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

Kane Fulton, December 8, 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 West regional winners – AeroCloud Systems, CGHero, Jobseekers, Supplywell, and Your FLOCK.

AeroCloud Systems

AeroCloud Systems provides innovative IT solutions for the aviation sector, including the first fully SaaS-based product for the airport market. Its products dramatically improve an airport’s operational situational awareness and performance, and enhance passenger experience and engagement. CTO Ian Forde-Smith spoke to Tech Nation.

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

We are thrilled and delighted to have been one of Rising Stars Regional Winners and are looking forward to the next stages of the competition. Recognition such as this reaffirms our belief in our products, vision and market potential.

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

The North West has a rich tech history, and being able to tap into the tech talent available in our region has been transformative.

CGHero

CGHero is a collaborative marketplace for 3D and CGI content creation, bringing together the world’s top talent to work on feature productions across gaming, architecture, TV & film, automotive and retail. The platform has been used by the likes of Valvoline, Sega, B&Q, Unilever, and NHS. CEO Jonathan Lloyd spoke to Tech Nation.

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

We are honoured to be recognised by the judges for our work at CGHero. It has been a busy year doubling the team and closing our Seed round. We hope to continue this momentum into 2021 and move on to Series A; the support from Rising Stars will be invaluable on our journey!

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

Having previously built and sold a tech startup out of Manchester, we were fortunate to see the ecosystem evolve and thrive over the years. We returned to Manchester as location of choice for our newest venture, CGHero and were welcomed back with open arms. We owe a great deal to our local advisors and mentors, investors and support hubs who have all contributed to our success without expectation in return. We are very proud to represent the region and show what the North West has to offer startups like ours.

Jobseekrs

Jobseekrs is a careers platform that mitigates unconscious bias at the sourcing and screening stage of recruitment to increase diversity and inclusion and to decrease churn. The jobseekrs algorithm matches a candidate to a potential employer based on skill set and culture alignment, producing an overall percentage fit score which is presented to the employer anonymously. The employer then purchases credits to reveal and engage with candidates. Founder and CEO Jamaal R. A. Brathwaite spoke to Tech Nation.

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

We’re ecstatic to be selected as a regional winner. Our primary aim is to ensure that anyone, anywhere has equal access to all job opportunities and can culturally align with companies they love – regardless of bias influencing factors. It is also perfect timing as we are currently raising our next investment round and it is a great way to end what has been a tumultuous year for us all.

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

We would like to thank our communities for their continuous support. They’ve supported us through pitch practices, invited us to share our journey at various events and connected us with customers. For that we are very grateful.

Supplywell

SupplyWell is a digital recruitment solution putting control in the hands of teachers and schools. It connects teachers and schools together directly removing the need for slow and costly traditional agencies, which allows teachers to earn more while schools pay less and ensure that wellbeing comes as standard. Cofounder and CEO Michael Heverin spoke to Tech Nation.

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

To be one of the top 5 early-stage scale-ups in the North West is a fantastic achievement for us and follows nicely from just being awarded an Innovate UK grant. We are serious about the problems we are solving in education and this will enable us to help even more schools, teachers and students.

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

The Liverpool City Region is bursting with talent and importantly people who are willing and able to help you navigate the waters of being a startup. The support from the LCR Activate programme was instrumental in enabling our success.

Your FLOCK

Your FLOCK is a SaaS platform that uses the data and science behind motivations at work to enable teams to be more productive and engaged. Your FLOCK is a machine learning-driven software that helps managers to coach their teams by providing users with activities tailored to their motivations and designed to help them be more ‘in sync’ and work more effectively as a team. CEO Michal Wisniewski spoke to Tech Nation.

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

It’s a great honour for Your FLOCK to be in the Top 5 Startups in the North West. It shows how Covid-19 is changing the future of work and remote working. Our technology to help remote working teams develop has just been backed by Innovate UK and we are raising our seed round with a series of investors, so the timing couldn’t be better.

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

Manchester’s ecosystem for tech startups is second to none in the UK. It has been a huge factor in the success so far of Your FLOCK. Our success is a combination of starting at the university, graduating on progammes like Tech Nation and meeting the right people at events. It is also being part of coworking places like WeWork and The Landing, helping us to land local big name customers like the BBC and growing tech companies like M247. Knowing visionary investors like Sandy Lindsay MBE and regional mentors from Tech Manchester, we were able to successfully launch and then scale our business helping remote teams develop online.

North West