TECH NATION, the UK network for ambitious tech entrepreneurs, has today announced the 10 early-stage scaleup winners of its nationwide competition, Rising Stars.
The Rising Stars competition is the only national early-stage tech scaleup competition in the UK, and is designed to showcase the most exciting companies at Seed to pre-Series A funding from all areas of the country. Tech Nation’s Rising Stars are on track to become the world-leading tech companies of tomorrow – the UK is a world leader in producing successful tech companies, and is now home to 77 billion-dollar businesses, double that of Germany and almost four times as many as Israel.
The final 10 winners were revealed at the Rising Stars Grand Final in London last night which was the culmination of nationwide search that saw the 33 regional winners revealed in November, followed by the Semi-Final in Manchester last month where a panel of judges whittled the finalists down to 20 companies.
At the Grand Final, the winners were required to pitch to a panel of industry-leading judges, and in front of an audience of over 200 of the top venture capitalists, founders and corporates in the UK.
The judging panel included techUK President, Jacqueline de Rojas, PrettyLittleThing co-founder Adam Kamani, and MD of Microsoft for Startups UK Amali de Alwis.
In its second year, the competition received almost 400 applications in total, a 39% rise from 2018 and attracted a diverse group of founders – 30% of the original applicants have at least one female founder, and 90% of companies who entered the final are from outside of London.
Applicants were required to be at Seed to pre-Series A funding or generating annual revenues up to £1.5m.
The competition’s prize package has been built in response to the challenges which are faced by companies at this stage of growth, for instance, access to networks and platforms for promotion.
The prize package and the competition itself aims to raise the profile of the winners nationally and internationally. It includes one-to-one support, introductions to potential partners and investors and support from the programme partners, BDO Drive, Microsoft Advertising, Soldo, Talent Works International and TLT LLP.
Previous Rising Stars winners include Tickr from Liverpool who went on to raise £1m through the Seedrs platform, SeedLegals who went on to raise Series A funding of over £3m led by SeedCamp and Kima Ventures, and Tended who raised £1.4m from Blackfinch Ventures and Minerva Angel Business Network.
Other companies that took part in Rising Stars 1.0 have gone on to join Tech Nation growth programmes, including Kani and Heliocor who joined Fintech 2.0, and People Matter Technology who joined Tech Nation’s first Applied AI programme.