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Manchester tech firms raised a record £532m funding in 2022

DCMS minister Paul Scully, courtesy UK Parliament

Manchester tech companies raised a record £532 million of funding in 2022, a 50 per cent increase on 2021’s figures and more than major European cities including Rome, Brussels, Warsaw and Lisbon.

The latest data from DCMS also confirms Manchester as the fastest-growing tech hub in the North, and the biggest outside London and the South East. Manchester-based companies have collectively raised over £1.8 billion in venture capital funding in the past five years

The new figures come as Digital Economy Minister and co-chair of the Digital Skills Council Paul Scully visits Manchester for the Digital Skills Festival. Scully said: “Manchester’s thriving tech start-up scene is packed with innovation, fuelled by record levels of funding from 2022 and is outperforming much larger cities on the continent.

“There are huge opportunities in this city to forge a high-skilled, high-paid career in tech, and my discussions with the region’s business leaders will inform our work to grow the talent pipeline so these industries of the future continue to shine on the global stage.”

Manchester has emerged as one of the UK’s dominant tech hubs in recent years. There are now over 1,600 startups and scaleups in the city, which are employing an estimated 60,000 people according to tech data specialist Dealroom.

The biggest fundraise of 2022 came from electric vehicle charging company BE.EV, which raised £110m in October 2022 to expand its public EV charging infrastructure across the country and make it easier for people to switch to electric cars and vans.

Other significant wins included The Modern Milkman, which raised £50 million to transform consumer habits and Freedom Fibre which pulled in £84 million in May to power its rollout of high-speed broadband, with an aim to connect two million businesses to affordable full-fibre internet, in partnership with Salford-based TalkTalk.

These are just some of the businesses in Manchester that have been named as futurecorns – fast-growing tech companies that are expected to be worth over $1 billion in the future. Manchester has now produced eight futurecorns and six unicorns (private companies worth over $1 billion) including connected car data platform Wejo, fintech Interactive Investor and data centre provider TelecityGroup.

Looking ahead, there are currently over 50 startups and scaleups in Manchester focusing on edtech and skills training to upskill and reskill the workforce for the expanding sector. Northcoders, one of the largest, was founded in 2015 and has so far turned out over 1,500 graduates who have moved on to roles at companies such as The Co-Op Bank and Footasylum recruiting graduates.

Amul Batra, chief operating officer at Northcoders, said: “Northcoders is passionate about nurturing and developing the tech talent of the future. The tech ecosystem in Manchester is always developing and we are incredibly proud to be playing our part in its growth and evolution.”

Helen Verwoert, operational partner at key Manchester-based tech investor Praetura Ventures, added: “We’re now seeing the impact that growing investment into Manchester’s early-stage business ecosystem is having. This is evidenced by the rise of brilliant new businesses such as Arctic Shores, which is using behavioural assessment technology to replace traditional CVs and remove unconscious bias from the recruitment process. These breakout businesses create the blueprint to inspire others. Praetura is committed to attracting more investment to Manchester to help maintain this momentum.”

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