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Unicorns and fledglings thriving in NW: report

The North West of England has been revealed as the “perfect breeding ground for tech start-ups, scale-ups and unicorns”.

This is due to its world class tech talent, entrepreneurial spirit, feeder universities, dedicated support services, increasing number of local angels and inward investment, according to a report from London Tech Week and UK Tech Cluster Group, part of the new 12 Clusters of Tech initiative.

The clusters are mapping UK tech, with the North West report the fifth in the series of 12.

The UK is home to 35% of Europe’s unicorns – a privately held start-up valued at over $1bn- and, over the last four years, has created more unicorns than Germany, France, Sweden and the Netherlands. Of the 14 digital tech unicorns created in the UK, six of these in the North West, including The Hut Group, The Very Group, Radius Payment Solutions, AO.com, AutoTrader and Boohoo, said London Tech Week festival director Suzy Pallett.

She said: “The North West has a long history of pioneering technologies, from being at the forefront of the Industrial Revolution, to its key role in the early days of computing.

“In the 21st century, the region is forging new paths, with a focus on modern specialities – healthtech, e-commerce and fintech. Already home to six digital tech unicorns and attracting inward investment from far and wide, the North West is unsurprisingly showing no signs of slowing down.”

At the other end of the scale, the region is home to a thriving tech start-up community and is successfully nurturing fledgling businesses to scale.

According to a recent survey, Manchester is second only to London as a destination for tech workers, 15% against 18%.

The North West benefits greatly from the geographical spread of universities producing talented graduates that are feeding into the local tech sector, and Manchester retains 69% of its graduates.

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