Surrey Research Park

The government has announced plans to turn the UK into a global crypto-currency hub. This new plan will see stable-coins recognised as a standard payment type and regulated in the same way as normal currency. The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak has asked the Royal Mint to create an NFT and they will also introduce a ‘financial market infrastructure sandbox’ this will apparently allow companies to experiment and innovate.

Surrey Research Park is rapidly becoming a pioneering hub for crypto and many of the Park tenants, such as Gold-i, report significant plans for growth in this sector.

Gold-i takes great pride in its pioneering approach and tenacious work ethic, so there’s no surprise it bagged the title of Business Innovation of the Year at the 2021 Surrey Business Awards. The award was for the Gold-i Data Switch, which has added a whole new revenue stream to the business and enabled Gold-i to enter the hedge fund space.

This disruptive fintech company is renowned for shaking up the market by developing software to enhance the capabilities of foreign exchange (FX) brokers and hedge fund managers worldwide. Its broad product portfolio includes a multi-asset liquidity management platform, a liquidity bridge with risk management features and a real-time risk management and business intelligence tool. Its innovative Crypto Switch™ is a key focus for 2022, reflecting the increasing interest in crypto trading from institutional clients. This product enables brokers and fund managers to offer digital assets to clients and crypto market makers to distribute liquidity to Gold-i’s global client base.

“I am so proud of being a Surrey-based company and winning Surrey Business Award,” says CEO Tom Higgins. “It was special to be able to take a whole table at the awards evening so that my wonderful staff could share the excitement of our win.”

In an effort to push the boundaries, Gold-i continually invests in new product development, and all software is created by the in-house team at Surrey Research Park in Guildford. “When I started the company in 2008, I lived in Guildford, so wanted to have a local office,” says Tom. “I chose Surrey Research Park because the prices were very competitive and there was a good choice of offices available, but most importantly, the staff were so helpful and approachable, and have continued to be throughout the 13 years we’ve been here. As the business has grown, we’ve had the flexibility to upgrade our office by moving into an amazing new space on the same floor.”

Gold-i has a strong identity and clear corporate values, which, Tom explains, make it a great company to work for and work with. These are: innovate, get it done and have fun. The team is committed to going above and beyond to deliver for clients and have a “wear a loud shirt” attitude, with a focus on pushing boundaries without fear or failure. Gold-i, may the innovation and growth continue!

Another Park tenant is 22cans who’s new game Legacy has sold $57 million worth of NFTs. The latest game from Fable creator, Peter Molyneux is a big departure from his previous work. His studio at 22cans has teamed up with Gala Games, a publisher known for play-to-earn blockchain games, to make Legacy. This game is built around a kind of digital e-commerce platform with its own crypto called LegacyCoin where players create thingamabobs, trinkets, other fantastic creations and sell them on an in-game marketplace. Players buy land, make factories, and sell their goods. 

22Cans has completely sold out of its digital land NFTs. The company has made a total of $57.721 million from selling digital land based on ETH to USD conversions. That’s a huge chunk of revenues that’s roughly half of Ubisoft’s entire micro-transaction earnings made in Q3’21.

The interesting thing to note is the NFTs value fluctuates based on crypto value. So these NFTs may be worth $57 million today, and even less (or more) tomorrow as the value of the associated crypto rises or falls.

The games industry actually started 30 years ago at the Park and since then, Guildford has widely been proclaimed as one of the world leader in games development, home to over 60 games studios and around 3,000 of the most skilled programmers in the world.

So how did Surrey Research Park emerge as the UK centre of such innovation?

In 1987, two entrepreneurs, Peter Molyneux and Les Edgar started Bullfrog Productions, a small computer games company located at STC, which caters for start-ups with flexible letting arrangements designed to facilitate company growth. This enterprising support ecosystem made Surrey Research Park a compelling prospect for the ambitious entrepreneurs, enviably located near to London and benefiting from the link with the University of Surrey and its Centre for Vision, Speech and Signal Processing (CVSSP) that had opened only two years earlier in 1985.

Scaling fast, Bullfrog Productions made an auspicious start, producing the game Populous which remains one of the best-selling PC games of all times to the tune of four million copies sold. With their flair for creating popular games and maximising market opportunities, they continued to develop innovative and high-quality games, successfully rolling out their creations to Nintendo and Sega. Bullfrog Productions rapidly expanded its workforce to around 60 and was able to scale up fast within the Park, as it quickly outgrew the start-up centre to reside in its own offices in Nugent Road. After a dizzying spell of growth and success, Bullfrog Productions was acquired by American video game company, Electronic Arts in 1995 which then relocated its office in Guildford. The opportunity for gifted game industry developers from around the world to develop their careers at Surrey Research Park snowballed, attracting more companies and further fuelling demand for new talent.

In the early to mid-90s, Surrey Research Park’s fast-growing Gaming tenant list also included Criterion Studios, a spin-out from Canon Incs. which was founded by David Lau-Kee. Again taking advantage of the flexibility and scope to quickly scale-up on the Park, within a year the company had expanded to 36 head-count. Electronic Arts, keeping its eye on successful companies within the area, swiftly acquired Criterion Studies in 2004, resulting in the decision to close its Chertsey studio to consolidate and expand its expertise and resources within Guildford. The town was fast securing its reputation as a global hub for the Gaming sector.

As it approaches the 30th year since the Park welcomed their first Guildford Gaming tenant, they are proud to take a moment to reflect and celebrate a sector that has since grown to be worth £5.3 billion in the UK in 2019/20. Underpinned by an established and highly esteemed local network of industry and academia, it has achieved over £1 billion of international foreign direct investment and continues to grow and innovate at an incredible pace.

Tel: 01483 579693


Related Posts

50 Interview with John Holland-Kaye

The last two years have posed an unprecedented challenge to people, businesses, and communities up and down the country. However, there...

50 Drinking to success

Originally planted in 1989, Greyfriars Vineyard was purchased in 2010 by current owners Mike and Hilary Wagstaff who were attracted...

50 Why having a clear exit strategy is so important

Many of the business owners I work with are brilliant at setting goals for the direction of the business and have a keen focus on the...