Atego in Cheltenham, the world’s largest independent modelling tool company, is independent no more.
This month the $50m acquisition of the company by Massachusetts-based PTC was completed. PTC has a history in the region, having bought Bristol-based high performance computing and virtual reality pioneer Division in 1999 where they both worked with Airbus. PTC is itself potentially being pursued by GE and late last year bought a pioneer in the Internet of Things, ThingsWorx.
Atego was formed in January 2010 from the merger of Aonix and Artisan Software Tools, creating headquarters in the USA and Cheltenham with subsidiaries in France, Germany, and Italy. The acquisition enhances PTC’s portfolio of product lifecycle management (PLM) and application lifecycle management (ALM) solutions, and strengthens PTC’s commitment to supporting its customers’ systems engineering initiatives with powerful modeling capabilities. Atego launched its
Atego’s market-leading Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) solution connects requirements engineering, architecture modeling, physical product definition, and system verification functions. In doing so, it drives efficiencies and process standardization, allowing distributed teams to collaboratively build digital models of complex systems, while managing system variability and enabling reuse. These capabilities are increasingly important in a world of smart, connected products in which manufacturers must concurrently develop systems that consist of sophisticated mechanical, electrical, and software components.
Most of the cost associated with any product occurs early in the development process. As such, good decisions made early – while architecting ideas – are critically important. With digital models, manufacturers can ascertain product viability and predict product performance early in the development process, thereby reducing project time and decreasing project costs.
“This is an acquisition that makes perfect sense for PTC,” said Peter Bilello, president of analysts CIMdata. “Products are no longer simply mechanical systems. And model-based systems engineering supports collaboration across multiple disciplines (mechanical, electrical, software, and controls) and other enterprise functions (manufacturing, purchasing, finance, service, and project management). CIMdata believes that MBSE will become the pervasive paradigm for product development, supporting and promoting a systems thinking mindset.”
“Today, the competitive landscape is characterized by complexity, and manufacturers must employ a holistic approach when designing smart, connected products,” said Brian Shepherd, EVP of Enterprise Segments for PTC. “For customers in our focused markets, there is increasing importance for multifunctional teams to work in concert while modeling the interdependencies of mechanical, electrical, and software engineering components. The acquisition of Atego extends our existing ALM and PLM technologies, and directly supports customers’ needs to integrate multiple systems engineering disciplines.”
Over the past 12 months, Atego achieved approximately $20 million in revenue.
Bristol-based chip designer XMOS has signed one of the largest chip deals so far this year with a $26m investment that could drive the company into the Internet of Things. “There’s not many chip companies getting funded here or in the US so that is quite a standout event in itself,” said Nigel Toon, XMOS CEO.
The investment comes from Robert Bosch, Huawei and Xilinx Technology Ventures is to accelerate development of the next generation multicore, low latency, low cost processors and programmable I/O. XMOS is looking to expand its silicon design team as a result, says Toon.
The deal includes investment from Europe, the US and China. “Huawei is an interesting partner,” said Toon. “They are focussed on investing in Europe which is a small part of the reason but they are the number 3 supplier in smart phones and interested in the whole extension of that into the Internet of Things – there are quite a few overlap areas. And a partnership with a company like that in China is tremendous.” Last month Huawei announced it was setting up an R&D centre in Bristol.
The XMOS technology fits well with Bosch in automotive, industrial and consumer, and Hongquan Jiang, Investment Principle at Robert Bosch Venture Capital, will join the XMOS board. “XMOS is one of the most exciting young semiconductor companies around today and we see a huge potential for their intelligent multicore technology in various sectors of our parent company,” he said.
The third leg of the investment is FPGA vendor Xilinx. “There’s nothing explicit with Xilinx but we are both programmable companies, we are lower power, they are heavily focussed on infrastructure so there’s a lot of overlap in our general interests,” said Toon, who used to work for arch-competitor Altera. “We have some common distributors so we can benefit from that.”
More on Huawei and XMOS from the FT: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/7de0d9d4-0e9a-11e4-a1ae-00144feabdc0.html
The £16.5m Enterprise Zone, announced by Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, today, will provide incubation and grow on space for businesses specialising in robotics, biosciences, biomedicine and other high tech areas. It has been developed in collaboration with the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership and the University of Bristol with strong support from South Gloucestershire Council, the University of Bath and the West of England Academic Heath Science Network.
The other three University Enterprise Zones are at Bradford with £12m for a digital health hub, Nottingham building a Technology Entrepreneurship Centre for big data, advanced manufacturing and aerospace, and energy, and Liverpool with £15m to become ‘Sensor City’.
UWE’s Zone in former HP Lab buildings at Frenchay will promote university-business collaboration, provide space for new and growing businesses, access to specialist facilities and expertise, and business support. The £16.5m project is supported by £4m from the government with match-funding from the Local Enterprise Partnership, business and UWE Bristol itself. The Zone is expected to generate over 500 new jobs, and generate more than £50m for the local economy. The 11,000 square metre building will provide laboratory space, offices and workshops, share start-up ‘studio’ space, communal space for networking and meeting, access to specialist equipment and technical support and business services.
Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Business Engagement at UWE, Professor Martin Boddy who led the project for the University commented, “The University has a strong track record of working with a whole range of partners to support innovation, business growth and the skills to meet business needs through innovation networks, knowledge transfer partnerships, the i4G Growth Fund and other initiatives.
“The University Enterprise Zone now provides a tremendously exciting opportunity to build on this success with a new venture that will help to drive forwards the major cluster of high growth, innovative, technology-based businesses in the West of England. This is one of a small number of national ‘pilot’ projects which provides the opportunity to demonstrate how collaboration between business and universities can drive innovation, jobs and business growth.
“This will be much more than just a building. It will provide access to the sorts of facilities and expertise that would otherwise be out of reach for new and growing businesses, it will provide ‘wet labs’ – currently a real gap in the market, it will promote collaboration and networking between businesses, university researchers, students and graduates and there will be dedicated business support and services from the University, Bristol Business School and partner organisations. It will complement Bristol and Bath Science Park, the LEP Enterprise Zone and Enterprise Areas and the Engine Shed Incubation Centre at Temple Quay and Bath Innovation Centre – together these provide a fantastically rich and fertile ecosystem to support business growth and innovation across the whole city-region.”
West of England LEP chair, Colin Skellett, said, “The Government’s support for the proposal from the University of the West of England and University of Bristol to establish a University Enterprise Zone with £4m of additional funding is extremely welcome, and recognition of the strengths our region offers. This will create opportunities for greater university-business collaboration, providing grow-on and incubator space alongside leading-edge university research and R&D facilities. The West of England is being seen more and more as a leader in a number of areas, including robotics, high tech, creative and digital innovation, which also form a key part of our strategic economic plan. The University Enterprise Zone very much complements our plan.”
High Tech Bristol & Bath (HBB) is recruiting a part time experienced network manager as its CEO. This is a board level appointment to the newly formed CIC company that will run a range of Special Interest Groups (SIGs) on vertical and horizontal technologies in the West of England area.
These include wireless technologies, high performance computing, smart city, digital health, education & skills and high tech marketing. These groups are led by SIG champions who determine work plans and deliverables.
The network manager will:
- Organise SIG meeting
- Liaise with SIG champions, recruit replacement champions from membership
- Sign up new members locally, nationally and internationally with the support of board members
- Promote HBB activities locally, nationally and internationally
- Manage membership list
- Organise & manage voting for SIG champions where necessary
- Develop new SIGs with new members
- Develop new revenue streams and raise sponsorship
- Liaising with network partners, sponsors, members and the High Tech sector group of the West of England LEP
The role is initially 1-2 days/ week but there is potential to turn this into a full time role depending on the revenue raised. We currently have members from universities, companies and local authorities in the region. The network manager will report to the board of HBB and also sit on the High Tech Sector group of the Local Economic Partnership which acts as the advisory group to the HBB board.
- Self starter
- Experience with running networks
- Electronics industry knowledge
- Innovative thinker
- Collaborative worker
The backgrounder for the HBB activities is here
Deadline for applications is Friday 25th July. Interviews will be in the week of 28th July 2014, date to be confirmed to successful applicants. To apply, please forward your CV and covering letter to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have any questions please contact Nick on the email above or on 07710 236368
The Bristol and Bath region has an internationally-significant and fast-growing high tech sector according to an influential new report.
The high tech, creative and digital media innovation cluster is showcased in a new report by the Centre for Cities and McKinsey & Company which recommends more Government investment in key clusters to stimulate growth in the UK economy.
Three of the 12 high-growth, globally-significant UK clusters identified in the report are based in the South West – they are the region’s high tech, aerospace and tourism sectors. Technology is also identified as key to many of those 12 clusters.
Stand-out strengths of Bristol and Bath’s cluster are its diverse combination of industries and strong networks, according to the report, which highlights the region as an in-depth case study.
“It is this diversity of connected sectors, skilled workforce, world leading academic research and brilliant quality of life that make Bristol and Bath so distinctive and attractive,” said Professor Joe McGeehan, chair of inward investment agency Invest Bristol & Bath and special advisor to Toshiba. “Industries ranging from high tech to creative and digital media, and from robotics to aerospace, work collaboratively to drive innovation. Major global players are increasingly setting up operations in the Bristol and Bath region as they seek to benefit from this offering as part of their plan for business growth.’
The cluster covers electronics manufacturers, animation and computer graphics firms, as well as digital start-ups and university spin-outs. This ‘melting pot’ of companies ranges from larger players such as Aardman Animations, HP and Toshiba to small 3D printing and robotics technology start-ups.
Specialist hubs such as Bristol & Bath Science Park, Watershed and the Engine Shed are also highlighted as a vital component of this thriving cluster, along with networks which connect talent, companies, universities and investors across sectors.
Clusters are a major contributor to economic growth, an important source of well-paid jobs and also bring wider business advantages such as a strong understanding of customer demand and support for innovation. As a result, clusters are well placed to attract investment and talent, according to the report.
Inward investment agency Invest Bristol & Bath has recognised the strength of the cluster to secure a flurry of investment and interest from national and international high-tech firms wanting to establish a base in the area.
Chinese telecoms giant Huawei is setting up an R&D facility in Bristol, while Somo, the largest independent mobile solutions company, has chosen Bristol to set up a specialist engineering centre, and digital solutions company Kainos has also invested in opening a new office in the city. Leading online takeaway service JUST EAT has also announced it is expanding its technology development by opening a new specialist hub in Bristol.
The Centre for Cities report also highlights a range of barriers to the development of a successful cluster, including the challenge of securing recognition on a global stage. “Clusters are an essential feature of an innovative and dynamic economy, and the Government needs to support them and remove the barriers to their growth,” said Lord Sainsbury, who commissioned the report.
“We know that relatively small, but targeted investments in areas such as skills and infrastructure can make a significant difference in the UK’s economic output,” said Centre for Cities chief executive Alexandra Jones. “Improving local business environments and increasing the flexibility of our cities to respond to their specific challenges will not only support existing clusters to reach their potential, but encourage the emergence of new clusters and high-growth firms in all sectors across the UK.”
Joe McGeehan who was at the launch of the report, “Just over a year ago, we established Invest Bristol & Bath, the area’s inward investment agency to promote the region at a national and international level. This move is already paying dividends as Invest Bristol & Bath, which is backed by funding from the Government’s Department for Business, Innovation & Skills, has created over 700 jobs in the past year.”
David Sproxton, chairman and co-founder of Aardman, said: ‘It is excellent to see a report focusing on the importance of industrial clusters as powerhouses for the economy, and highlighting Bristol and Bath for its undoubted strengths across the high tech, creative and digital-media space. We definitely need to raise the profile of UK clusters so they can continue to compete on the global stage.’
Bonnie Dean, chief executive of Bristol & Bath Science Park, says: ‘It is the collaborative approach of Bristol and Bath’s technologists, business leaders and academics, combined with its rich network of interlinked, complimentary sectors that make the tech cluster here particularly successful. The region has excelled in creating a lively ecosystem of enterprise, where knowledge, expertise and ideas are shared, innovative thinking is stimulated and business success is accelerated.’
A vibrant and innovative cluster, Bristol & Bath’s tech industry is producing animated films, the latest breakthroughs in analysing ‘big data’ and the world’s smallest drones.
Mayor of Bristol George Ferguson responding to the news said: “This is a very welcome report that recognises Bristol and Bath as one of the most important clusters of economic activity in the UK. Our growing expertise in the creative and digital sector is getting attention and attracting more and more companies to relocate here.”
See also: Bristol is the best tech cluster outside London at http://www.bristolpost.co.uk/Government-urged-backing-Bristol-s-key-clusters/story-21315283-detail/story.html#ixzz36P1AKREE