Rising Stars

Take your startup to the next level

Will your startup be the next Rising Star?

Rising Stars is the UK’s newest and most exciting competition for innovative, early-stage tech startups, with a prize package designed to send your business into the stratosphere.

Entries are now open for the 2018 competition – don’t miss this opportunity to connect your startup with mentors, investors and influencers, and significantly raise the profile of your business. 


The prizes…

1-2-1 mentoring with high profile mentors

Investor introductions and opportunities

Bootcamp training

Pitch training

Press campaign

Contribution towards a conference of your choice

The programme

Submit your applicationApplying is easy and entries are open between 19 September – 4 November
Regional shortlisting11 regional judging teams will review all applications, from which, 33 companies will be shortlisted
Semi Finals(mid January 2019)
We’ll provide all semi finalists with pitch training and expert advice. The judges will select the best startups for the Grand Final.
Grand Final(late January 2019)
All finalists will pitch to become one of our Rising Stars. Our semi-finalists will have the opportunity to exhibit at the event.

Are you eligible to enter Rising Stars?

From Cornwall to Inverness, we’re looking for the UK’s most ambitious tech startups to join Tech Nation’s first ever Rising Stars cohort. Does your business meet the criteria?

  • Your business has been going for 1-3 years
  • Its HQ is in the UK
  • A digital tech business with a product or service to sell
  • You’re at seed to pre-Series A funding stage. Bootstrapped? We’re looking for businesses with annual revenues up to £1.5m
  • You have at least one active client or pilot
  • You can commit to Rising Stars dates outlined in the timeline
  • Last but not least, you’ve got the ambition to grow and scale

Please note, Rising Stars is not open to consultancies or agencies.

Our judging panel

We’re on a mission to find the UK’s brightest tech startups, but we can’t do it alone. That’s why we’ve brought on board a leading judging panel to help us identify those burning brightest.

We’ll be updating this page with information about our judges – watch this space!

What makes a great application?

We are asking you to provide information about:

  • Company founders, company vision, your product or service
  • Financial information including investment, revenue and growth
  • Employees and your Board
  • Business metrics you measure your success by
  • Your development – i.e. have you been through an accelerator

You also need to submit a short (2 minute max) video pitch as part of your application. If you've never made a video pitch before, check out our handy guide here. Video pitches don't need to be highly produced – they can be filmed on your phone!

Application Judging

Applications will be scored by our panel of judges on the following criteria:

Value Proposition

Have you communicated the problem you solve effectively? What impact does your solution have – does it answer a clear need?

Competitive Advantage

What is your USP? Who are your competitors and how will you stay competitive?

Current Traction

What progress have you made in the last 12 months? How do you measure your success?


How do you plan to scale? What is your ambition?

Applications are open until midnight on Sunday 4 November.

Shortlisting will take place between 12 – 27 November. We will contact you by 27 November to let you know whether you have been shortlisted to go to the semi-final.

Unfortunately we cannot provide individual feedback on applications.

Please note: applications should take 20-30 minutes to complete. You can save and return at any time.

What our former winners have to say

In its former life, Rising Stars was a competition run by Tech North (known then as Northern Stars). 30 fantastic tech companies were successfully crowned as Northern Stars winners over the three years the competition ran.

Watch how Northern Stars gave former winners Dream Agility and Peak exposure on a global stage and enabled both companies to achieve unrivalled growth.

Dream Agility


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