Plusnet’s founder in top spot for technology

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LEE Strafford, the Plusnet founder and former chairman of Sheffield Wednesday Football Club, is Yorkshire’s most prominent technology entrepreneur, according to new research compiled to celebrate Tech Entrepreneurs Week.

Mr Strafford, who sold Sheffield-based home phone and broadband supplier Plusnet to BT for a reported £67m in 2007, was featured more frequently and prominently than other nominees across a range of national, local and social media studied by Roaring Mouse, a technology PR consultancy. Mr Strafford currently sits on the board of Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership.

Co-founders of Freeserve, Ajaz Ahmed and Peter Wilkinson, were second and third respectively. Leeds-born Freeserve grew to become the UK’s largest internet service provider and Britain’s first dotcom business to float on the stock market.

Mr Ahmed founded fixed-price online service Legal365 in 2011 and Mr Wilkinson is now chief executive of cloud services provider InTechnology, which is based in Harrogate.

David Richards, who recently floated his Sheffield-based software company WANdisco on the stock market, and David Hood, the founder of Saltaire-based set-top box maker Pace, also ranked in the top five.

Martin Port, founder of Leeds-based telematics firm Masternaut, now chief executive at BigChange Apps Centre, was also in the top 10.