Meet our 20 Rising Stars 4.0 finalists

Tech Nation, March 1, 2022 8 min read

We are excited to reveal the 20 companies selected as UK finalists to go through to the Rising Stars Winners Judging Roundtable. Read on to learn more about this year’s Rising Stars 4.0 finalists and watch their impressive pitches.

Following first-class pitch training from Billy Webber and Jill McKinney from Pitch for Success, our Rising Stars Regional winners pitched to our judging panel at a virtual Semi-Final in January.

The panel – which was led by GP Bullhound Vice President Ed Prior – included VCs, angel investors, experienced entrepreneurs and tech community leaders from across the UK. Each pitch was marked on value proposition, competitive advantage, market traction, team experience and potential to scale.

Our Semi-Final judges

We thank our Semi-Final judging panel for their time, expertise and insightful questions:

Stats and sectors

Rising Stars 4.0 is a competition for early-stage scaleups, and the average age of our 20 finalists is 2.7 years. The companies have an average of seven employees each and more than half (55%) have female founders or co-founders.

Continuing on the theme of investment, 90% of our Rising Stars 4.0 finalists are looking to raise (28% are looking to raise seed, 33% seed extension, and 39% Series A), and the average next raise sought is £2.27m.

Our Rising Stars 4.0 finalists are operating in an eclectic mix of sectors, including: Ecommerce & Marketplace; HRtech; Healthtech, Biotech and Life Sciences; Proptech; Deathtech; SaaS; Lawtech; Gaming/Immersive; Proptech; Edtech; Fintech; Cybersecurity (including Surveillance); Digital Entertainment/Creative Tech; and Retail Tech.

To Discover our 10 Rising Stars 4.0 winners as they are announced,
sign up to our Winners Showcase on 30 March on Hopin

Meet the finalists and watch their pitches

HR Data Hub
East of England | HRtech (Recruitment, Talent, People) | @HRDataHub
Founders: David Whitfield, Alexa Grellet
HR Data Hub’s intelligence platform helps organisations make data-led people decisions, by giving them insights from the outside world.

How has your region supported you in your journey so far? 
We are excited to represent the East of England. With the changing dynamics of working lives of professionals and the smart tech that helps us collaborate remotely, we suspect that we’ll see more exciting startups pop up across the country and enrich the overall entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Watch HR Data Hub’s video pitch here

MYNDUP
East of England | Healthtech & Biotech & Life Sciences |  @myndup
Founders: Joel Gujral, Jatinder Gujral, Paul Yung
MYNDUP stops the “one size fits all approach” to mental health by offering live 1-1 video sessions across the mental health spectrum.

How has your region supported you in your journey so far? 
The support from Tech Nation has been invaluable from the very first contact. They have a thoroughly knowledgeable and helpful team who really want you to succeed in all areas, and nothing is too much trouble.

Watch MYNDUP’s video pitch here

Renude
London | Ecommerce & Marketplace
Founders: Pippa Harman, Catherine Nisson
Renude is an online skincare recommendation service, powered by licensed experts and artificial intelligence.

How has your region supported you in your journey so far? 
We are based in London, and are lucky enough to have a whole host of opportunities for networking and learning. We went through an accelerator programme based in the capital, and through startup-focused events in the region we have been able to connect with mentors, investors and talent across a variety of sectors. In fact, it was at one of these events that we first met as co-founders.

Watch Renude’s video pitch here

Trust Keith
London | Cybersecurity (inc Surveillance)
Founders: Rory Codrington
Trust Keith combines real humans with technology to help tech scale-ups become and stay data compliant.

How has your region supported you in your journey so far? 
Shoutout to the London startup community and our customers – all of whom have been instrumental in helping us achieve our mission so far.

Watch Trust Keith’s video pitch here

Deployed
London | Productivity SaaS | @deployedco
Founders: Emma Rees, Kayleigh Kuptz, Jamie Gannaway
Deployed is a collaborative statement of work platform that makes it simple to define, track and review work for projects that start smarter and finish stronger.

How has your region supported you in your journey so far?
Being one of the Rising Stars 4.0 Regional Winners demonstrates a wider market understanding of the growing importance of Statements of Work within Enterprises across all industries.

Watch Deployed’s video pitch here

Kanda
Midlands | Proptech | @usekanda
Founders: Phillip Daneshyar, Robert Gallagher, Richard Fleeman
Kanda allows tradespeople to offer finance to their customers who want work doing in their homes but can’t afford to pay the full amount upfront.

How has your region supported you in your journey so far?
Kanda was born out of our experience as contractors in the local community, the pain our customers felt when trying to pay for emergency works and the desperation contractors had trying to fight against cash flow issues. It’s only thanks to our lived experience and that of our friends in the industry that enabled us to find a solution.

Watch Kanda’s video pitch here

Settld
North East | Saas / Deathtech | @Settldsupport
Founders: Julie Wilson, Vicky Wilson
Settld is a SaaS product that simplifies end-of-life admin for bereaved individuals and professionals.

How has your region supported you in your journey so far? 
The support we’ve received from organisations and partnerships across the North East has been fantastic. From grant funding, to connections and resources, this region has given us the chance to explore the feasibility of our idea and bring it to life while scaling Settld’s service nationally.

Watch Settld’s video pitch here

Zoa Rental
North East | Retail Tech | @ZoaRental
Founders: Isabella West
Zoa is the UK’s first rental-as-a-service platform which removes barriers to adopting a truly circular model.

How has your region supported you in your journey so far? 
Zoa was born out of Hirestreet – the UK’s leading D2C rental website. Both are headquartered in Newcastle, with Hirestreet launched after securing a startup grant from Project North East. Our founder Isabella West was also named North East Young Business Person of the Year in 2020, providing recognition and valuable support.

Watch Zoa Rental’s video pitch here

THRIFT
North West | E-Commerce & Marketplace | @thrift_app
Founders: Mark O’Hara
THRIFT lets you know what any unwanted or unused item is worth on the second-hand market and where to sell it.

How has your region supported you in your journey so far? 
Our cofounders, Nova, and ourselves are based in Liverpool. Nova has been critical in raising the standards of startups in the area, and we are both very fortunate to have partnered on THRIFT.

Watch THRIFT’S video pitch here

My First Five Years
North West | Edtech | @myfirst5years
Founders: Jennie Johnson, Alistair Bryce-Clegg
An educational platform and mobile app giving parents unparalleled access to expert knowledge and timely advice.

How has your region supported you in your journey so far?
The support from Tech Nation has been invaluable from the very first contact. They are a thoroughly knowledgeable and helpful team who really want you to succeed in all areas and nothing is too much trouble.

Watch My First Five Years’s video pitch here

RDvault Limited
North West | Fintech | @rdvault
Founders: Shoayb Patel
RDvault has developed the world’s first fully automated R&D Tax Credits platform that empowers SMEs to swiftly and easily claim R&D tax incentives from HMRC.

How has your region supported you in your journey so far? 
The North West region has been instrumental to the success of RDvault. Manchester’s globally recognised technology and entrepreneurial ecosystems have played a pivotal role in helping us reach this point of our exciting journey. We’re very fortunate to be surrounded by some of the UK’s most talented individuals, best-connected support and advisory networks – a very big thank you to everyone who has helped us along the way.

Watch RDvault’s video pitch here

Kinva
Northern Ireland | Healthtech & Biotech & Life Sciences | @bKinvaApp
Founders: Michelle Connor, Philip Orr, Will Connor
Kinva is a game-changing digital platform connecting health therapists and their clients.

How has your region supported you in your journey so far? 
Northern Ireland punches well above its weight for homegrown, high-calibre tech talent. All of our team members are based in NI – without their skills and expertise, there would be no Kinva.

Watch Kinva’s video pitch here

CropSafe
Northern Ireland | Agritech & Foodtech | @crop_safe
Founders: John McElhone, Micheál McLaughlin
CropSafe aggregates dozens of remote weather and satellite data sources, providing farmers with more accurate, actionable next steps.

How has your region supported you in your journey so far? 
Gary Davidson, the current investment lead at Tech Nation, has been one of our biggest supporters from day one. In the days where what we were building was a tiny website and some scrappy code scraped together, he always still cheered us on. Between that time and now, that infectious energy is something that has always pushed us and see not just across him, but the entire Tech Nation team.

Watch CropSafe’s video pitch here

Kythera AI
Scotland | Gaming / Immersive | @KytheraAI
Founders: Matthew Jack
Kythera AI’s mission is to improve the overall quality of the design and experience of AI in games and other simulations.

How has your region supported you in your journey so far? 
We have experienced wonderful support so far from the Scottish government, in the form of an innovation grant which allowed us to establish our product. As well as this, the Scottish tech sector as a community has been an enormous help to us. As tenants of Codebase Edinburgh, we gain valuable access to networking and training events as well as connections with other local tech firms.

Watch Kythera AI’s video pitch here

Letting Cloud
Scotland | Proptech | @lettingcloud
Founders: Grant Maccusker
Letting Cloud is dedicated to changing the way people search and let property – in a safe and transparent way.

How has your region supported you in your journey so far? 
As a founder it is hard to do many tasks, try to manage a team and wear many hats on a daily basis. The support out there for tech startups is readily available, and founders need to take advantage of it.

Watch Letting Cloud’s video pitch here

Kuberno
South East | Lawtech
Founders: Zoe Bucknell, Richard Wilson, Jay Dodd
Kuberno provides company secretaries and other governance professionals with the tools and techniques to deliver truly future fit governance for their organisations.

How has your region supported you in your journey so far? 
While our team is predominantly based in the South East, we are location agnostic – our first employee hailed from Bolton.

Watch Kuberno’s video pitch here

Naurt
South East | Smart Cities / Mobility | @naurt_
Founders: Nicholas Slack, Jack Maddalena
Naurt develops location-optimisation software that provides hyper-precise location data.

How has your region supported you in your journey so far? 
Brighton has a great eco-system of support, from Elizabeth from Tech Nation to Plus X and the Brite program. The talent from the local area and the universities has been great in helping us move forward quickly in our journey.

Watch Naurt’s video pitch here

xigxag
South West | Digital Entertainment / Creative Tech | @xigxag5
Founders: Kelli Fairbrother, Mark Chaplin
xigxag is leading the biggest-ever innovation in digital reading and shaping the future of books.

How has your region supported you in your journey so far? 
We have been overwhelmed by the amazing response we’ve received from the tech and business support community in the southwest. We’ve worked with leading web development partners like HiYield and the Software Cornwall network as well as regional support organisations including Unlocking Potential. Local super-connectors have offered us invaluable introductions to the southwest tech community and leading universities. And regional teams from Innovate UK Edge have provided access to expertise and advisors dedicated to supporting our success. We are so grateful to everyone for their support – it really is advantageous to be located here with so many like-minded people and successful businesses.

Watch xigxag’s video pitch here

Go Banana
Wales | Ecommerce & Marketplace | @gobanana2016
Founders: Phoebe Bull
Go Banana connects building material sellers with trade professionals and DIYers.

How has your region supported you in your journey so far? 
Cardiff has provided a fantastic base for our new headquarters this year. The city’s startup ecosystem has really helped source exceptional people to start building out our team and has allowed us to connect with other startups and early stage businesses to share ideas and offer support.

Watch Go Banana’s video pitch here

Iatro
Yorkshire | Healthtech & Biotech & Life Sciences | @iatropartners
Founders: Thomas Porteus
Iatro’s products include GP practice websites that serve as the digital gateway for patients engaging with their practice.

How has your region supported you in your journey so far? 
West Yorkshire is a great place to build a health-tech startup, with good infrastructure and a thriving digital scene, including a number of small and large digital health businesses.

Watch Iatro’s video pitch here

Meet the Future of UK tech at our Winners Showcase event on 30th March – sign up now! 

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