A look at who’s killing it in the Mancunian digital scene.
We live in a country of inventors and self-starters, with 75 companies launched every hour in the UK. And what’s more, successful business ventures are no longer a London only affair. We are now living in a time where 3 out of 5 high-growth companies are actually located outside of the capital.
Choosing where to start your business is crucial for any business, and that includes digital trendsetters. London, Bristol, Edinburgh, Leeds, Cambridge, and Brighton are all spearheading huge digital growth in the UK and are great places to start a tech business. But let’s concentrate on the city that warms our heart the most – Manchester.
Ah Manchester. The home of the Eccles cake, The Smiths, Acid House and Emmeline Pankhurst. The city that spat out the industrial revolution and threw in the computer for good measure. The Northern Giant is now the largest tech cluster outside of London and in the top 5 best UK cities to start a business. It’s also creating a bit of a digital name for itself on the global stage, featuring in Europe’s top 20 list for digital innovation and generating tongue-in-cheek talk about Manchester becoming the UK’s Silicon Valley.
It also happens to be the city where Bamboo is based. We weren’t at all surprised to see Manchester feature in the top 5 UK cities for start-ups and freelancers. Manchester is a city that has lots of business opportunities and room for everyone to make their mark, but also feels a bit like an urban village with really strong social networks. It’s not rare to bump into someone on the street or see someone you know at a meet-up event or working out of a cafe. We are also lucky to have genuinely helpful business relationships and local government support, with some really impressive digital investment, support initiatives and readily available resources in the local area.
We’ve also always found it really important to big up and encourage innovation and community in the Manchester digital scene. One of the things we love most about working in the city centre and out of Ziferblat Edge street is that we constantly meet other inspiring Mancunian businesses, especially start-ups. And even though we’ve been going for a while now, we still remember our start-up days – the excitement of creating something new, the boundless possibilities and of course the massive business fails that you learn from.
It’s fair to say that in 2018, the city has become a bit of a start-up machine. For us, start-ups always bring something fresh and innovative to the Mancunian table, helping to spruce things up and keep the city making digital waves. Manchester has always been doing its industrious, creative thing both in the city and globally. But in the last few years, the city has really got its digital strut on.
So we really wanted to write a blog post that would showcase some of the best new talent out there. To celebrate proper Mancunian innovation for 2018 and the most exciting Mancunian start-ups out there at the moment:
A start-up radio platform that wants to haul radio into the digital age by making podcasts a daily, relevant hobby. The site works a bit like a radio version of Youtube, you can create your own radio station or page and get followers or listeners for your page. They even have a great broadcast live tool. They also secured 300K worth of funding. Definitely one to watch.
Just out of the start-up bracket (est. 2014), Wakelet is an innovative content curation platform and social app that is trying to give users more freedom in the quality of relevant content on the web. Posts are called ‘wakes’ and user can create portfolios, collections, tell stories, annotate and create their own private and public content pages. A bit like myspace 5.0, Instagram and Pinterest all combined. The founder, Jamil Khalil, received 1.1 million in funding to kick off Wakelet.
The founders of Digital Bridge are Mancunian home space innovators who have created an augmented reality platform that allows customers to try home décor in their own home before buying it online. You just need to take a picture of the room and upload to your computer to start digitally decorating your space. Pretty nifty stuff. They’ve already received 450k worth of investment from high flyers such as John Lewis.
A start-up dedicated to building technology that enhances sport training. One of their most exciting inventions is Corner a wearable performance tracking device and app for elite athletes, especially for boxers and coaches trying to push for improved performance.
A crowdfunding platform service that helps start-ups get the funding they need to launch or start a critical new phase. They work on Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaigns helping flourishing ideas with lead generations and socially powered investment. They helped raise a colossal $18 million dollars in 2016 and 17 for SMes and start-ups.
With all this creative innovation flying about we can’t wait to see what other creative and inspiring people pop up on the digital landscape in 2018. One thing is for sure, Manchester is in pure digital flow right now and, as always, is dancing to its own unique rhythm.