138% digital business birth increase
from 2011 to 2016

£1 bnDigital tech business turnover
ScaleupDominant distribution of businesses by age (2017)
£83 kDigital tech turnover by employee (2017)
168Digital tech business births (2016)
£1.3 bnGVA
12,103Jobs in digital tech
34,742Digital tech jobs


Access to three universities and to thousands of talented graduates, has bred a thriving digital tech scene in Leeds. The city’s many success stories include RockStar Games and Cooperative Innovations.

  • Sky Betting and Gaming has continued to invest in the area, creating 230 more jobs in 2017/18. The firm is one of two Yorkshire-based tech firms classed as unicorns, (companies assessed as having a value in excess of $1 billion).
  • The Leeds Digital Festival has become the largest digital festival in the North. Celebrating all things digital, it expanded again in 2018 to include 170 events, 650 speakers, 75 venues and 20,000 attendees. During the second week of the Festival, there were more tech events in Leeds than in San Francisco. Groups such as Glug Leeds, She Does Digital and Hey! are also growing fast, and run all year to bring together the local tech community.

Martin Port

CEO, BigChange Apps

About BigChange Apps
BigChange is the paperless way to plan, manage, schedule and track any mobile workforce. This 5-in-1 cloud based system lets consumers and businesses book services on-demand and is used across the transport, service, construction, waste and public sectors.

Why Leeds?
BigChange benefits from a prime location in the City of Leeds which has a fast-growing tech sector. Leeds boasts one of the largest student populations in the UK, leading to a constant stream of new talent. The city also has a great lifestyle and cultural offering, along with significantly lower living costs than London.

National & International focus
BigChange takes a global approach to operations, with customers in various countries outside of the UK including the USA, Australia, France, Spain and the Nordics. The company has a dedicated R&D office in France. We also collaborate with a small selection of agencies who provide strategic support around PR, Marketing and Market Insight.

Founded: 2013

Mike Buck

Head of Delivery, BJSS

About BJSS
BJSS is an award-winning IT and digital consultancy. We work with some of the world’s largest public and private sector organisations to design, deliver and support large-scale digital transformation.

Why Leeds?
Everything about Leeds supports our growth objectives. It’s great to be based in a city with such a long-held reputation for innovation, access to large corporate clients, and so many ambitious technologists. The city’s universities produce some great fresh talent too.

National & International focus
Enterprise Agile, the company’s award-winning project delivery approach, has been the primary delivery method for several hundred engagements across multiple and geographically-dispersed industry sectors in the UK and USA. We also collaborate closely with the tech community, hosting and sponsoring several tech events. BJSS staff are dispersed across various sites, so team collaboration systems, Instant Messaging, and videoconferencing tools are provided.

Popular meetups in Leeds

1,580 members


1,231 members

Leeds JS

1,072 members

Leeds Hackspace

We have clustered Leeds meetups according to their topics. Meetups with similar topics are attracted, whilst meetups with different subjects are repelled. A full screen version can be found here. Click on a node, or search for a topic in the full screen version.

We have clustered Leeds meetups according to their topics. Meetups with similar topics are attracted, whilst meetups with different subjects are repelled. Please view this page on desktop to use this visualisation interactively.

Leeds meetup clusters: Open Source Software Development Web Design

Source: Tech Nation, 2018; Meetup.com, 2018. Thanks to the Oxford Internet Institute and JSIC

The size of each node is determined by the number of connections it has with others. A large node signifies a highly connected meetup with many topics shared with other groups.

Community perceptions survey findings

The Tech Nation 2018 Survey was conducted between January 2018 and February 2018, in partnership with Streetbees. This year’s survey received the largest response yet from members of the UK tech community. In a total of 3,428 submissions, people told us about the opportunities and challenges their local ecosystems face, and the digital tech leaders they admire. The majority of respondents (33%) were founders and CEOs.

What Leeds startups say is a strength

1Helpful tech community
2Appealing area
3Proximity of a university

What Leeds startups say is a challenge

1Access to talent
2Access to funding
3Lack of tech training

Who Leeds startups say is influential

Stuart Clarke

Founder, Leeds Digital Festival

About you
I’ve always worked in marketing and set up my own consultancy four years ago, helping firms in many different sectors to develop their digital and communications strategies. This led me to working with startups and co-founding the Leeds Digital Festival.

Unique to Leeds?
I think we’re a very collaborative city. Companies who may be competitors help each other to grow the whole pie rather than just their slice. Collaboration has grown the Leeds Digital Festival from an idea to over 150 events in two years.

Strengths & Challenges
Like many cities, we need more talent coming through to service the fast growth that we have, but as a city, together we’re making sure that happens. Larger firms are sharing their expertise in graduate and apprenticeship schemes with smaller companies; our four universities are linking up students earlier with employers, which means we keep more talent after graduation.

Tech Nation 2018 is now open!

Great news. All data featured in the 2018 Tech Nation Report is available online for non-commercial use by third parties.  The data can be accessed through the data.world platform. If you use the data, please let us know. We would love to showcase your work.

If you'd like know why we are doing this, check out our blog.

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