Tech Nation announced today the 10 winners of its fourth Rising Stars competition, which recognizes promising early-stage tech companies from all over the UK.

The previous year’s winners were Selazar (from Northern Ireland), Circa5000 who came out on top in our region with £33 million invested so far and SeedLegals having valued at $1 billion. 

This year’s winners have been selected by a panel of 7 judges (industry experts with extensive experience in starting and scaling tech businesses), including Emma Jones (Founder of Enterprise Nation), Nahu Ghebremichael (Partner at Singular Ventures) and Jess Jackson (Head of Investment at GC Angels), based on their value proposition, competitive advantage, market traction, team experience and potential to scale.

Tech Nation has been delighted to partner with multinational law firm Pinsent Masons to deliver Rising Stars 4.0.

RDvault, the Rising Stars 4.0 winner from the North West, has developed a fully automated, cloud-based R&D Tax Credits platform to empower SMEs to swiftly and easily claim R&D tax incentives from HMRC.

Growing tech sector in North West

RDvault’s success as an early-stage tech company from the North West reflects the strength and fast growth of the North West’s tech sector overall.

According to data from Tech Nation, the North West is now home to 9 of the UK’s tech ‘unicorns’ (companies valued at over $1bn), and received $975mn in VC investment funding last year (a 43.7% increase on the $549mn received in 2020). 

Tech job creation is also growing rapidly in the North West, with over 222,000 people currently employed by tech startups and scaleups in the region.

Rising Stars’ mission

You missed:   Liverpool City Region unveils a plan to deliver the UK’s science superpower ambition

Going forward, RDvault – and all of the 10 Rising Stars 4.0 winners – will continue to be supported by the UK tech ecosystem as they are inducted into the Tech Nation alumni network. 

Recognising and empowering all of the winners of the Rising Stars competition is at the core of Tech Nation’s mission to fuel the growth of tech scaleups who are helping us create a stronger UK economy, society and future. 

Esme Caulfield, Competitions Lead at Tech Nation, said: 

“This year’s Tech Nation Rising Stars 4.0 Winners demonstrate the very best of UK tech innovation. It’s been so exciting to see this year’s Rising Stars winners disrupting a wide variety of tech sectors. like fintech, lawtech and so many others, including – for the first time – death tech. Perhaps even more excitingly, this is one of our most diverse cohorts yet, with the majority of winning companies having female founders or co-founders, and nearly three quarters hailing from outside of London.”

Shoayb Patel, Founder of RDvault, said:

“We’re very excited and honoured to be awarded this prestigious accolade from Tech Nation. Considering the impressive cohort and competition, we’re ecstatic about this amazing achievement. We’ve been helping all stages of companies, from bootstrapped startups, to established and listed organisations, to easily claim valuable R&D funding from HMRC without the need for specialist and expensive tax expertise. Winning this Tech Nation award is significant recognition of the innovative way we have changed how R&D Tax Credits are claimed in the UK through our automated cloud-based platform. This award is also a reflection of the zealous efforts of our hard-working team, who are continuously developing the software and our varied and loyal customer base. We’re fortunate to have such a dedicated and ambitious team helping us rise. Our customers have also helped us on this journey; their continuous feedback is always helping us improve the platform and make the R&D claims process even easier.

You missed:   Communications company, York, wins top industry award

Nahu Ghebremichael, Partner at Singular VC and Rising Stars 4.0 Judge, said: 

“It was a pleasure to serve as a Judge in this year’s Rising Stars competition; it’s so important that we, as a startup community, continue to invest time, energy, and funds into fueling entrepreneurship across the UK. I’ve been inspired by the level of engagement from founders, operators, advisors, and investors alike across the programme, and I’m so enthusiastic about how we’re continuing to evolve as a collaborative tech ecosystem. Congratulations to all of this year’s participants, as well as the winners, and thanks to Tech Nation.”

Jatinder Bansal, Global Head of Talent Acquisition at Funding Circle and Rising Stars 4.0 Judge, said: 

“I was really inspired by the broad and diverse range of ideas entering the UK tech sector through Rising Stars 4.0. Being the UK’s only truly national scaleup competition, it was great to see so many incredible companies rise from emerging trends and important topical issues of today. Seeing these entrepreneurs gaining traction in their respective markets so early really gives me confidence for their future success, in particular seeing some amazing product offerings from gaming, healthcare, fintech, mindfulness, farming and much more; it really shows how many disruptive companies are yet to come!”

Emma Jones CBE, Founder of Enterprise Nation and Rising Stars 4.0 Judge, said:

“With the tech talent shortlisted, this was a tough competition to judge! It’s amazing to see the results reflect a truly enterprising nation with founders from across the UK and a high number of firms started by women. Winning this accolade is sure to set them up for the next stage of growth and at a time when the economy needs the innovation and driving force of entrepreneurs, I salute all the founders who took part and made it to the finals and the winners list.” 

You missed:   VR content creation market ‘to grow by 77% a year’

Douglas Lloyd, CEO and Co-Founder at Macademia and Rising Stars 4.0 Judge, said: 

“I was incredibly excited to be invited to judge this year’s Rising Stars competition. Choosing the winners was much harder than I anticipated; all the participants provided highly compelling pitches. Tech Nation also organised the competition brilliantly. Based on the quality of the entrants, I am really encouraged by the dynamism of the UK tech community. Even more importantly, I was delighted to see that 60% of the winners had a female founder or co-founder.”

Ed Prior, Vice President at GP Bullhound and Rising Star 4.0 Judge and Official Adjudicator, said:

“Having been involved with Rising Stars since its inception, it gives me great pleasure in seeing the competition going from strength to strength each year. As the quality of the companies entering continues to increase, it becomes harder to select the overall winners; this year we received almost 400 entrants from across all regions of the UK and therefore it is a great achievement for all those companies which made the finals. I am proud that the competition is truly representative of the earlier stage tech ecosystem throughout the UK and, given the number of high quality applications and excellent pitches received this year, I am confident we are continuing to create one of the best environments globally to build a tech company regardless of a founders background, or geographic location.”

Richard Potter, Founder and CEO of Peak and Rising Stars 4.0 Judge, said:

“I loved being part of the Rising Stars 4.0 judging panel. The winning 10 companies all demonstrated passion, innovation and huge potential. I hope that winning gives them a huge lift and carries them forward to achieving great things.”