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Fast facts

  • Company: ICO3
  • Location: Plymouth, Devon
  • Industry/sector: website development and online marketing


ICO3 is a website development and online marketing company formed in 2000 as a University of Plymouth spin out company. It originally started in 1997 when a team of researchers began undertaking a variety of web development projects to assist teaching and learning and help businesses adapt to technical change. 

ICO3 moved to the Tamar Science Park in 2001 and since then has continued to grow and expand with turnover this year increasing by 20 per cent. They currently operate a portfolio of websites in both the public and private sectors and provide clients with professional, customised solutions to suit their specific business requirements including website design and functionality, and search engine optimisation. An important aspect of ICO3's ethos is supporting small businesses and assisting them through the challenging world of business internet use. They currently support 20 small local businesses from a range of sectors.

As a University partner, and a growing business in the Peninsula Growth Acceleration and Investment Network (GAIN), ICO3 are also passionate about setting an empowering example to students and staff of what can be achieved with a sound business model and hard work. They currently employ eight University of Plymouth graduates and many ICO3 employees started at the company as placement students or interns.

“The company was born out of the University’s drive and commitment to create strong links between business and academia. We are a fast growing, research-based company committed to employing qualified and enthusiastic staff. Using placement students, interns & graduates from the University has helped us to employ qualified staff we can grow & shape into very capable employees.” 

David Gadd, CEO, ICO3 Limited


For the University:

  • Employment and work experience for students and graduates within a growing commercial company, enabling them to gain invaluable knowledge and experience. 
  • Enables strong links between academia and business (both ICO3 and its client base) informing teaching and learning

For the business:

  • Close links with the University and its many departments
  • Access to talented students and graduates 
  • Ongoing support and guidance from University experts 
  • Received funding through the University, enabling the company to expand 

ICO3’s drive to further grow the company was recognised when they were awarded funding through the popular University of Plymouth and Western Morning News Growth Fund (PWGF), which enabled them to employ an additional seven professional staff with career progression, at a time of great economic uncertainty in the region. 

In the long-term, the company has a business plan with a clear vision, goals, achievable routes to market, sustainable income and high growth, and are on their way to a £1 million turnover per annum within the next three years. 

“The University has helped us to develop our expertise, grow the business and give us the enthusiasm to succeed. Our relationship with the University has always been successful right from grass roots business contracts and participation in University initiatives.” 

David Gadd, CEO, ICO3 Limited