Tech Nation reveals the UK’s top regional early-stage scaling tech companies

A selection of the 2019 Rising Stars winners

TECH NATION, the UK’s leading network for ambitious tech entrepreneurs, has today revealed the 33 regional winners of its nationwide competition. Rising Stars represents and recognises the UK’s most exciting and innovative early-stage scaling tech companies. 

The UK is already a world-leader in producing successful tech companies, creating more $1bn tech companies than any other European country and Israel.  While London is undoubtedly at the forefront of global tech, the rest of the UK is also home to thriving clusters of tech innovation. The UK has six cities that are home to at least two unicorn companies – Cambridge, Oxford, Manchester, Leeds, Bristol and Edinburgh. 

Rising Stars, the UK’s only national early-stage tech scaleup competition, is designed to help the most exciting early-stage scaling tech companies take their business to the next level and become the world-leading tech companies of the future.

The 33 regional winners revealed today were required to be at Seed to pre-Series A funding or generating annual revenues up to £1.5m. Selected by a panel of industry experts, the companies have been regarded as tech leaders within their respective regions. Following the semi-final in January, the competition will culminate in a grand final in February 2020, where the top 20 companies will pitch to a high-profile panel to become one of Tech Nation’s 10 Rising Stars.

The competition’s prize package has been built to significantly raise the profile of the winning companies on both a national and international level. Companies will have their profile raised throughout the competition and have access to pitch coaching to enable them to compete to the best of their ability. Furthermore, they will have the opportunity to pitch to over 200 high profile investors and corporate leaders. 

Now in its second year, demand for the competition from early-stage founders has seen a 39% rise in applications compared to 2018, demonstrating the value the Rising Stars competition holds for founders at this critical stage of growth.

The judging panel of industry experts included Louize Clark, Director ConnectTVT, Mark Lyons, Investment Director, Praetura, Simon Bailie, CEO, Digital DNA and Pam Sheemar, Entrepreneur Development Manager, Natwest.

The Rising Stars competition has been supported by sponsors BDO Drive, Microsoft, Soldo, Talent Works International and TLT.


Mike Jackson, Entrepreneur Success Director, Tech Nation, commented: “The Rising Stars regional winners announced today are a testament to the UK’s exceptional tech sector, and demonstrate that there are hugely exciting tech companies across the entire nation. Rising Stars is an excellent platform for early-stage scaling tech companies to build their profile as they look to scale their businesses and support the UK in maintaining its position as a world leader for producing successful tech companies.”

Esme Caulfield, Competitions Lead, Tech Nation, commented: “As the UK’s only early-stage tech scaleup competition, Rising Stars is an incredible opportunity for companies across the whole of the UK. We are hugely excited to shine a light on these early-stage scaleups across the nation and to support in creating opportunities for them to scale their business and one day become the UK’s next generation of tech leaders.”

Ed Prior, Associate, GP Bullhound, commented: “It was great to see such a high calibre of applications for this year’s Rising Stars competition. This year there was the highest ever number of entries and it is proving increasingly difficult to select just a few to go through to the Semi-Finals. For many years entrepreneurs have automatically gravitated towards London when starting a tech company – however, this years applications have shown that this no longer needs to be the case. Innovative startups are being created and built all over the country”

Anthony Rose, Founder and CEO, SeedLegals and Rising Star 1.0, commented: “There were three reasons we entered Rising Stars. One, it raises your profile and spreads your name among other startups and investors. Two, being involved with Tech Nation is a great stamp of approval and builds trust and recognition. Finally, there is a feel-good factor in Rising Stars – our staff get excited by it, and it’s interesting to take part!”

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