Meet the Rising Stars regional winners: the North East’s five top early-stage companies

Kane Fulton, December 2, 2020 5 min read

Rising Stars is the UK’s only national competition for innovative, early-stage tech companies. Last year, 10 companies were crowned Rising Stars 2.0 Winners at our London Grand Final. Now, five regional winners for each region and nation across the UK will compete nationally for the chance to be named as one of the 10 winners of Rising Stars 3.0. Read on to find out more about our five North East regional winners – Bubo.ai, Discova, Education Equation, Okkulo, and Opportuni.

Bubo.ai

Profit is one of the most difficult key metrics to manage successfully and consistently. Bubo.AI is a customer value-based pricing strategy for businesses, using price recommendations and continuous optimization models designed to handle complexity and scale. Bubo.AI tracks customer behavior over time in order to offer the perfect price, helping businesses achieve profits targets quickly. CEO Alan Timothy spoke to Tech Nation.

How does it feel to be a Rising Stars regional winner?

The team is excited to represent the North East. Since the start of the global pandemic, being good just isn’t good enough anymore. At bubo.AI we strive to be the best, and relish this opportunity to stand on the shoulders of giants to learn and improve as we head towards our next funding round.

What is it like being a tech company based in the North East?

Bubo.AI has benefitted from the data science talent available from our local universities and from continuing to work with the local universities. Middlesbrough is a hotbed of digital innovation and the mayor has built a supportive environment.

Discova

Created by founders with lived experience, Discova delivers personalised support and interventions for better employee and team mental health and wellbeing. Discova empowers employees to take positive action quickly through tailored action plans, adjusting the support and guidance received based on individual areas of focus, learning style and personality. CEO and cofounder Lizzy Hodcroft spoke to Tech Nation.

How does it feel to be a Rising Stars regional winner?

The team is thrilled to be a regional finalist and we cannot wait for the pitch! We are raising £500k investment in the early days of 2021 and know that having the opportunity to be a part of the Rising Stars competition will really help us to reach that investment goal.

What is it like being a tech company based in the North East?

The North East as always been our biggest cheerleader. The startup and business networks around this region are always ready to greet you with a warm welcome and each and every new business and startup is an inspiration.

Education Equation

Leveraging data and AI to make high quality education affordable for everyone, Education Equation is making education more individualised. Their free learning platform provides on-demand, exam board specific courses and bespoke tutoring tailored to each student’s distinct learning gaps – which are identified via machine learning.

How does it feel to be a Rising Stars regional winner?

We are absolutely thrilled to represent the North East, but more importantly, to have a powerful platform driving change and innovation within education. We believe our solutions can drastically improve the quality of education for young people, within the pandemic and beyond.

What is it like being a tech company based in the North East?

A heartfelt thank you to Leon and the DCI incubator who helped shape our strategy and helped us gain traction. And also to Marek and Rachel from Durham University who believed in us, from the beginning.

Okkulo

Okkulo is a sports training system that uses unique light levels to recalibrate the visual system, allowing the athlete to improve their reaction time, motion perception and depth perception above and beyond their current levels. The Okkulo technology can be used across a broad spectrum of sports such as football, baseball, basketball, tennis and even F1. CEO Mel O’Connor spoke to Tech Nation.

How does it feel to be a Rising Stars regional winner?

The team at Okkulo are thrilled to progress as one of the regional winners of the Rising Stars competition. We are proud to represent the North East of England and this is another fantastic milestone in what has been an incredible journey for all involved with team Okkulo.

What is it like being a tech company based in the North East?

The North East plays a major role in the Okkulo story. It’s by design that we have created a product built almost entirely from the local ecosystem and we are proud to provide a global product that showcases that very talent.

Opportuni

Opportuni is an AI-driven subscription service that identifies and distributes tender opportunities to relevant businesses. Subscribers submit keywords which form the basis for the search, and the AI ensures only the most relevant tender opportunities are presented. They are leading the way in the marketplace by providing the most accurate tender search results available and drawing opportunities from almost 3,600 tender portals. Director Tim Ward spoke to Tech Nation.

How does it feel to be a Rising Stars regional winner?

Having established the company in such challenging times, we always knew that innovation and building something not just better but also different would be needed to have any chance of success. The North East has a thriving tech sector and to be recognised as a Rising Stars Regional Winner is a real honour and testament to the team behind the scenes bringing our solution to life.

What is it like being a tech company based in the North East?

The North East is a great place to do business. There is a friendly and supportive business envoronment with some exciting Technology hubs in all the major cities across the region. Initiatives and investment across the region in tech hubs definately helps bring businesses together such as the Boho zone in Middlebrough, Software City in Sunderland, Tus Park in Newcastle and great events such as Founders Friday and Newcastle Startup Week. We are lucky to have a great peer network to bounce ideas off.

North East