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Investment In Uk Industrial Safetytech Startups Tops £150m Since The End Of 2020

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

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.”

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.

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Dr Maurizio Pilu, Managing Director at Safetytech Accelerator

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