Top Tech Startups in Manchester | Updated 2024

Sarah Cheesman, Updated: 18 March 2024

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In recent years, it’s become increasingly clear that Manchester tech startups are a force to be reckoned with. In a report that we carried out with Barclays Eagle Labs, we highlighted Manchester as one of the strongest technology ecosystems in the UK.

And today, we’re taking a closer look at the top early-stage tech companies the city has to offer. We also explore why Greater Manchester is such a good place for new businesses to set up shop, from its abundance of startup accelerators to high levels of equity investment.

Manchester: the UK’s biggest tech hub (outside London)

Manchester is one of the UK’s top startup hubs, home to nearly two thousand high-growth companies. It also boasts the country’s biggest tech ecosystem outside of London, with 510 ambitious technology businesses currently headquartered in the county.

The city’s greatest startup success stories include e-commerce giant The Hut Group (THG) and eHealth firm Push Doctor, both now exited, alongside numerous spinout companies from the University of Manchester.

Together, private tech startups in Manchester employ an estimated three thousand people, primarily operating in software-as-a-service (SaaS), internet platforms, and mobile apps. In 2023, Greater Manchester tech companies secured £265m worth of publicly-announced and unannounced equity deals (down from £336m in 2022) across 300 funding rounds.

The largest total investment in Manchester during 2023 came from a combination of the Clean Growth Fund and US-based Rhapsody Venture Partners, contributing a combined £18.5m to Holiferm, a University of Manchester spinout.

Find out how the UK’s oldest trading platform identifies prospects, vets inbound enquiries, and builds their pipeline.

What makes Manchester such a good place for tech startups?

There are several reasons why Manchester’s tech ecosystem is so strong. As already noted, the city is home to the University of Manchester, which offers extensive support to startups and scaleups in the region.

The university’s Innovation Factory is driving IP commercialisation and knowledge exchange, with a focus on creating spinouts within computing, life sciences, engineering and manufacturing, and physical and social sciences. The university has also built a biotech centre at the Manchester Incubator Building and offers lab space at its Core Technology Facility.

In fact, there are several incubators and accelerator programmes based in Manchester, offering world-class facilities and business support, such as Bruntwood SciTech and Enterprise City’s Exchange scheme for early-stage tech startups. Manchester also offers great transport links to other leading startup ecosystems, easily accessible to London in the South and Leeds in the North.

Investment is another big driver of Manchester’s burgeoning tech landscape. Indeed, we track several funds that focus specifically on investing in companies headquartered in Manchester and the North.

These include Manchester-based angel network GC Angels, which backs innovative businesses in the North West, and the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF). NPIF is a collaboration fund between the British Business Bank and 10 Local Enterprise Partnerships across the North of England. It’s supported by the European Regional Development Fund, and has multiple fund managers, most notably Maven and Mercia Asset Management.

Another very active VC fund in the North is Manchester-based Praetura Ventures. According to the firm’s Managing Director, David Foreman:

‘Manchester’s tech sector has been quietly growing for several decades and we’re now at a pivotal point where it’s starting to gain global recognition. That’s thanks to large-scale public companies like The Hut Group, but also newer startups like Matillion and Peak—this next generation of tech businesses are proving that early champions in Manchester were an emerging blueprint for the city.’

Explaining why Manchester is such a great ecosystem for tech startups, Foreman adds that:

‘a lot of that is down to the region’s strong sense of community. Unlike in London, we’ve found there’s a greater emphasis on giving back to the startup ecosystem in the North, especially among later-stage investors. That spans the M62 corridor, to both Leeds and Liverpool, with Manchester acting as a focal point. Two-thirds of Praetura’s portfolio are based in the North of England, and we’re actively creating relationships with both seed and later-stage funders that are passionate about playing a role in the ecosystem there.’

We also asked Foreman how he expected the landscape to change in the coming years:

‘Manchester is known as a hub for fast-growing media and retail companies. But, looking forwards, I expect to see exciting businesses in the city emerging from a broader range of industries. It’s likely too early to say which of these will be the next big thing in Manchester, but the one thing they all have in common is their focus on developing and deploying great tech.’

Top 10 Tech Startups in Manchester

Powered by Beauhurst data, we’ve curated the top tech startups in Manchester and ranked each company by the amount of equity investment received to date.

Each of the businesses in this ranking is headquartered in the Greater Manchester area and currently operating at either the seed or venture stages of evolution.

We’re only looking at private companies, so our results exclude big names in the region such as The Hut Group that have already undergone IPOs or acquisitions



Total amount raised: £8.10m
Total equity rounds: Four
Established: 2015

Bolton-based Micregen develops stem cell therapeutics to speed up patient recovery from illness and improve overall treatment results.

Attending one accelerator so far, Angels@Essex Investment Readiness, Micregen has previously been awarded a £374k grant from InnovateUK. The company has also raised a total of £8.10m in equity investment, all from undisclosed investors.



Total amount raised: £8.20m
Total equity rounds: Eight
Established: 2016

Jigsaw has developed a dating app where users can match each other based on a photo snippet and tagline, uncovering new snippets as users exchange messages. Incorporated in 2016, Jigsaw hit its stride during the COVID pandemic, with over £7m of its £8.2m equity raised since 2021.

The company has attended three accelerators, including Entrepreneurial Spark, Entrepreneur Accelerator, and the London Mayor’s International Business Programme.



Total amount raised: £8.88m
Total equity rounds: Nine
Established: 2012

Fixtuur, an app that uses augmented reality to allow people to virtually decorate their rooms, was founded in 2012. It was created to help businesses turn visitors into customers through immersive shopping experiences. It was an attendee at three separate accelerators: the Mayor’s International Business Programme, Applied AI, and JLab.

It has also appeared on a number of high-growth lists, such as Start-Up 101 in 2017, and BusinessCloud 100 eCommerce Trailblazers in both 2019 and 2020. To date, Fixtuur has secured £8.88m through nine rounds of fundraising, in addition to £68.6k through grant funding.



Total amount raised: £9.02m
Total equity rounds: One
Established: 2016

Voicescape develops social housing management software that collects data to allow landlords to manage their properties effectively. The provider of communications software for social housing providers and local authorities secured a £9.02m investment in April 2023. This was through BGF, one of the largest and most experienced growth capital investors in the UK and Ireland.

The aim of this investment was to expand its product suite and support the development of its AI-powered caseload management tool.



Total amount raised: £13.7m
Total equity rounds: Five
Established: 2018

Summize develops software designed to help legal professionals review and manage their contracts. It was founded in 2018 to address the need to digitalise and modernise the contract lifecycle by former General Counsel, Tom Dunlop, who believed there should be an easier way to review, create and manage contracts.

To date, the company has raised £13.7m through equity investments, the most recent of which was in January 2023 for £5.1m. The aim of this investment was to support expansion in the US markets, as well as further development of its software.



Total amount raised: £13.8m
Total equity rounds: Three
Established: 2020

Finances services company Algbra provides banking services aimed at helping users manage and spend their money more ethically. Its objective is to eradicate social and financial exclusion globally and to create a more sustainable society through its proprietary, values-driven financial technology and community-first approach.

Since being founded in 2020, the company has raised £13.8m through three rounds of fundraising, the largest of which was in August 2022 for £5m. This saw investment from SFC Capital, alongside other undisclosed investors, and gave them a post-money valuation of £62m.



Total amount raised: £14.1m
Total equity rounds: 11
Established: 2012

Founded in 2012, SteamaCo is a Manchester-based cleantech company, developing Internet of Things (IoT) smart meter technology for emerging markets. The tech startup’s goal is to create and facilitate electricity markets in emerging economies, while helping utilities to detect theft, win trust and boost revenue.

SteamaCo’s successes have been recognised by the 100 SmartTech Innovators 2020 high-growth list, as well as a Finance for the Future Innovative Project 2020 award. It was also on the North England Fast Growth 50 list in 2023. It has received £1.43m in grants and £14.1m in investment. Its backers include Praetura Ventures, Shell Ventures, and GReeN investor group.



Total amount raised: £16.3m
Total equity rounds: Eight
Established: 2010

The next Manchester-based tech startup on our list is Proveca, a pharmaceutical business that develops drugs to tackle chronic medical conditions in children. It was established in 2010 by Dr Helen Shaw and Dr Simon Bryson.

The co-founders recognised that a large proportion of medicines children take were (and still are) in the wrong format or aren’t licensed for their use. Proveca’s focus is on providing children with vital medicines, in the appropriate format.

Proveca was featured on the Top 100 list of Britain’s Fastest Growing Businesses in 2019. The healthtech company has also received more innovation grants than any other startup in this list, with 10 to its name so far, amounting to over £1.13m in funding.

Alongside this, Proveca has secured £16.3m in equity investment, backed by Albion Capital and GM&C Life Sciences Fund, among other investors.



Total amount raised: £24.1m
Total equity rounds: Two
Established: 2018

SaaS company Sourceful has developed supply chain software to source sustainable packaging. Co-founders Wing Chan and Shiran Zheng started the tech company to help clients reduce their cost and environmental impact, using aggregated logistics.

Sourceful enables users to quickly create interactive 3D prototypes, see live data on their carbon footprint, price and delivery, and use an automated inventory management system through an all-in-one platform.

Sourceful’s one-stop-shop packaging supply chain system is now used by leading small businesses such as Floom, Stitched, and Fenton. In total, the tech startup has raised £24.1m in equity funding, with investors including Index Ventures, EKA Ventures, and Venrex Investment Management.



Total amount raised: £30.6m
Total equity rounds: Six
Established: 2018

Holiferm is a technology development company that uses sustainable, fermentation-derived ingredients for industrial and consumer products.

Its proprietary technology was developed by its co-founders at the University of Manchester. Since spinning out of the university, Holiferm has used this technology to develop a low-cost production process for a selection of lipid products.

Holiferm’s pioneering work was recognised this year as they won the Innovation Award at the Chemicals Northwest Awards. It has also already attended three accelerators, the SME Leaders Programme, Schott Scale Up, and Enterprise Fellowships.

At the time of writing, the tech startup has received £3.05m via innovation grants and raised a total of £30.6m worth of equity investment. Holiferm’s investors include Rhapsody Venture Partners and Clean Growth Fund.

The future of tech companies in Manchester

Manchester holds immense promise, as the city continues to establish itself as a thriving hub for innovation and entrepreneurship. With its rich industrial heritage, vibrant cultural scene, and burgeoning tech ecosystem, the city offers a fertile ground for startups to flourish.

Manchester’s supportive business environment, including initiatives like Tech Manchester and numerous co-working spaces and accelerators, offers startups the resources and networking opportunities they need to thrive.

As the city continues to invest in infrastructure and foster collaboration between academia, industry, and government, the future of tech startups in the city looks exceedingly bright, poised to drive innovation and economic growth for years to come.

Working with Beauhurst

If you’re interested in finding out more about up-and-coming startups in Manchester, or any of the UK’s other thriving cities, the BeauhurstInvest platform has everything you need. With our unique combination of AI and 60+ expert data analysts, we have created the ultimate UK private company data source. And we’re always adding new data.

Our account managers are experts in making sure our clients get the most out of the platform, giving tailored advice on building data lists (or Collections), setting up automated alerts and advising on industry trends.

If you’d like to find out more about how we can work together, speak to a member of our team today. You can also see how the platform works by booking a demo.

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