Digital Tech Case Study: Simpleware
Complexity converted to simple models by Exeter firm
Equipping companies with the tools to visualise data and create 3D images was the brainchild of Professor Philippe Young. Based at the University of Exeter, Professor Young was conducting a research project when he had the idea for Simpleware.
3D image visualisation
Simpleware’s software converts complex data from scans, enabling firms to process 3D image data, analyse and export models for testing. This insight means processes can be thoroughly understood and supports the creation of more efficient products and services.
For the medical sector, the company developed a breakthrough in creating complex structures from scans, such as MRI and CT scans.
Simpleware grew to an international company, and in 2016 was acquired by Synopsys, Inc., one of the largest software companies in the world. Yet the 3D image and data visualisation software firm continues to be based in Exeter and is part of a growing digital tech hub that is based in the city.
Global reach from the South West
With 30 staff based mainly in Exeter and across offices in the US and India, Simpleware has been able to expand its offering, serving the medical, automotive, aerospace, and oil and gas sectors. Professor Philippe Young said:
“Part of the reason behind the successful development of the company has been thanks to the attractive work-life balance the Exeter area offers, which has allowed us to retain a large proportion of our workforce. The University’s research facilities and the high-calibre professionals it produces have also been a huge driving factor.”
Exeter has benefited from a host of successful tech firms: eight of these were honoured as SETsquared named their ‘top 50 entrepreneurs’ at an event held at the House of Commons.
Professor Young was recognised as one of the outstanding entrepreneurs, selected from a list of over a thousand. SETsquared is a partnership between the universities of Bath, Bristol, Exeter, Southampton and Surrey that supports high-tech start-ups.
Joe Pearce, Head of Business Support at SETsquared’s centre in Exeter, said: “Philippe Young’s story is indicative of the culture of the university and Exeter. SETsquared’s goal is to harness talent and enable it to grow.
“The acquisition by American firm Synopsys showcases the value of a good idea. The challenge is always how to turn that idea into reality and that is what we and many of the incubators in Exeter are here to support.”
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