The 2020 Northern Tech Awards were not able to take place as planned on 26 March in Leeds due to concerns over the coronavirus (COVID-19). In order to celebrate the digital economy of the North, the awards were delivered as an online event – Northern Tech Live.
The winner of the Fastest Growing Company of the Year is Miss Group, an international web hosting group. The Manchester-based company increased revenues by 232% between 2017 and 2019, recently secured £20m funding from HSBC UK, and made its 10th acquisition in the past two years acquiring Euronic in April 2020.
The winner of the Fastest Growing Larger Company of the Year (with revenues above £10m in 2017) is Evolution Funding, the leading motor finance and technology solution. Hailing from Chesterfield in Yorkshire, Evolution Funding uses market-leading technology to deliver brokered motor finance solutions. The company’s revenues grew with 125% between 2017 and 2019, and was already listed in the Northern Tech Awards Top 100 in 2019.
The list of the Northern Tech Awards Top 15 Northern Stars was revealed, highlighting some of the most exciting and promising companies in the region: Arctic Shores, Autopaid.com, Energi Mine, Immersify Education, Music 4 Pets, myHappymind, Nivo, Orka, Shopper.com , Synap, The Link App, Tickr, Tootoot, VetAI and XR Games.
Hosting the awards, Hugh Campbell, Managing Partner and Co-founder of GP Bullhound said:
“The high quality and quantity of the entrants to the Northern Tech Awards show just how vibrant the Northern technology sector is, regardless of who ultimately wins in each category. In times of sudden, extreme change, it’s easy to be consumed by the uncertainty of it all. But events like this help us remember what we have to be proud of, and what we are able to build upon, whatever happens next.
“In technology, we are better placed than many industries to successfully navigate these times of uncertainty and forge a new tomorrow. Tech is a resilient sector, because it’s our job to invent the future, and as long as we keep focused on our ultimate goals while taking the rapid, decisive action entrepreneurs are known for, we will succeed.”
Northern Tech Live was moderated by international tech journalist Edie Lush, and also included a live panel discussion Building Big Tech in the North with inspirational founders; Malcolm Cowley, CEO, Partnerize and Carl Cavers, CEO, Sumo Group plc, together with Stephen Roberts, Investment Director, ECI Partners and a fireside chat interview with Richard Law, Chairman – Vypr & Pebble Group plc (former CEO – GB Group).
In addition to the awards, GP Bullhound announced key findings from the 2020 Northern Tech Awards Top 100 League Table, finding that the Digital Services sector has reclaimed a firm grasp on top sector in this year’s Top 100, with 11 more companies than Software, equating to the biggest gap between first and second since 2017.
There is a total of 39 Digital Services companies this year, representing a 6% increase from 2019. This is not completely shocking considering the broader market conditions. The sector (which includes transformation agencies, consultancies, connectivity, and implementation businesses) is completely aligned with the trends present for several years – cloud adoption and digitalising traditional businesses.
The Software sector, largely comprised of enterprise software companies, has 28 companies in the Top 100, 2% lower than in 2019. Whilst the sector is not the most common amongst theTop 100, it has the highest proportion of companies in the Top 10 with four (three of which are in the Top 5), highlighting that many of the fastest growing companies in the region are software companies.
The Top 100 also demonstrated the North’s ability to create many strong Marketplaces & Ecommerce businesses, featuring 11 Ecommerce & Marketplaces businesses, three of which are in the Top 20. Fintech representation has also increased by 50% since last year, now totalling eight companies. All but one of the eight companies are located in the North West, however the geographic concentration is expected to diversify, as these businesses mature.
There are seven Digital Media companies in the Top 100 (which includes gaming, entertainment, and content companies). Three of these are in the Top 10, showing that it is still possible to create and achieve rapid growth with businesses involved in content creation; namely, Firesprite Games, which specialises in VR and AR gaming titles, and Lockwood Publishing, the award-winning independent game development studio.
Organised by GP Bullhound, the leading technology advisory and investment firm, the event was sponsored by Barclays, ECI, Squire Patton Boggs, Mobica, OBI, Pareto Law, Aquiline, Berenberg, Frazer John Group, Inflexion, Intechnica and the London Stock Exchange.
About GP Bullhound
GP Bullhound is a leading technology advisory and investment firm, providing transaction advice and capital to the world’s best entrepreneurs and founders. Founded in 1999, the firm today has offices in London, San Francisco, Stockholm, Berlin, Manchester, Paris, Hong Kong, Madrid and New York. For more information, please visit www.gpbullhound.com.