Meet the Rising Stars semi-finalists: the North West’s top three startups

Esme Caulfield, December 24, 2018 5 min read

Earlier this month, we announced the UK’s 33 most innovative and exciting early stage startups – our Rising Stars semi-finalists. With three companies from each UK region progressing to January’s Semi-Final in Manchester, let’s find out more about our semi-finalists in the North West and what they have to offer.  

The best of the North West

With a strong digital tech ecosystem, exceptional universities helping to nurture fresh talent, good access to finance, and real momentum in the growth of the sector, it’s no wonder the North West boasts a number of tech success stories. In fact, the region recorded the third highest number of new tech businesses in the UK in 2017. Add to this a digital tech turnover of almost £5bn in 2017, and it’s clear that the North West’s tech scene is flourishing.

At the heart of this are its regional clusters. Originally known as a manufacturing city, Manchester is now rife with tech startups, recording 531 digital tech business births in 2016. An epicentre of creativity and disruption, the city also offers fantastic co-working spaces, a network of established tech investors and world-leading research into areas like computer vision and machine learning.

Heading west and we reach another of the North West’s growing tech hubs. Liverpool’s rich cultural heritage, world-leading big data/AI capabilities and collaborative createch scene give it an undeniable edge. Last year was a big one for the city, with the launch of 4IR: Sensor City, one of the world’s first incubators dedicated to the development of sensors and IoT tech. But excellence isn’t just confined to the big cities, with innovation being seen across the region in places like Horwich, Chester, Preston and Lancaster.

Here, we’ll discover more about the work of our North West semi-finalists, Manchester’s Foodomnia, Liverpool’s tickr and Horwich-based PPC Protect.

Foodomnia: Food glorious food delivery

Foodomnia is aiming to become the future of food delivery, not through the creation of delivery fleets, but by developing high-quality, online-only food delivery brands. Launched in September 2017, the company believes the growth of online food consumption will continue and the tendency to cook at home will fall, but that delivery food today remains a substandard product.

Foodomnia’s partnership with UberEats has empowered the company to make smart decisions over where to launch and what cuisines to offer. To date, it’s launched three brands that were built and developed entirely in house. Burgerism and FreeBird are already the top-rated restaurants on UberEats in Manchester, while the company’s latest addition to the portfolio, vegan brand Khana, has just launched. Because its brands are online-only, and each kitchen is designed to be multi-brand, the company can create restaurant-quality food that travels well, at a reasonable price point.

Sustainability is at the heart of Foodomnia, whether it’s through building brands that offer high-quality, ethically sourced food and pushing the market towards compostable, high-performing food packaging, or by using green energy, having a low carbon footprint and producing minimal waste. While the company, which is currently part of the Natwest Accelerator programme, is focused on building out its brand portfolio and developing awareness, the future presents a number of opportunities for the business to grow and impact the food delivery market – without compromising on sustainability or quality.

Tickr Ltd: Make your money shout!

Fintech startup tickr wants to show the world that you can make money and have a positive impact on the world at the same time. The company was established in February 2018 after founders realised that impact investing shouldn’t be exclusively for large organisations, and that there was a need for a product that opened up investing in globally-listed companies doing good to anyone and everyone.

The jargon-free tickr app makes impact investing accessible to anyone, no matter what their financial situation or background is. The company offers longer term investment products, and investments are grouped into four themes – social impact, climate change, disruptive technology, and a combination of the three. It takes just a few minutes to get started and there aren’t lots of documents to complete. Investors simply choose their favourite theme, risk level and how much they want to invest – starting from just £5.

Breaking down the barriers that historically meant investing was for the rich, tickr has made it available to anyone with a bank account. The company is committed to making sure all of its investments stand up to scrutiny, have a positive impact on the world, socially and environmentally, and are accessible to all. It’s also determined to build social responsibility into the company, not just its investments, and has a clear vision to make all of this happen.

To find out more, watch the company’s video pitch for the Rising Stars competition below, or follow them on Twitter – @my_tickr.

PPC Protect Limited: Fighting back against click fraud

Click fraud was estimated to cost online advertisers over $16 billion in 2017. SaaS startup PPC Protect has developed award-winning automated software that stops it immediately, and protects future campaigns. Using its platform, the company protects users against advertising fraud and click fraud on one of the world’s biggest advertising networks, Google Ads, which has allowed it to quickly become a market leader in this area.

The PPC Protect system is a simple ‘plug and play’ solution, so it can link to customers’ advertising accounts in a unique way, without having to take complete ownership of them. This GDPR and compliance-friendly process has enabled the company to acquire some of the world’s biggest household brands and digital agencies as clients. The system also uses advanced machine learning algorithms to assess past user behaviour in real time, meaning it can detect and prevent more fraud than anyone else, saving customers more money.

Although the company was founded in September 2016, it only launched with a monetised platform in September 2017, but it’s seen exceptional growth since then – helped by a robust sales strategy and marketing strategy, focusing on organic search engine traffic. And PPC Protect has even bigger aspirations for the future, aiming to expand to other platforms and networks over time to become a ‘one-stop-shop’, and the market leader in online advertising fraud prevention and protection services.

To find out more, follow them on Twitter – @ppcprotect.


The Rising Stars Semi-Final will take place on 16–17 January 2019 at Barclays Eagle Labs in Manchester, where the semi-finalists will receive pitch training before presenting to our expert judging panel. Only 20 of these companies will make it through to the Grand Final at London’s Rich Mix on 5 March 2019.

Stay updated on the Rising Stars competition by signing up to our newsletter below, or following @TechNation on Twitter.

We’d like to thank our Rising Stars sponsors, Microsoft, Bing, BDO Drive and TLT LLP.

North West, Rising Stars, Early Stage