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Digital Catapult [Annual Review 2020]


Created in 2013, Digital Catapult provides physical and digital facilities for companies from the creative and manufacturing sectors to test new products, services and business models. Over the past four years £320m equity investment has been raised by companies and £26.8m received in grants after their participation on Digital Catapult programmes. More than 120 new partnerships or collaborations have been created.

The government-supported organisation works with partners across the UK with centres in London, the North East, Tees Valley and Northern Ireland to provide localised and tailored services as well as offering facilities and testbeds including immersive labs in Manchester and Brighton and a number of 5G testbeds.

Its 5G programme offers bespoke business mentorship and 5G technical support to handpicked companies giving them the opportunity to engage with the UK’s first non-academic testbed. 15 ambitious companies are currently on the 5G testbed programme and more than 2000 businesses will benefit from 5G in the Midlands. 

In response to Covid-19 Digital Catapult worked with a consortium of digital creators to create mixed reality training resources for healthcare workers dealing with Covid-19. Within a few weeks the consortium developed a series of interventions including 2D videos and volumetric holographic videos as well as a platform for global distribution of the content. The training is being used by thousands of trainees, with more than 15,000 unique logins a day since the start of the crisis.

It has worked closely with industry and government to inform and advise businesses about its impact on emerging technology supply and demand. And with access to finance becoming a critical area for high growth digital companies, it hosted two investment webinars involving over 600 attendees, discussing the state of the investment landscape post-lockdown as well as questions around the Future Fund. Digital Catapult has engaged with 150 investment funds and investors, including ones endorsed by the ScaleUp Institute. This activity has resulted in several scaleups and scaling firms securing funding, for example Greyparrot has secured £2.75m and pipeline scaleup Techspert closed a £3.76m investment round.

Digital Catapult [Annual Review 2020] website