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Startup Cities: Manchester

11th May 2017

Categories: Latest News

Digital culture is booming in the northern UK city, which has the highest amount of digital-sector jobs outside of London.

The city that kick-started the Industrial Revolution is reinventing itself as a startup machine. According to a 2016 report by the government-funded initiative Tech North, Manchester has become a major tech hub.

"The focus on the northern economy has helped," says Anne Dornan, head of innovation at the Manchester Science Partnerships business centre. "But many businesses chose Manchester because of its culture and quality of life."

As of 2016, Manchester had just under 52,000 digital-sector jobs. This is higher than any UK city outside of London. Access to graduates from the area's three universities, along with an extensive public-transport network, are key factors behind Manchester's rise.

Another reason is "north-shoring": a neologism used to describe startups and corporate firms relocating from London to cheaper-but-catching-up-fast Manchester. But, although investment platform Crowdcube and GP Bullhound have recently opened offices in the city, securing funding from local sources is something that most startups in the city still struggle with.

Companies are concerned that they'll run out of graduate recruits. "Founders are wondering where they're going to get the next ten staff," says Richard Gregory, director of Tech North. "That's why Brexit is obviously a concern here."

The top five startups in Manchester

Boohoo

The fashion site has experienced huge growth: from August to December 2016, its revenues rose 55 per cent.

Founded: 2006
Investment raised: £300 million, following an IPO in 2014
Founders: Mahmud Kamani and Carol Kane

DueCourse

This startup provides a service for creating digital invoices.

Founded: 2014
Investment raised: £1.25 million in funding and £5 million in debt financing
Founders: Paul Haydock, Jon Grove and Tim Borden

DigitalBridge

Backed by retailer John Lewis, DigitalBridge combines VR and computer vision to help people visualise new décor in their homes.

Founded: 2013
Investment raised: £1.1 million
Founder: David Levine

Peak (formerly Brainbow)

Peak uses machine learning to analyse data and extract strategic insights. Customers include Morrisons.

Founded: 2014
Investment raised: £1 million
Founders: Richard Potter and David Leitch

MarketInvoice

This fintech platform provides loans to small businesses that need quick liquidity for minor expenses.

Founded: 2010
Investment raised: £26.8 million
Founders: Anil Stocker, Ilya Kondrashov and Charles Delingpole

Source wired.co.uk

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