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Three Northern companies revealed as Tech Nation’s Rising Stars winners


Tech Nation has revealed the three Northern companies among the 10 winners of its fourth Rising Stars competition, which recognises the best early-stage tech scale-ups across the UK.

The three Northern winners include Sunderland-headquartered ‘deathtech’ company Settld, fashion rental platform Zoa Rental and Manchester-based tech company RDVault.

Both Zoa Rental and Settld are the first competition winners based in the North East, with Settld named as Tech Nation’s first ‘deathtech’ winner, which works to support bereaved families with its tech platform.

According to data from Tech Nation, the North West is now home to nine of the UK’s tech ‘unicorns’, which are companies valued at over $1bn, and received $975m in VC investment funding last year – a 43.7% increase on the $549m received in 2020.

Whereas in the North East, Tech Nation’s data found that the region received $283m in VC investment funding last year – a 66% increase on the $96m received in 2020. 

The other winners, which span across healthtech, fintech, gaming, retail, AI, lawtech, HRtech and spacetech, include HR DataHub, Kuberno, Kythera AI, MYNDUP, Naurt, Renude and xigxag – with the majority of the winners hailing from outside of London and the South East.

This year’s winners have been selected by a panel of seven judges, with all winners supported by the UK tech ecosystem as they are inducted into the Tech Nation alumni network.

Esme Caulfield, Competitions Lead at Tech Nation, said: “This year’s Tech Nation Rising Stars 4.0 Winners demonstrate the very best of UK tech innovation. It’s been so exciting to see this year’s Rising Stars winners disrupting a wide variety of tech sectors. like fintech, lawtech and so many others, including – for the first time – deathtech. Perhaps even more excitingly, this is one of our most diverse cohorts yet, with the majority of winning companies having female founders or co-founders, and nearly three quarters hailing from outside of London.”

“We’re very excited and honoured to be awarded this prestigious accolade from Tech Nation. Considering the impressive cohort and competition, we’re ecstatic about this amazing achievement,” said Shoayb Patel (pictured, left), Founder of RDvault.

Vicky Wilson (pictured, right), co-founder and CEO of Settld, added: “We are over the moon to have been chosen as a Rising Stars Winner. It’s a testament to the hard work of our small team, and it shines a positive light on the way Settld is using technology for good. We would like to dedicate this Award to our bereaved customers and to all those dealing with end of life admin.”

Isabella West, Founder and CEO of Zoa Rental, said: “We have a big vision – a more sustainable future for the fashion industry. Being recognised as a Tech Rising Star will help us build credibility and awareness in a year where rental is forecast to boom.”

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