Tech City UK Blog

After five days spent at SxSW Interactive 2016 in Austin, Texas, we reflect on the UK’s position as a global hub of innovation and disruption


On Sunday 13th March, Tech City UK hosted ‘Tech Nation and the Disruption of the Music Industry’ at the Great Britain House at SxSW. The event was formed of three parts: one and a half hours of demonstrations from some of the finest UK technology companies; one hour of expert panel discussion on how the music industry has changed with technological innovation; and a one and a half hour DJ set from Nico Perez, founder of UK tech powerhouse Mixcloud.


Companies demonstrating at our event showcase the huge variation of location, sector and size of digital tech businesses in the UK. Here is the full list of companies who demonstrated:


  • Bloom & Wild – Online flower delivery service and Upscale company – based in London
  • Cocoon – Revolutionary IoT home security and Upscale company – based in Leeds
  • Leaf Music – Online music platform and Northern Stars winner – based in Newcastle
  • Lumi Insights – Real time audience insights and Future Fifty company – based in London
  • Pavegen – Disruptive kinetic energy and Tech Nation feature company – based in London
  • Peak – Innovative data intelligence and Northern Stars company – based in Manchester
  • Sociable – Brand new social platform launching at SxSW – based in London
  • Veeqo – Global eCommerce software provider recently acquired ParcelBright – based in Swansea
  • What3words – Disruptive location communication tool and Malta delegation company – based in London

With the Tech Nation 2016 report launch in February came the recognition of yet more incredible tech clusters emerging around the country and a deeper understanding of the dynamics within these clusters. The report found that more than ever, non-traditional industries are being completely transformed by digital tech businesses and employ a huge range of digital tech employees. With companies on show that are headquartered all around the UK and vary broadly from Pavegen in energy creation and Cocoon’s home security cameras; to Bloom & Wild flower delivery and What3Words location communication platform.


This shows the world once again that the UK is a powerful force in creating disruptive software, hardware and entrepreneurs, no matter their location.



Following the demonstrations our expert panel took to the stage to discuss the transformation and disruption of the music industry across the world, through technological innovation. Here are the panel members:


  • Mike Butcher, Editor of Tech Crunch
  • Nico Perez, Co-founder, Mixcloud
  • Vince Bannon, VP Strategic Partnerships at Getty
  • Ben Bowler, Co-founder, Chew

The panel discussed everything from why Getty Images are beginning to engage in music; to Mixcloud’s choice to bootstrap the business from day one (founded 2008); and Chew’s journey through the Ignite Accelerator programme in Newcastle. Following the panel discussion, Nico Perez took to the stage to get the crowd dancing and further demonstrate his incredible knowledge of the music industry.

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Each panellist gave their opinions on camera about the growth of the UK as a true Tech Nation, which will be available in video form soon. SxSW Interactive was an amazing experience for both Tech City UK and Tech North, who brought along the 10 winning companies from the first Northern Stars competition and for the first time showed the colossal audience that there are a lot of amazing companies coming out of the North of England, here is the full list of Northern Stars winners:


Screen Shot 2016-03-13 at 15.16.07

Tech City UK and Tech North will most likely be attending SxSW again next year after picking up some amazing information, contacts and experiences which show the clear value of attending and showcasing at the event. We’d like to thank all the companies who attended with us; UKTI for all their hard work and effort bringing everyone from the UK together; and the fantastic people of Austin for making SxSW such a wonderful experience.


Read about some other events we attended.