ConnectTVT launches fourth 50 Game Changers in the Thames Valley Austin Fraser, BDB Pitmans and Deloitte join initiative to celebrate region’s digital start-ups


Louize Clarke | November 14, 2019

ConnectTVT has today announced its new collaborators for its flagship 50 Game Changers 2020 programme. Leading law firm BDB Pitmans and business advisory firm Deloitte UK, will be working with ConnectTVT to champion the Thames Valley’s break-out tech and digital start-ups and scale-ups. Reading HQ’d global tech and life science recruitment specialists, Austin Fraser, return as partners to the initiative.

Now in its fourth year, the 50 Game Changers programme brings together those businesses on a mission to transform their sectors, contribute to the evolving technology industry and create lasting change. 

Figures from Tech Nation show that the Thames Valley has both the highest technology gross value added (GVA) outside of London at £6.99bn, together with the largest tech and digital workforce at 58,000 people.  However, issues such as access to workplaces and recruiting skilled teams remain a real challenge to the local technology community.

A spotlight on the tech community
50 Game Changers was launched by ConnectTVT co-founder Louize Clarke in 2016, to put a spotlight on the growing community of start-up technology talent in the region, raise awareness of investment opportunities available locally and encourage talent development. Previous “Changers” include Fairsail (now SageUK), AI leaders Volume and satellite solutions partner Open Cosmos. The 2018 cohort of 50 Game Changers collectively raised investment of £55m that year alone.

Louize Clarke comments, “50 Game Changers is about creating a supportive, dynamic eco-system that start-ups can thrive in. Yes, we have a reputation as a digital tech hub but the landscape’s changing dramatically with Brexit, through to the Elizabeth Line and ongoing talent shortages. Looking ahead, collaboration will become our superpower. That’s why we’re delighted to welcome Deloitte, BDB Pitmans and of course, Austin Fraser, as partners, to help our Game Changers – and the wider tech community – reach their full potential in 2020.”

Being a 2020 Game Changer

Start-ups and scaling businesses can nominate themselves and other brands to be part of the 2020 cohort. Selection criteria include:

Co-founder Matt Bovey adds, “From day one, we’ve cared more about positive impact over turnover, potential over size, passion over how much you’ve raised. Whether you’re a start-up changing the lives of your team, here in the Thames Valley, or opening new frontiers in space, we want to hear from you.” 

Pete Hart, CEO at Austin Fraser adds, “We’re huge advocates of Louize and Matt’s philosophy of long-term investment in the tech community. Talent is critical to growing a game changing business, but right now, we’re seeing so much shift to London, Oxford and Bristol. We all need to play a bigger part in supporting and fostering a bigger tech talent hub in the Thames Valley, making sure we’re bringing through and retaining the next band of developers, engineers and tech leaders.” 

The Deloitte Tech Foundry in Reading was opened earlier this year, providing a space for employees and clients to share expertise on how digital transformation can accelerate innovation across business.

Daniel Barlow, practice senior partner for Reading, Southampton and Gatwick at Deloitte, said: “The Thames Valley plays host to some of the country’s fastest-growing technology start-ups, which are instigating ground-breaking developments for the whole industry. For this reason, we’re thrilled to be supporting the 50 Game Changers in the Thames Valley, and look forward to working with the region’s brightest technology start-ups and scale-ups throughout the programme.” 

Andrew Smith, Managing Partner at BDB Pitmans comments: “Through the 50 Game Changers programme, Louize Clarke has made real strides in building a community of innovative and exciting startups in the Thames Valley region. We’re proud to be championing this initiative to enable more tech companies to achieve their ambitions and drive forward further success in the region.”

Applications for the 50 Game Changers 2020 are open until 31st December 2019. The final 50 will be announced on 27th February 2020 at The Curious Lounge, ConnectTVT’s event partner.

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