In a nation filled with thriving tech hubs, Manchester might stand at the top of the pile.
A 2020 report by The Data City ranked Manchester as the top tech city in the UK, and the metropolis is home to over 10,000 companies in the digital or IT sector.
And, like much of the UK, Manchester’s tech scene is still growing thanks to investments like a new Digital Tech Cluster set to create 1,000 jobs in the region and Accenture’s expansion in the UK creating 3,000 jobs across the nation – with Manchester one of the places getting a mention.
Other recent developments include a consortium unveiling a new digital security innovation proposition that aims to bring 1,000 jobs to the digital and cybersecurity sectors in Greater Manchester; and London-based online trading platform CMC Markets bringing good news to Manchester with an investment as it plans to unveil a tech hub in the city.
The following eight tech firms are some of the most promising in that burgeoning sector, but with a scene this big, not every name gets on the list.
With a name that reads like it should be shouted at all times, CAPSLOCK provides clients with cybersecurity bootcamps to help individuals shift careers into the cybersecurity industry.
The firm’s courses are accredited by four different organisations, including the Chartered Institute of Information Security and Immersive Labs. If prospective students balk at the upfront price tag of £9,000, CAPSLOCK offers student financing, either through lending partner Lendwise or through an Income Share Agreement administered by partner StepEx.
CAPSLOCK had a strong 2021, securing £1.04 million in pre-seed funding. At that time, the tech company said it planned to develop a new curriculum, such as secure software development and cloud engineering. It also intends to raise a “significant” seed round to launch the new curriculum whilst scaling the current cyber & ISA offering.
Like CAPSLOCK, Credersi is dedicated to educating students on a specific tech niche, this time the world of virtual reality.
In November 2021, Credersi announced that it had successfully applied to the RoATP (Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers) and passed the ESFA (Education and Skills Funding Agency) assessment, allowing it to offer apprenticeships and training to lab technicians in the UK.
No matter how strong your firewalls or how secure your servers, the human element is always a potential cybersecurity risk. CultureAI has a goal to track the human element through its Human Security Platform.
The platform utilises analytics and behaviour monitoring to help detect potential security risks more quickly. When detected, the platform offers a variety of options for dealing with the risk, including ChatOps, which allows security teams to connect with at-risk employees as soon as possible. It also offers employee coaching on topics like automated security awareness and phishing.
Near the end of 2021, CultureAI received £3 million in a funding round led by SaaS VC firm Senovo. CultureAI said it will use the new funding for product development and will expand its commercial and technical teams in its Manchester city centre office.
Nobody likes bots. From DDoS attacks to the neverending spam of dodgy websites and deals on Twitter, bots are one of the most ubiquitous and annoying aspects of the modern internet.
To combat this, Netacea offers its bot detection and management platform/service. The platform maintains an active threat database, which allows it to more quickly detect bot traffic on clients’ websites. When detected, the platform then analyses the bot’s activity to determine whether said activity is malicious towards the client or the client’s customers. If a malicious bot is detected, the issue is sent to Netacea’s team of “bot experts” who will handle the issue.
Notable Netacea clients include Sony, MalwareBytes and Pets at Home. In February 2022, the firm received £9 million in Series A funding. Jeremy Gidlow, CEO and Co-Founder, Netacea, said at the time that the company would continue to push into the US market.
Peak was founded in 2014, and it calls its star product “Decision Intelligence”. In practice, it’s a SaaS platform that uses AI to help clients make more-informed decisions at all levels of business.
As crowded a market as SaaS platforms can be at times, Peak’s carved a significant niche for itself. The organisation’s platform is used by retailers, CPG, direct-to-consumer and manufacturing businesses. Customers include some big names, such as Nike, PepsiCo, KFC, PrettyLittleThing, Superdry and CJ Group.
In September 2021, the firm received £55 million in Series C funding. Peak said it would be used for global expansion, with new offices opening in both the US and India, as well as increasing R&D investment in Peak’s decision intelligence software. As a result, Peak is planning to create more than 200 new jobs globally this year.
Founded in 2017, RevGlue offers SaaS monetisation tools and services aimed at social media influencers and client companies. Services include affiliate network analytics, affiliate data sets, and tools and plugins for WordPress.
In January 2021, the firm picked up a £300,000 investment from GC Angels and affiliate network Admitad to help expand its online blogging monetisation capabilities. Based on Crunchbase data, RevGlue has $410,000 (£328,000) in total funding.
Case studies listed on RevGlue’s website include shopping tool Slick UK Deals and AlAjr, which does fundraising to support different charitable projects in MENA, Europe and Asia.
Sourcing materials for sustainable packaging can be a difficult task for even the most successful of companies. Sourceful hopes to help through its own SaaS platform, dedicated to helping companies optimise their packaging design and track the carbon footprint their supply chain leaves behind. This can be helpful for companies looking to hit net-zero emissions.
So far, it can claim a diverse range of clientele, including florists, luxury jewellers, sportswear retailers, laundry detergent makers and a toy box subscription service.
In March 2022, Sourceful grabbed £15 million in Series A funding. Wing Chan, Co-Founder of Sourceful, said the funding would be used for international expansion (it has teams across Europe and Asia); recruitment; and developing four new product categories, including the integration of recycled plastics into its platform.
Sparkbox is dedicated to helping clients optimise their inventory and retail pricing decisions through its AI-driven SaaS platform. In the company’s own words, it can “make AI accessible for fashion & seasonal businesses”.
The company (aka Sparkbox.ai) was founded in 2018 by a team of former retail data scientists and merchandisers. It also has a hub in London.
Sparkbox’s retail optimisation skills have been recognised by the likes of Forbes, Google for Startups and TechNation, among others. It received £1.5 million in funding from Praetura Ventures in March 2022. With the investment the tech company got two new board members – Colin Greene, a Praetura Operational Partner and former director of US Consumer Retail at Apple, and Louise Chapman who joined as Investor Director.
There’s also a look at fintech companies in Manchester.