Tech Nation announces Rising Star winners


Tech Nation has announced the 10 winners of its second-ever Rising Stars competition, which is designed to showcase the most exciting pre-Series A funding companies in the UK.

The competition received more than 400 applications in total, a 39% rise on 2018, with winners coming from right across the UK, including Truro, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Birmingham, Southampton, Glasgow, Manchester and Cardiff.

Of the original applicants, 30% had at least one female founder, and 90% of companies who entered the final are from outside of London.

Now, the winners will receive one-to-one support, introductions to potential partners and investors, as well as support from the programme partners, which include BDO Drive, Microsoft Advertising and Talent Works International.

“It’s incredibly exciting to see how the Tech Nation Rising Stars competition has grown in the last year,” said Esme Caulfield, competitions lead at Tech Nation. “The standard of companies from all parts of the UK has been impressive at every stage. I’m looking forward to following the winners’ future successes and continuing to support them in their growth journey.”

Some of the winners include Tootoot, a software-as-a-service company that supports the psychological safety and wellbeing of individuals within education, sport and the workplace by providing a way to confidentially raise concerns within organisations, ClearGlass, a financial technology firm that acts as a digital intermediary between asset managers and pension funds, and CoGrammer, the largest provider of coding education on the African continent.

During the final, companies pitched to a panel of industry judges and an audience of over 200 venture capitalists, founders and corporate representatives.

Looking outwards

The panel included techUK President Jacqueline de Rojas, PrettyLittleThing co-founder Adam Kamani and managing director of Microsoft for Startups UK Amali de Alwis. “As we face explosive shifts in technology, platforms and fast moving markets, we must look outwards not inwards towards those who embrace the dynamic shifts in the way we embrace our digital future,” said de Rojas.

“What we have seen today changes the definition of what flexibility and being quick to change means. I’m excited and optimistic about the contribution they can make to what comes next.”

Overall, there are 5,000 tech companies in the UK scaleup ecosystem, which collectively employ 200,000 people and, according to Tech Nation, add £17.2bn to the UK economy.

In 2019 UK tech scaleups significantly outperformed their European peers by raising £10.1.bn, more than France (£3.8bn) and Germany (£5.4bn) combined.

According to the Tech Nation Report 2019, investment in the UK’s technology scaleups grew by 61% in 2018, accounting for 5% of global tech scaleup investments.

In 2019, the UK’s technology sector also secured one-third of all European tech investments to hit a record high of $13.2bn, according to the latest industry figures.


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