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#NorthernStars – A celebration of Tech Entrepreneurship

I was late attending the finals of NorthernStars pitch event last night at UKFast organised by TechNorth missing all the 23 pitches, as a result of attending CommissioningLive, a healthcare event, but the feedback I got suggested that the quality of pitching in the North is now in par with London. This was perhaps the strongest criticism I had (other than called a talking shop, which was exactly the point of Techcelerate at the time) from numerous VCs who took part in Techcelerate’s Dragons’ Lair pitching events for investment.



Out of the 100 or so applications received, according to Matt Jeffs-Watt, the chap who organised NorthernStars, 10 were crowned as NorthernStars. Except 2, I’ve never heard of the other 8, which is a credit to the growth of the tech ecosystem in the North. None of the 10 were part of the Techcelerate’s 2,300 strong tech community.

In response to Mike Carter’s tweet, the honest answer is I don’t know. But my best guess is:

  • Lot have shutdown, e.g. App55 and TreasureMyText
  • Some have exited, e.g. edocr, ThinSpace, Construqtive and Yuuguu
  • Some founders have exited, e.g. Screech and Adaptavist
  • Some are still going and growing, e.g. Buffer, Makeurmove, Texxi, CANDDi, Malinko, CapsuleCRM and Apadmi

There is an incomplete list of Techcelerate tech companies here.

However, very few of Techcelerate community was present, which shows that new blood has replaced the old, in terms of attendance at tech events:

  • Coral Grainger – now part of TechNorth, previously Manchester Knowledge Capital
  • Eric Masaba – still runs Texxi and threatening to provide better and safe door-to-door travel between Manchester and Liverpool
  • Angel Salazar – now runs Aida Technology, constantly pivoting. He was a lecturer then and still is.
  • Volker Hirsch – wore many hats and still is.
  • Martin Bryant – still with TheNextWeb
  • Ian Moss – still dabbling, but seems to be working again on 196 destinations. He was part of Malinko team in early days
  • Paul Rawlings – one of the first to get funding from UK’s first tech accelerator, Difference Engine with Tim from CANDDi. Now running Delivered, a new FoodTech startup.
  • Chris Marsh – now with UKFast. His previous employer, Melbourne Network Solutions was a Northern Tech Awards winner.
  • Rupert Wingate-Saul – Still with AXM Ventures, having invested £14 million into north west tech companies.

Perhaps those who have survived, no longer find the need to hang out with cool kids anymore, a sign of maturity, which we can all be proud of.

PS: If I miss anyone, please let me know and I will update.

Worthy reads:

Published inNorthern Tech NewsTechcelerate