The stars of the Leeds City Region tech sector were recognised at an exclusive launch event in the city on Tuesday.

The identity of 20 companies included in the inaugural Tech Climbers list for the Leeds City Region were unveiled at the event at Nexus, based on the University of Leeds campus.

Tech Climbers is a regional list published with BusinessCloud that showcases the top performing, IP rich, product-led technology businesses.

The key criteria the judges were looking for was impact the company was having in solving global problems; the level of innovation involved; and the investment story.

An audience of around 80 people attended the event, where the identity of the six companies included in a ‘Ones to Watch’ list were also revealed.

Tech Climbers was first launched in Liverpool City Region in 2019 by Anna Heyes and has been so successful it was launched into Leeds for the first time this year.

The managing director of Active Profile said: “Leeds is an amazing tech city, and the region is full of exciting tech start-ups and scale-ups doing ground-breaking work on a global stage.

“It was the natural next place to bring Tech Climbers and we had an amazing reception from the business community. I’ve been excited by how the inaugural Leeds City Region Tech Climbers 2022 has gone. It’s been a huge success and I look forward to planning what comes next.”

Leeds City Region Tech Climbers List 2022

The event was run in association with West Yorkshire Combined Authority; Leeds Digital Festival; Tech Nation; and ZUT.

It was sponsored by Hill Dickinson; Mercia Asset Management; Avison Young; BDO; Nexus, University of Leeds, while UK Investment Bank Panmure Gordon were the drinks sponsors.

BusinessCloud were the media partners and executive editor Chris Maguire hosted Tuesday’s launch event.

He said: “Wow! I’ve been blown away by the sheer depth and diversity of the region’s tech businesses.

“The region’s HealthTech sector is well established but the region also has some amazing businesses working in the data, gaming, FinTech, EdTech and cyber security sectors.

“Huge amounts of investment are pouring into these businesses and I genuinely wouldn’t be surprised if some of them were future unicorns.”

The cohort of 20 unicorns were revealed in alphabetical order but the audience could choose their favourite tech business and the accolade was shared jointly by Little Journey and Vet-AI.

A total of 40 companies applied to take in the inaugural Leeds City Region Tech Climbers List.

Of these:

  • 92.5% are predicting growth
  • 62.5% are on the hunt for new talent
  • 300+ jobs are set to be created in the next 12 months
  • 100% are having a positive ESG impact
  • 72.5% are actively looking for growth funding
  • 100% of entrants said Leeds is a good place to grow a business

The launch event also heard from four of the companies on the Tech Climbers list and some of the leading names in the region’s tech scene.

Thomas Porteus, CEO of Iatro Partners; Bobby Thandi, founder and CEO of XR Games;  Paul Hallett, co-founder of Vet-AI; and  Sophie Copley, co-founder and chief product officer of Little Journey, shared their stories of running a tech business in Leeds.

They were joined by Kate Patton, Tech Nation’s Scale Up Engagement Manager for North East England and Yorkshire;  Annette Joseph, MBE, founder and CEO of Diverse & Equal; and Hannah Redgewell, investment principle at Channel 4 Ventures.