SETsquared, a technology accelerator that supports companies spinning out of five UK universities, has been named the number one business incubator in Europe and the second best in the world. 

The ranking, published on Tuesday by the University Business Incubator (UBI) Index, saw SETsquared beat the SCUT Science Park at South China University of Technology but lose out to The Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship at Rice University Houston. 

Dhruv Bhalti, co-founder and director at UBI Index described SETsquared as an “outstanding” business incubator that provides “exceptional quality to its client companies and produces growth companies and high economic impact”. 

The SETsquared partnership, which includes the universities of Bath, Bristol, Exeter, Southampton and Surrey, has supported over 1,000 tech start-ups who have raised over £1 billion in investment between them since the incubator was founded 11 years ago. 

Success stories include companies that have developed microchips that speed up connection to the internet, swine flu detection kits and security systems. 

SETsquared innovation director Simon Bond said: “The UBI Index highlights that Europe’s university business incubators have to work more effectively in order to compete on the world stage.

“SETsquared must now reach out to like-minded organisations to form partnerships and collaborations that add value for our entrepreneurs and client businesses.” 

Fifty SETsquared companies pitched for £13 million in Central London last November at the SETsquared Accelerating Growth conference. 

Approximately 800 incubators in 60 countries were involved in the 2014 UBI Index. 

Other UK university incubators include Imperial Innovations and ideaSpace, which backs start-ups spinning out of Cambridge University.