The 15 Coolest Tech Companies in the North of England

March 8, 201719min

The North of England hasn’t traditionally been considered a technology hub in the same way that cities like London and Cambridge have.

But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing going on there.

The region, which encompasses cities like Liverpool, Manchester, and Newcastle, is home to an increasing number of technology companies, according to government quango Tech City UK. Many of the startups are relatively small compared to those in the capital but there are several tech giants with offices scattered across the North as well.

Here’s 15 of the coolest tech firms in the North of England:

15. Kontainers

15. Kontainers
AP

Kontainers’ platform lets companies book shipping containers through an online platform. It allows businesses to book freight door-to-door. That means a company could book a delivery from, say, a Chinese factory to a UK warehouse.

Location: Newcastle

Founded: 2014

Funding: $3.49 million (£2.87 million)

Number of staff: 3

14. Cronofy

14. Cronofy
Cronofy cofounder Garry Shutler.Cronofy

Founded by entrepreneurs Garry Shutler and Adam Bird, Cronofy has developed an application programming interface (API) that developers can use to create two-way calendar integrations between their apps and Google Calendar, Apple iCal, and Microsoft Exchange.

Location: Nottingham

Founded: 2013

Funding: $1.7 million (£1.4 million)

Number of staff: 9

13. Reason Digital

13. Reason Digital
Reason Digital cofounder Matt Haworth.Reason Digital

Working with charities in the UK, Reason Digital uses digital technologies to tackle issues such as poverty, inequality, and a range of diseases that define our times, including dementia, HIV/AIDS, cancer and diabetes.

“We don’t need to apologise to our team for having to work on unfulfilling projects for apps so people sign up for spam or gamble their savings away — seeing the difference our projects are making is reward enough,” a Reason Digital spokesperson told Business Insider.

Location: Manchester

Founded: 2008

Funding: Undisclosed

Number of staff: 40

12. Anaplan

12. Anaplan
Anaplan cofounder and CTO Michael GouldAnaplan

Anaplan’s software helps companies with their planning and operations. Customers include HP, Aviva, and Procter and Gamble.

The company was founded in a barn in Yorkshire before relocating to York city centre. It also has an office in San Francisco and it has a close relationship with the computer science department at York University, which is where several of its employees studied.

Location: York

Founded: 2006

Funding: $240 million (£197 million)

Number of staff: 600+

11. Hedgehog Lab

11. Hedgehog Lab
Hedgehog Lab founders Sarat Pediredla (left) and Mark Forster (right).Hedgehog Labs

Established in 2010 as a “post-PC” digital consultancy, Hedgehog Lab builds apps for mobile, tablets, and wearables. The app developer also has offices in Austin, Boston, London, Copenhagen, and India.

Location: Newcastle

Founded: 2007

Funding: Undisclosed

Number of staff: 105

10. Formisimo

10. Formisimo
Formisimo cofounder Al Mackin.Formisimo

Founded by Al Mackin and Tom New, Formisimo has developed code that allows companies to track and analyse what website visitors do in the checkout process. The startup was part of the Seedcamp accelerator programme in London in 2014.

Location: Salford

Founded: 2013

Funding: $1.85 million (£1.52 million)

Number of staff: 6

9. Sentric Music

9. Sentric Music
Tech North

Sentric Music is an independent music publisher which is home to over 80,000 songwriters at all stages of their careers. The company, set up to reduce the complication and confusion that surrounds music publishing, represents hundreds of thousands of songs worldwide on behalf of songwriters, music publishers, and other catalogue owners.

Location: Liverpool

Founded: 2006

Funding: $433,000 (£355,000)

Number of staff: 11-50

8. Google

8. Google
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Google has a small team “focused on sales” in Manchester.

Location: Manchester

Founded: 1998 (Manchester office, 2005)

Number of staff: Google refused to disclose the number

7. SwapBots

7. SwapBots
SwapBots founder Andy Cooper.SwapBots

SwapBots is an augmented reality toy maker that makes collectible toys, which it claims can be “brought to life” by a smartphone or tablet using augmented reality (AR) technology. Essentially, an AR video game is created around the physical toy when a device is pointed at it.

Location: Liverpool

Founded: 2015

Funding: $50,000 (£41,000)

Number of staff: 12

6. Sky

6. Sky
Sky CEO Jeremy DarrochGetty Images

Media giant Sky has two offices in Leeds City Centre. One is a customer contact centre and the other is a large technology hub, which is responsible for building and maintaining the online side of Sky Sports.

Sky also has offices in Osterley, London, Dublin, Manchester, Newcastle, and Sheffield.

Location: Leeds

Founded: 1990 (Leeds office, 2008)

Number of staff: >24,000 (Leeds office: ~1,000)

5. LivingLens

5. LivingLens
Living Lens

LivingLens is a video intelligence platform that captures and analyses video content via speech, actions, and sentiment. It claims on its website that it allows companies to make words spoken in their marketing videos searchable.

Location: Liverpool

Founded: 2013

Funding: $2.01 million (£1.65 million)

Number of staff: 1-10

4. Tyres on the Drive

4. Tyres on the Drive
Lexus

Tyres on the Drive has developed a website that allows car owners to request a mechanic comes around and swaps the tyres on their car. The company secured an £8 million investment from Halfords in January 2016.

Location: Holmes Chapel

Founded: 2011

Funding: $13.68 million (£11.23 million)

Number of staff: 51-100

3. The Hut Group

3. The Hut Group
REUTERS / Shamil Zhumatov

Founded in 2004, The Hut Group is an online retailer with multiple websites. The Hut, its luxury online department store, sells fashion, homeware, beauty, and lifestyle products.

Other brands operated by The Hut Group include Myprotein, Coggles, and Zavvi.

Location: Manchester

Founded: 2004

Funding: $21.6 million (£17.7 million)

Number of staff: >1,000

2. The LAD Bible

2. The LAD Bible
REUTERS/Chris Helgren

Hated by some, loved by others, The LAD Bible is a media publication aimed at men aged 16-30. It publishes light-hearted news, pictures, and other content.

Location: Manchester

Founded: 2012

Funding: Undisclosed

Number of staff: ~150

1. Rockstar North

1. Rockstar North
“Grand Theft Auto III” Rockstar Games

The games developer behind the wildly popular Grand Theft Auto series has a studio in Leeds that contributed to the development of “L.A. Noire” and “Grand Theft Auto V” games.

Location: Leeds

Founded: 1997

Number of staff: 900

Written by: Sam Shead

CXM Editorial Team

CXM Editorial Team

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