What are the opportunities and challenges for digital tech founders in Leicester?

Kane Fulton, May 10, 2019 2 min read

What does Leicester have to offer ambitious digital tech entrepreneurs? We asked the following stakeholders and business leaders to find out. For granular data on Leicester’s digital tech ecosystem – including its companies (and founders), accelerators, and workspaces – see Data Commons.

Peter Hitchings, Startup Leicester Co-working Project Lead, University of Leicester, says:

There is a concerted push across the city to help new innovative and scalable businesses. New opportunities in Leicester include more flexible workspaces for early-stage and maturing tech businesses, complementing some excellent follow-on facilities across the city. Exciting events in the pipeline will focus on exploring tech to enable social innovation, and finding and supporting female tech entrepreneurs.

The main current challenge is getting a critical mass of entrepreneurs aware of each other and helping each other out on a “give first” basis. The numbers are there but we are working on bringing more entrepreneurs together and getting the word out about what help is available. Leicester is filled with bright people working on game-changing innovations so we’re excited about the potential of bringing more of them together to create new tech businesses.

Lotanna Ezeike (pictured), founder and CEO, XPO App, says:

XPO is an app that allows micro-brands to securely pay Instagram influencers with ease. Most would say London is the place to be when building your startup. However, studying at Uni of Leicester let me appreciate the silent bliss. Away from the hustle and bustle of London, in Leicester, you actually have the time to think things through and I personally believe it’s been better for my mental well-being.

Influencer marketing isn’t something that can be confined to geolocation; however, it has always been a goal of mine to run programs for university students who are interested in tech. We want to be the industry standard payment solution for influencer marketing in the UK through our automated solution, enabling SMEs to compete on a level playing field with global brands. We have plans to expand to India as the market and population size would support our business model. Our end goal looks to potential acquisitions from a bigger media company – preferably Instagram themselves!

Sophie Hainsworth, CEO and cofounder, Loyalfree, says:

LoyalFree is a multi-award-winning innovative mobile phone app which promotes digital loyalty schemes, offers, and interactive trails. Leicester is our hometown and perfectly placed in the middle of the country, and it has a well-connected train line, allowing us to easily travel around the country in line with the demands of our business. It also provides an affordable location for running a business and is rich with a budding local community of other tech startups.

As a business, we have already expanded our work across, and outside of, the East Midlands. We work across the breadth of the country – from Southampton to the Lake District. Current plans include more expansion across the UK as well as international opportunities with place management bodies outside of the UK. We are currently visiting Japan to share our work at the World Towns Leadership Summit and understand the international scope for the growth of the business.