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.

This is your opportunity to connect your startup with mentors, investors and influencers, and significantly raise the profile of your business.



The prizes…

Opportunities to raise your profile at all stages of the competition.

For the winners:

Tailored/bespoke package of support worth over £4000 per winner that includes:

  • 1-2-1 mentoring with a high profile mentor
  • Facilitated introductions to investors and corporates
  • Bespoke PR campaign
  • One-to-one BDODrive Accelerate session focused on unlocking your growth potential and identifying the tangible steps you need to take
  • Financial contribution towards a conference of your choice
  • Pitch training and coaching
  • Networking opportunities with investors, heads of accelerators, entrepreneurs and corporate leaders

When you apply:

  • Submit an (optional) video pitch with your application and you could be selected for our ‘Pitch of the Day’ and be posted to our 85,000 Twitter followers

If you get shortlisted:

  • Profiled as a top startup in your region
  • Invited to our Semi-Final where you will receive pitch training from Sunderland Software City, meet previous winners and have the opportunity to network other awesome founders and our panel of judges
  • Invited to our Grand Final in London to exhibit and network with a high profile audience of investors, corporate leader and entrepreneurs

If you're selected to pitch at our Grand Final:

  • Pitch in front of a high profile audience
  • Opportunity to exhibit to over 400 attendees in London

The semi-finalists

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.

The programme

Submit your applicationApplying is easy and entries are open between 19 September – 18 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.

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 have opportunity 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 are optional but if you choose to do so, they 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 now closed.

Shortlisting will take place between 18 November – 3 December. We will contact you by 4 December to let you know whether you have been shortlisted to go to the semi-final.

Unfortunately we cannot provide individual feedback on applications.

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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