Rising Stars

Take your startup to the next level

Searching for the UK's next Rising Stars

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.

The competition's winners will have the opportunity to  connect their business with mentors, investors and influencers, and significantly raise the profile of your business.


The finalists

We received hundreds of applications to this year's Rising Stars competition. Our expert judging panel has been through all the applications with a fine tooth comb and we're now delighted to reveal our 20 finalists.

At the final they'll get to pitch to become on of our inaugural Rising Stars. Who will make it? Find out at the start of March.

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 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 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(16-17 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(5 March 2019)
All finalists will pitch to become one of our Rising Stars. Our semi-finalists will have the opportunity to exhibit at the event.

Who is Rising Stars for?

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 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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