10 brilliant Bournemouth start-ups to watch

26 Apr 2018

Bournemouth Pier. Image: Ian Woolcock/Shutterstock

The seaside resort town of Bournemouth is a surprising haven for digital visionaries working on cool new products and services. Here are the ones to watch.

The idea of starting up is something that seems to permeate the DNA of Bournemouth residents.

The town itself is a kind of start-up because, before it was founded in 1810 by Lewis Tregonwell, it was a deserted heathland that was only used by smugglers and fishermen.

Today, as well as being a thriving seaside town with a strong tourist economy, Bournemouth is also something of a tech and fintech hub, with major employers that include JP Morgan, Tata (formerly Unisys) and Liverpool Victoria.

Bournemouth has two universities: Bournemouth University and Arts University Bournemouth.

According to the UK’s Tech Nation 2017 report, Bournemouth and neighbouring Poole are home to creative industries, and the tech prowess is powered by a strong supply of graduate talent from these universities, including Bournemouth and Poole College and the acclaimed National Centre for Computer Animation at Bournemouth University.

Accelerators include First Bourne while notable workspaces include Barclays Eagle Labs, Box 44 and This Workspace.

Regular meet-ups include Meetdraw, Open Sauce and Virgin Start-up.

According to Tech Nation, Bournemouth is home to close to 200 start-ups, and almost 16,000 people are employed in the digital sector.

Here are the Bournemouth start-ups to watch.

3 Sided Cube

3 Sided Cube is a mobile app and games developer that does full-stack development for apps with a global purpose. Clients include the Red Cross, NHS, RNLI, Boots and Lloyds Bank.


Base is a digital technology group with a focus on app-based products and services for smart cities. It helps organisations to innovate with websites, mobile apps, the internet of things and wearables. Passenger, a subsidiary of Base, specialises in digital products and services for bus and light-rail operators.


BBX UK is a business bank exchange that helps connect businesses with sales opportunities and, as a result, is fostering a large business community. Founded by John Attridge, this community helps entrepreneurs in 14 countries to leverage spare capacity for business opportunities. As of last September, it has helped its 90,000 customers fill 1.1m hotel rooms, make 19m introductions that resulted in transactions, buy and sell £977m worth of advertising, and enable £32m in donations to charities.

Buy With Thrills

Based in both Bournemouth and Stockholm, Buy With Thrills (BWT) is on a mission to transform how shoppers buy products, enabling online shoppers to buy in groups with friends or other members. Founded by Martin Spooner and Val Gorsky, BWT offers discounts towards popular products and services.

Horse Scout

Horse Scout is a UK-based global equestrian network used by Olympians and professionals. Starting out at the Box 44 co-working space, Horse Scout is currently expanding its offering to a branded insurance, commerce platform and global horse bloodline database. Founded in 2016 by Lucienne Elms, Horse Scout has raised $460,000 in seed funding.


Ikooloo is a business intelligence start-up that provides an easy way to see social media, app traffic and other digital business metrics. Ikooloo was started in 2016 by Andrew Walker.


MakeStudio is a creative experience agency that designs visionary experiences for major brands including ABB, Garmin, Knight Frank, Savills, Ordnance Survey and Monsoon, to name a few. It has offices in Bournemouth and Amsterdam.

Nourish Care

Nourish Care works closely with care providers, local health and social care organisations, as well as families and communities to improve how care is managed, delivered, monitored and improved. It was founded in 2012 by António Seiça and Nuno Almeida.


Picniq is a site for parents on the hunt for fun things to do with their kids. Picniq was started in 2013 by Claire Skerrett and exists in the form of a website and app.


Ratio has created decision and comparison engines for the financial services and fashion sectors. Founded in 2014 by Marc Biles and Tara Flynn in 2013, the company provides software used by many of the UK’s leading price-comparison websites as well as its own site, Choose Wisely.

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Updated, 8.32am, 26 April 2018: This article was updated to correct a figure in relation to Horse Scout funding, in which we mistakenly referred to pounds rather than dollars.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years