early adopters to an early majority.”
Jack Cornes, CEO and co-founder of HausBots, whose wall-climbing robots replace dangerous manual work at height, comments: “Our niche is growing. A lot of the big industrial players are setting timelines to phase out manual interventions at height. While those goals can be far off, the commitment to safer working will push safety technology further into focus.”
Opportunity for safetytech startups to inform innovation and regulation
Safetytech Accelerator is working with Discovering Safety, a programme of work delivered by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the regulator for workplace activity in Great Britain, to explore how innovation and regulation can improve safety and risk management in industrial workplaces, starting in construction.
They are recruiting industrial safetytech companies to join the Industrial Safetytech Regulatory Sandbox and work in partnership with the regulator and multiple large construction companies to explore ways to undertake assessment and compliance activities more effectively, accelerate the adoption of proven safetytech in industry, and understand and reduce barriers that might delay the development of new life-saving technologies.
The sandbox is open to UK-based companies with market-ready or pilot-ready technology products that could improve safety and risk management. Companies are invited to register on Safetytech Accelerator’s website by 28 February 2023 to be considered for the sandbox.
For more information please contact:
James Taylor | Roaring Mouse Public Relations (on behalf of Safetytech Accelerator)
T: +44 (0)1246 938833 | +44 (0)7796 138291
Notes to editors
Industrial safetytech are the tools and products that are disrupting occupational safety and risk management in safety-critical industries and infrastructure by reducing, mitigating or preventing accidents. It is not a discrete technology category in a conventional sense but rather an umbrella term for a range of technologies that include drones, robots, AI, visual analytics, AI, VR and AR and sensors.
This analysis is part of ongoing work by Safetytech Accelerator to map the UK’s industrial safetytech ecosystem. Researchers identified almost 100 active UK startups using AI, augmented reality and virtual reality, data analytics, drones and robotics, sensors and wearables, visual analytics and other emerging technologies to address safety-related issues. To quantify levels of investment in ‘industrial safetytech’ companies, researchers only included those focusing primarily on safety and risk management in industrial workplaces, or where improvements in this area were significant benefits of their technology being used by their clients. They analysed company websites and social media channels, press releases and news reports to identify the volume and value of funding rounds announced since the beginning of 2018.
Safetytech Accelerator’s research into the industrial safetytech ecosystem continues. It invites technology companies seeking to improve industrial safety and risk to register at https://safetytechaccelerator.org/work-with-us/technology-companies/.
Download picture of Dr Maurizio Pilu, Managing Director at Safetytech Accelerator, from https://www.dropbox.com/s/6pqxfgskpdexeg8/Dr%20Maurizio%20Pilu%20Managing%20Director%20at%20Safetytech%20Accelerator.png?dl=0.
About Safetytech Accelerator
Safetytech Accelerator is the world’s first fully dedicated technology accelerator focused on safety and risk in industrial sectors. A non-profit organisation established by Lloyd’s Register, Safetytech Accelerator’s mission is to make the world safer and more sustainable through the wider adoption of safetytech. Safetytech companies can register their interest in joining the sandbox and be alerted to additional future opportunities at safetytechaccelerator.org