The best early stage tech startups from across the UK revealed in Tech Nation’s final Rising Stars competition

The best early stage tech startups from across the UK revealed in Tech Nation’s final Rising Stars competition

Tech Nation, the growth platform for tech scaleups, has today announced the 10 winners of its fifth and final iteration of the Rising Stars competition, which recognises the brightest and best early-stage tech companies from all areas of the country. This year’s finalists and winners have raised a combined £52,489,231 in investment to date, demonstrating the ability of the startups to scale quickly, and their potential to become the UK’s tech ‘unicorns’ (companies with valuations of $1bn+) of the future. As one of the winners of Tech Nation’s Rising Stars competition, each received a bespoke package of support, including an opportunity to showcase the company to investors, accelerators, entrepreneurs, corporate leaders, and the UK tech community.

In its fifth and final year, the competition received 400 applications in total. Rising Stars is structured to ensure strong regional representation and to counter-balance the traditionally strong London tech scene. This year, 132 City Winners were initially selected from the 400 entrants. After a live pitching round, this was reduced to 33 Regional Winners, three each from the 11 countries and regions of the UK. A semi-final pitch further reduced this to 20 Finalists and of these, 16 were from outside London and the South East.

This year’s winners have been selected by a panel of 8 judges (industry experts with extensive experience in starting and scaling tech businesses), including Ed Prior, Rising Stars judge adjudicator and principle at GP Bullhound, Lyubov Guk founding partner at Blue Lake VC and Douglas Lloyd, founder of Macademia. Companies were selected based on their value proposition, competitive advantage, market traction, team experience and potential to scale.

The winners of this year’s competition are  PurrmetrixdigiLab, VidiVetTrumpetAugnetStratigensBioLedgerIncluTech, OneShot AI and JUST: Access. These companies are working to transform a range of different industries, ranging from AI and Marketing Tech to Law Tech and Safety Tech.

The Rising Stars 5.0 winners have a median raise of £1mn and a total combined raise of £11.8mn . They have an average number of  8 employees, and all of the winners are revenue-generating. Half of the winners are female founded companies, including VidiVet who give pet parents instant access to a vet from anywhere in the world at any time of day, Stratigens whose software provides strategic decision intelligence, IncluTech whose software helps people feel safe and secure in an emergency and enables them to know what to do and when to do it. It focuses on building greater inclusion and access; shaped by research and user-centric design. Not only will its technology save lives now, but help to predict and prevent future emergencies. And also JUST:Access who are disrupting the manual transcription sector and Purrmetrix who provide better insights into building performance by combining energy and environmental data from a redeployable IoT toolset.

The rest of the winners range from digiLab’s self-optimising machine learning platform to Trumpet’s centralising of the entire sales cycle to one link. Bioledger provides SAAS for biofuel supply chain traceability and compliance for businesses regulated by the EU Renewable Energy Directive which includes all oil companies, biofuel producers, agricultural producers and waste management companies and Augnet extracts unique data through an encrypted global network of devices to validate the quality of hundreds of SMS providers. Messages sent via Augnet will be optimised via its routing algorithm. Last but not least is OneShot, a fully autonomous sales prospecting solution for B2B companies. OneShot removes the need to hire sales people to generate new business meetings.

This marks the fifth year anniversary of the inception of Rising Stars and the final one from Tech Nation as the organisation ceases operations on 31st March 2023. Artificial intelligence and deeptech have consistently been the most prominent technology sub-sectors over the last 5 years of the competition, with big data becoming increasingly common over the last two years and mobile apps becoming less common. Health tech has become more prominent – as the second most common sector across this year’s City Winners,  compared to being only the sixth most common sector for the first and second iteration of the competition. Over the past five years, 306 finalists and winners have raised a combined total of £261,678,831. The competition has shone a light on promising companies beyond just London, with 83% of finalists and winners across this five year period hailing from outside the region. Notable alumni include Bottlepay Selazar, SeedLegals and Spherics which was recently acquired by Sage.