Blockchain hub and 130% increase in digital business births from 2011 to 2016

£3.2 bnDigital tech business turnover (2017)
BalancedDominant distribution of businesses by age (2017)
£105 kDigital tech turnover by employee (2017)
531Digital tech business births (2016)
£3.4 bnGVA
30,683Jobs in digital tech
69,837Digital tech jobs


Once defined by its manufacturing past, Manchester now buzzes with thriving startups. The city’s research into computer vision and machine learning is world-leading. The talent pool flooding from its universities is enviable, and its living costs are significantly cheaper than London.

  • WeWork, the US company that provides office space on flexible leases, has opened its second office space in Manchester, it’s 25th site in the UK. Other large property developments being marketed to tech companies include the forthcoming ABC buildings, within Allied London’s Enterprise City Campus.
  • Fashion tech companies are big business in this city. Pretty Little Thing, the Manchester-based online retailer launched by brothers Adam and Umar Kamani, has been ranked as the fastest growing fashion brand on the web. In Hitwise’s Fast Fashion report, which analyses search data from 3 million UK internet users, Pretty Little Thing saw 663 per cent increase in people visiting the site year-on-year since 2014, thanks to support from social media stars like Kylie Jenner and Sofia Richie.
  • TickX, the company founded in 2015 by Steve Pearce and Sam Coley, has recently announced a £3 million Series A funding round, led by BGF Ventures. The company brings together more than 50 ticket sellers so users can compare prices for events.

Steve Bartlett

CEO, Social Chain

About The Social Chain Group
The Social Chain Group is made up of the award winning social-first marketing agency Social Chain, social media publishing house Media Chain, and influencer agency Glow Artists.

Why Manchester?
We feel Manchester has become the epicentre of creativity and disruption in the UK, which has allowed us to recruit the best talent that reflects our business now, and where we want to be in the future.

National & International focus
Outside of The Social Chain Group’s HQ in Manchester, we have offices in London, Berlin and New York which gives us the ability to boast a global service offering.

Founded: 2014

Simon Dance

CEO, Interact

About Interact
Interact is a global enterprise software company that delivers intranet software and services to over one million users in more than 850 organisations, across the globe. 

Why Manchester?
Manchester has always been our global headquarters and will continue to be, despite our rapidly growing US headquarters based in New York. Manchester’s tech scene is thriving, with a growing pool of talent and opportunity to tap into.

Founded: 2004

Popular meetups in Manchester

3,216 members

CodeUp Manchester

2,656 members


We have clustered Manchester 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 Manchester 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.

Manchester meetup clusters: Open Source Software Development Web Design Digital Marketing Emerging Technology Data

Source: Tech Nation, 2018;, 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 Manchester startups say is a strength

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

What Manchester startups say is a challenge

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

Who Manchester startups say is influential

Lawrence Jones


About UKFast
Born out of frustration when trying to host a website, UKFast’s cloud hosting platforms give access to cutting-edge technology and world-class expertise to every type of business, from startup to enterprise. We help businesses grow faster, increase profit and maximise technical capability.

 Unique to Manchester?
Manchester is small enough to be an effective community where business and government, both local and central, work together collaboratively. It’s an international city with access to fantastic talent, without the high rent and costs associated with London. Manchester led the industrial revolution and generations later there’s huge expectation from business leaders to continually reinvent the city.

Strengths & Challenges
We have to focus on education. Businesses need to pull together to raise the bar and inspire kids to learn about tech. At a national level, Ofsted is blindly ticking boxes validating an outdated system that’s not keeping pace with technology. Neither Ofsted nor the curriculum are fit for purpose to deliver skilled kids excited about careers in tech. It’s up to business leaders to drive change.

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 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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