Tech companies in Manchester have seen a £200m boost in 2018, including significant funding rounds for healthtech companies eLucid mHealth and Push Doctor, events start-up TickX and fintech Shieldpay.
Manchester is the city with the most digital tech workers outside London and is the centre of a thriving digital commerce sector, which builds on a long legacy of resourcefulness and ability to combine creative and technology skills. Billion dollar companies - unicorns - that have been built in the North West in the last few years include boohoo, AO.com and The Hut Group.
Other digital tech successes include UKFast, the cloud-hosting business that helps small startups to grow, retailer PrettyLittleThing, virtual reality company Immotion Group, and AccessPay, a specialist in cloud-based payments and a cash management automation provider.
According to Tech Nation research, Manchester’s digital tech sector grew steadily between 2006 and 2016, with a 130% increase in the number of businesses formed per year. In 2016, the last year that figures are available for, 531 digital tech businesses were formed in Manchester.
Tech Nation on Tour arrives at No 1 Spinningfields on 4 October, when entrepreneurs, founders and tech ecosystem experts will assemble to debate the opportunities for developing start-ups in the North West.
Gerard Grech, chief executive of Tech Nation, will announce that Tech Nation’s new home in the North will be at the Bonded Warehouse, putting the organisation right at the centre of the city’s start-up ecosystem.
Grech said: “Manchester is a city with a brilliant reputation for science, commerce and creativity and of course is closely associated with Alan Turing, the father of modern computing. With several co-working spaces, private equity firms, a globally recognised university talent pool, as well as many fast growth companies like The Hut Group and Social Chain in the city, Manchester has outpaced Amsterdam and Dublin in tech investment growth over the last few years.”
Gail Jones, co-founder and joint MD of UKFast, says: “Manchester’s strength is that community, business and government can work together collaboratively. Manchester led the industrial revolution and generations later there’s huge expectation from business leaders to continually reinvent the city. The last few years have seen a huge acceleration in the growth of the digital tech sector in the city and Greater Manchester.”
The buzz around Manchester’s digital tech sector has been helped by Government bodies and businesses planning to open or expand in Manchester in the next year. Government agency GCHQ and Moneysupermarket.com will open in the city while leading local tech company, The Hut Group, has said it will invest more than £750m in the area over the next three years. Car maker Jaguar Land Rover recently opened a new software, IT and engineering centre in Manchester which will work on its connected car technologies. Meanwhile, Amazon is opening a new office in Manchester and booking.com has signed a deal to open a £100m European HQ in the city.
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