Rising Stars: Where Success Begins

Rising Stars is Tech Nation’s pitch competition for early-stage tech startups.

We’re excited to announce – Rising Stars – the ultimate pitch competition designed for innovative early-stage tech startups is back…

 

This exciting event provides a valuable platform for tech startups to showcase their innovations locally, regionally, and nationally. Such exposure will substantially enhance their brand visibility and attract potential customers, partners, and investors.

Finalists will get the opportunity to showcase their businesses on the formidable London Tech Week (LTW) stage, PLUS gain access to numerous prizes set to propel their businesses forward.

Applications are now closed. Stay tuned for details on our 2025 application process!

 

Congratulations to our Rising Stars Grand Finalists!

In Collaboration With

The Prizes

Win prizes worth over £170k in value to help skyrocket your business! From media and communications support to go-to-marketing strategies and C-suite hires, each finalist will directly benefit from our prizes.

£30k Out-of-Home Media Package: Amplify your reach with a £30,000 out-of-home media package from Rising Stars partner JCDecaux Nurture.

£80k Brand and Go-to-Market Campaign: Immerse your brand in the spotlight with a brand and go-to-market campaign valued at £80,000 with the support of the experts at Founders Makers.  From brand refinement to targeted advertisements, Founders Makers will help to elevate your presence in the market.

£60,000 Executive Hire: Secure your dream team with the first C-Suite hire courtesy of Founders Keepers, valued at £60,000.

£5,000 wabya Workshop: Focus on developing and strengthening your business’ core values, mission, vision, and purpose. Each founder will also win a 5 month (10 sessions) personal and professional coaching journey and 15% off on all coaching through wabya for 12 months – for colleagues, family and friends.

5 Hour Legal Audit: Access a 5 hour legal audit with Founders Law plus, 6-months access to the Founders Law Store.

Therapy Sessions: Invest in your well-being with three hours of tailored therapy sessions, provided by OMA experienced in supporting founders and high performers.

Office Space: Bring your team together with access to hot-desking space for three months at Founders Forum Group HQ.

360k Social Reach: Reach over 360,000 eager minds as your startup gains exposure across the Tech Nation, Founders Forum, and London Tech Week social channels.

Exclusive Invite: Land a nomination to attend the prestigious Founders Forum Global, joining over 400 pioneering entrepreneurs – including 200 unicorn founders – and 130 world-class VCs representing $1.5 trillion AUM.* 

VenturePath Membership: Access quarterly growth diagnostics, over 100 hours of on-demand leadership learning content, exclusive in-person events, and a vibrant community of fellow founders and associated VCs. Additionally, receive 2 complimentary tickets worth £500 to the VenturePath annual celebration of success.

*All nominations subject to approval before invites are extended. 

£15k Out-of-Home Media Package: Amplify your reach with a £15,000 out-of-home media package from Rising Stars partner JCDecaux Nurture.

£6.5K Campaign Ready Sessions: Dive deep into strategic planning for your brand with two campaign-ready sessions worth £6.5K conducted by Founders Makers to help propel your business to new heights.

3 Hour Legal Audit: Access a 3 hour legal audit with Founders Law plus, 6-months access to the Founders Law Store.

2 Months of wabya: Access personal and professional coaching, plus, 12% off on all coaching through wabya for 12 months – for colleagues, family and friends.

Therapy Sessions: Invest in your well-being with three hours of tailored therapy sessions, provided by OMA experienced in supporting founders and high performers.

Office Space: Bring your team together with access to hot-desking space for three months at the Founders Forum Group HQ.

Global Exposure: Gain visibility on Tech Nation, Founders Forum, and London Tech Week’s social channels, reaching a combined audience of over 360,000 individuals.

Exclusive Invite: Land a nomination to attend the prestigious Founders Forum Global, joining over 400 pioneering entrepreneurs – including 200 unicorn founders – and 130 world-class VCs representing $1.5 trillion AUM.*

VenturePath Membership: Access quarterly growth diagnostics, over 100 hours of on-demand leadership learning content, exclusive in-person events, and a vibrant community of fellow founders and associated VCs. Additionally, receive 2 complimentary tickets worth £500 to the VenturePath annual celebration of success.

*All nominations subject to approval before invites are extended. 

£15k Out-of-Home Media Package: Amplify your reach with a £15,000 out-of-home media package from Rising Stars partner JCDecaux Nurture.

£3.25K Campaign Ready Session: Dive deep into strategic planning for your brand with one campaign-ready session worth £3.25K conducted by Founders Makers to help propel your business to new heights.

2 Hour Legal Audit: Access a 2 hour legal audit with Founders Law plus, 3-months access to the Founders Law Store.

2 Months of wabya: Access personal and professional coaching, plus, 10% off on all coaching through wabya for 12 months – for colleagues, family and friends.

Therapy Sessions: Invest in your well-being with three hours of tailored therapy sessions, provided by OMA experienced in supporting founders and high performers.

Office Space: Get amongst the action with access to hot-desking space for three months at the Founders Forum Group HQ

Global Exposure: Gain visibility on Tech Nation, Founders Forum, and London Tech Week’s social channels, reaching a combined audience of over 360,000 individuals.

Exclusive Invite: Land a nomination to attend the prestigious Founders Forum Global, joining over 400 pioneering entrepreneurs – including 200 unicorn founders – and 130 world-class VCs representing $1.5 trillion AUM.*

VenturePath Membership: Access quarterly growth diagnostics, over 100 hours of on-demand leadership learning content, exclusive in-person events, and a vibrant community of fellow founders and associated VCs. Additionally, receive 2 complimentary tickets worth £500 to the VenturePath annual celebration of success.

*All nominations subject to approval before invites are extended. 

Tailored Coaching Sessions: Receive personalised guidance through 10 one-to-one coaching sessions with Manageable, empowering you to navigate challenges and optimise your startup’s trajectory.

Global Exposure: Showcase your venture to a vast audience across Tech Nation, Founders Forum, and London Tech Week’s social channels, opening doors to new opportunities and connections.

Executive coaching: Enjoy 10% off on all coaching through wabya for 12 months, for colleagues, family and friends.

Thank you to our partners for the generous prizes

Who is Rising Stars for?

We want to showcase the brightest and best that UK tech has to offer but applicants must meet a few simple criteria, including:

Headquartered in the UK

A digital tech business with a product or service to sell

At Seed to pre-Series A funding stage.  If the company is bootstrapped, maximum annual revenues are below £1.5 million

Able to demonstrate market traction

At least one active client or pilot

Ambition to scale

Able to commit to Rising Stars dates

Join some of the world’s most successful tech entrepreneurs as one of Founders Forum Group’s Rising Stars

How it works

Early-stage tech start ups from all over the UK will submit their virtual pitch via Instagram (@technationhq), alongside a questionnaire to understand more about their business and why they should be titled a Rising Star.

The judging panel, which will include some of the most influential entrepreneurs and investors, including Tej Lalvani, will select finalists to pitch in person at one of the six regional locations home to leading start ups: Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, North England, Midlands, South England.

Grand finalists will be selected to pitch at the prestigious London Tech Week on 10 June 2024.

What’s in it for your startup?

Unparalleled Exposure

Showcase your innovation on a local, regional, and national scale, whilst boosting your brand and attracting potential customers, partners, and investors

Tailored Support

Refine your business strategy and pitch capabilities with insights from experienced investors and industry experts

Networking with Influential Stakeholders

Build connections that lead to potential funding, strategic partnerships, and a supportive network

Global Recognition

Finalists will pitch to over 1000 attendees on the Founders stage at London Tech Week – a global celebration of tech, uniting the most innovative thinkers and tech talent

New to Rising Stars: People’s Choice Award

Your startup’s journey isn’t just about the pitch – it’s about rallying your community, sparking conversations, and leaving a lasting impression. That’s why this year, we have introduced the ‘People’s Choice Award’. 

Turn your social media strategy into a winning game plan! This unique accolade is determined by the power of your social media presence during the virtual pitches submitted to the competition. This is your chance to demonstrate the power of your startup’s community and claim a distinctive spot in Rising Stars history.

The more buzz, likes, shares, and comments your pitch receives, the stronger your candidacy for the People’s Choice Award. The winner will be chosen based on a combination of virtual pitch excellence and the impact generated on social media. 

The winner will join the finalists on stage at London Tech Week!

Founding Partner

HSBC Innovation Banking provides commercial banking services, expertise and insights to the technology, life science and healthcare, private equity and venture capital industries. HSBC Innovation Banking UK is a subsidiary of HSBC Group, benefiting from its stability, strong credit rating and international reach to help fuel its growth.

www.hsbcinnovationbanking.com

Supporting Partner

JCDecaux Nurture exists to empower global businesses of the future by giving them a voice in the real world. Launched by JCDecaux UK in 2016, the referral-only programme helps start-ups scale by using out-of-home (OOH) media to generate brand fame, trust and familiarity.

NURTURE | JCDecaux UK