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2021 ‘Ones to Watch’ list published in runup to CreaTech platform for pioneers on Sept 21st in London Tech Week

Export and growth ambitions are driving the UK businesses at the intersection of creativity and technology celebrated in the new CreaTech ‘Ones to Watch’ list.

Of the 100 businesses on the 2021 list, 57 already export, despite the majority of the 100 (66) reporting relatively modest annual turnover of under £632,000.

Of those already exporting, they are most likely to have made sales to Asia Pacific and North American markets.

The vast majority of the CreaTech ‘Ones to Watch’ companies are also in overt growth mode, with 84 describing themselves as either start-up or scale-up operations.

Two companies (Blue Zoo Animation Studio and Imagination) already have more than £10m in annual turnover. A further seven turn over more than £2.5m a year.

Ambitions for the future growth of such CreaTech businesses are built on the innovation these companies offer. Typically, they mix technologies such as artificial intelligence and virtual or augmented reality with creative expertise to add value to entertainment, experiences, business services, or public goods in multiple categories.

The ‘Ones to Watch’ list is published annually by the Creative Industries Council (CIC), with support from Digital Catapult, Facebook, Moore Kingston Smith and UKRI (AHRC) to highlight such breakthrough CreaTech businesses from across the UK. The list was selected by a panel of industry leaders, funding bodies, and experts.

Twenty of the Ones to Watch companies will feature in a dedicated CreaTech platform on September 21st, as part of the London Tech Week (Sept 20-24) of virtual events. As well as showcasing some of the listed companies, CreaTech video sessions will explore funding, export opportunities, talent, and future directions.

The nascent CreaTech space has been praised by UK government, industry and venture capitalists for its potential to generate new sources of revenue, employment, and cultural value.

Venture Capital (VC) funding in UK CreaTech is forecast to rise by 25% to a record £1.2bn by 2022, according to The Tech Nation CreaTech Report 2021. By this assessment, CreaTech and ClimateTech are two of the fastest growing areas of VC tech investment in the UK.

Interest in CreaTech is also increasing the value placed on hybrid creative technology skills. Between 2017 and 2019, advertised vacancies for some key CreaTech roles grew almost five times faster than total UK job vacancies, according to Tech Nation.

Within the creative/design job category, 56% of advertised vacancies required CreaTech skills. The median salary for these CreaTech creative/design roles was 11% higher than the UK median advertised salary.

CreaTech could have an important role to play in the economic recovery of the UK creative industries that have been severely disrupted by audience restrictions and other measures
introduced to counter COVID-19. Before the pandemic, CreaTech was one of the growth hotspots in the UK creative industries, which in total contributed £115.9bn to the UK economy in 2019.

The pre-COVID growth rate of the creative industries was more than three times faster than the UK economy as a whole, and creative businesses also over-delivered in terms of their
share of UK service exports.

Welcoming the 2021 CreaTech Ones to Watch list, Minister for Digital and Culture Caroline Dinenage said: “Our creative industries are an economic powerhouse and it’s no
surprise that the 2021 Ones to Watch list includes 100 businesses with big ambitions. Creative technology has transformed our lives, it was central to keeping us entertained during the pandemic, and will be at the heart of our recovery as we build back better.”

Dr Jeremy Silver, CEO, Digital Catapult, the UK authority on advanced digital technology, and Chair of the CIC R&D and Innovation working group, said: “The coming together of the creative industries with the technology sector has enormous potential for the UK economy, as demonstrated by the amazing line-up of innovative businesses in the ‘Ones to Watch’ list, and there’s still lots more to come.

“The UK is a global creative industries super power. So we’re well placed to build on that and develop new ways to boost collaboration between academia and industry. The time is
now to accelerate innovation in the creative industries and boost R&D, to fuel the UK’s Covid recovery and to take our industries to new heights.”

Janet Hull, CIC CreaTech Organiser and Director of Marketing Strategy at the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising, said: “Ones to Watch provides a valuable showcase to demonstrate to government, industry, and investors through concrete examples the multiplicity of scalable commercial business opportunities being created at the convergence of creative industries and tech. In combination with the evidence from The Tech Nation CreaTech Reports, we now have a robust base from which to seek government collaboration, commitment and support for an effective long-term growth plan.”

More about the 2021 CreaTech Ones to Watch and the Tech Nation CreaTech reports at www.thecreativeindustries.co.uk/createch

The 2021 full List






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