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Tech Nation announces Rising Star winners

The UK’s entrepreneurial network, Tech Nation, has announced the winners of its scaleup competition

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.”

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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 £, 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.

An introduction to the winners, by Tech Nation is a community driven global marketplace for online and offline voucher codes, covering thousands of e-commerce sites. It automatically applies the best value voucher code at checkout in one click for both mobile and desktop devices.

CoGrammar operates the largest coding education provider in Africa – HyperionDev. Through this, they source, select, train, and integrate full-time code reviewers from top African tech talent. This allows Western companies to affordably assess developers and technical team quality, whilst creating hundreds of jobs in African countries.

ClearGlass is a digital intermediary between asset managers and pension funds. It collects underlying costs and performance data from asset managers and helps pension funds decide which is the best fund to invest in for their members. is addressing security and device management for IoT and Edge devices. FoundriesFactory is a self-service cloud solution that provides turnkey services to develop, secure, deploy and maintain embedded IoT and Edge compute products. They enable secure IoT devices and provide lifetime software maintenance at a fraction of current costs.

We Build Bots delivers AI powered automation to the public sector, helping organisations deliver better, faster and cheaper citizen services. Leveraging bots, voice and conversational analytics, they help the public sector make better use of the data they collect, making it more predictive and more productive.

Tackling personal loneliness and communication, the Neatebox “Welcome” platform removes barriers and promotes empathetic relationships between consumers and customer service teams, promoting real societal change and heralding a new age of understanding and communication.

Talking Medicines captures the digital voice of the patient, aggregating it into patterns of behaviours and commercialising it to brand managers in pharmaceutical companies through subscription access. They put patient centricity at the core of what they do, aiming to improve outcomes of medicines.

Tootoot is award-winning software that supports the psychological safety and wellbeing of individuals within education, sport and the workplace. tootoot provides a way for individuals to raise a concern to their organisation with complete confidentiality.

Working in the retail and fashion space, Sparkbox uses machine learning to reduce stock, improve profitability, and prevent over-discounting by optimising prices. Their AI helps retail teams leverage their data, understand the impact of pricing decisions and make the most of the inventory they own.

Codices Interactive provides viewers with a live interactive video platform, enabling any broadcaster to create interactive shows. Its first product is now the most used gameshow creation tool on the Twitch platform, with 1,000+ monthly active broadcasters and 300,000 unique monthly viewers.

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