A selection of the most promising UK tech companies are pitching their business ideas to dozens of investors in London today in a bid to secure more than £13 million between them.

The 50 start-ups  spun out through five UK universities including Bath, Bristol, Exeter, Southampton and Surrey  are exhibiting their technologies at the SETsquared Accelerating Growth conference in Westminster and a number of them are giving Dragons Den-style pitches to an audience full of venture capitalists.

SETsquared partnership director Graham Harrison said: “While some of these are small businesses today, they hold huge promise, which is why we have always had such strong interest from global investors.”

“The businesses we are helping to grow today are the potential stars of tomorrow and will make a vital contribution to the UK's future prosperity," he added.

The SETsquared event has been held annually for the last 10 years and a number of businesses that have pitched in previous years have gone on to grow rapidly, secure significant trade sales and even float on stock markets.

SETsquared is a collaboration between universities which aims to support the growth and success of new business opportunities through spin-outs, licensing, incubation and education.

A panel discussion was held at the conference on what should be done in the UK in order to boost the UK's chances of creating the next tech giant.

The panel, which included Iian Gray, the CEO of the government's innovaiton agency (the Technology Strategy Board) and Will Franks, founder of femtocell maker Ubiquisys (acquired by Cisco for $310 million in April), highlighted the lack of venture capitalists in London that are willing to back companies with more than £100 million. 

They said without these type of investors, which are far more abundant in the US, the UK will find it difficult to produce the next big tech company.