Top tech firms in the North hit £1.9bn revenue

Tom Marley, CEO of The Car Buying Group, which was named fastest growing technology company. Picture: Tony Johnson
Tom Marley, CEO of The Car Buying Group, which was named fastest growing technology company. Picture: Tony Johnson
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The top 100 fastest growing technology companies in the North generated £1.9bn in revenue last year, according to data compiled by tech investment bank GP Bullhound.

Hugh Campbell, managing partner of GP Bullhound, said: “After years of huge potential, Northern tech companies now command the valuations and deals worthy of international recognition.

“The tech sector in the North is more robust than ever and high profile transactions will continue establishing the region’s reputation as a home for profitable tech companies, a real depth of talent and genuine software innovation.”

The sector is likely to get only larger as the successful tech cluster in the region snowballs, according to the fastest growing technology business in the region.

James Branton, chief technical officer at The Car Buying Group, told The Yorkshire Post that Yorkshire’s tech growth potential is “spectacularly large”.

“Hence why we were fortunate enough to be able to start our operation in Yorkshire,” he added.

Wakefield-based The Car Buying Group was recognised as the fastest growing company at the Northern Tech Awards.

Mr Branton said: “We operate on a national basis but it was a strategic decision to base ourselves in the North, particularly Wakefield and Yorkshire because of the wealth of talent around.”

He added that nearing the £2bn revenue mark was an “incredible achievement” for the 100 fastest growing firms.

“I’m astounded, to be honest,” he said. “The level of skill and the number of hardworking people in the tech sector in the North. It’s incredibly exciting for us.

“I believe it’s the fastest growing sector in the North, so it’s of utmost importance and I’m very pleased to see such a huge support from everywhere.”

GP Bullhound compiled the Northern Tech 100 League with Tech North. The list recognises the fastest growing tech companies across the North and features high growth achievers such as Tyres on the Drive, Sky Betting & Gaming, and Panintelligence.

In particular, the strength of software development in the North was highlighted, with a total of 31 software companies in the 100 fastest growing companies.

Of these, 19 were recognised within the top 50 fastest growing companies, representing an increase on the 12 software businesses included in the top 50 last year, increasing the sector’s total share to 38 per cent in 2017.

Despite the large number of skilled people in the region Mr Branton said that it can be difficult when recruiting software developers.

He said: “Software developers are hard to come by because they’re getting snapped up by the other rapid growing tech companies.

“There’s a huge amount of potential for graduates and people starting up their career ladder in the tech industry because there’s so many high growth tech businesses.”

Mr Branton believes that the skills gap is already being plugged and that the reason why there are shortages is owing to the acceleration in growth that the skilled staff bring to the companies.

He said: “The requirement for new staff grows exponentially, which is fantastic.

“I don’t see the skills gap as a problem I see it as something that comes from the exceptionally talented area.”

From Yorkshire there were 28 tech companies named in the top 100.

Alongside The Car Buying Group, which topped the overall list, Sheffield-based Azzure IT, which sells and deploys Microsoft business software, Leeds-based Sky Bet and videogame developer Team 17 also made it into the Northern Tech 100 League.

GP Bullhound is headquartered in London but has offices in Manchester.

Awards ceremony puts spotlight on Northern growth in sector

The Northern Tech Awards 2017 were presented by GP Bullhound as a not-for-profit event in Newcastle last week.

The Car Buying Group was given the award for Fastest Growing Company, while Sheffield-based software firm The Floow took home the Young Entrepreneur award.

Richard Flint, CEO of Leeds-based Sky Bet and judge at the Northern Tech Awards, said: “The awards have shown just how strong the tech sector is in the North.

“The rapid growth achieved by so many of these fantastic companies is testament to the innovation and ingenuity present in the region.”

The panel of judges also included David Rowan, former editor of WIRED UK, and Carol Kane, CEO and co-founder of Boohoo.