Five early-stage tech companies named by Tech Nation as ‘Rising Stars'

According to Tech Nation, tech job creation is growing rapidly in Northern Ireland, rising by 306 per cent in the past year from 4,041 tech roles in 2020 to 16,417 in the first half of this year

FIVE fledgling technology companies in the north which have raised an average of £1.2 million in investment funding to date have been chosen by Tech Nation as regional winners of its 'Rising Stars' competition, which recognises the brightest and best early-stage tech firms from every area of the UK.

They were selected by a panel of more than 50 industry experts with extensive experience in starting and scaling tech businesses, based on their value proposition, competitive advantage, market traction, team experience and potential to scale.

Those recognised are Belfast-based Overwatch Research, CropSafe and Kairos, Lisburn-based Kinva, and Antrim-based Ecko.

All five are working to transform a range of different industries, including healthtech, sports tech, agritech and createch, and their success reflects the strength and fast growth of the region’s overall tech sector.

According to Tech Nation, Northern Ireland is currently home to two tech ‘unicorns’ (companies valued at over $1bn), and has received $34.5m in venture capital investment funding this year, a 49 per cent increase on the $23.1m received in 2020.

Tech job creation is also growing rapidly in the north, rising by 306 per cent in the past year from 4,041 tech roles in 2020 to 16,417 in the first half of this year.

Esme Caulfield, competitions lead at Tech Nation, said: “With our Rising Stars competition now in its fourth year, it’s amazing to see so many inspiring companies innovating to change our world for the better.

“This year we surpassed the milestone of 1000 applications to Rising Stars. We had a record number of applications this year - 380 - and we also saw our first applications from the agritech (Cropsafe).

“From revolutionising modern healthcare and disrupting the finance sector to transforming education and tackling climate change, each of these fast-growing regional early-stage tech companies is helping us improve our economy, society and quality of life. These inners represent the brightest and the best of UK tech and talent, and I’m excited to see what they do next.”

About the Northern Ireland Regional Winners:

Overwatch Research - Belfast - Healthtech

Overwatch is an all-in-one software used by pharmaceutical companies to assist with developing drugs for some of the world’s most critical illnesses including cancer, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. By aiming to reduce the high failure rate of clinical trials in the pharmaceutical industry largely caused by poor quality preclinical data. Overwatch's software greatly increases the reliability of data and eliminates errors experienced in commonly performed studies by 100 per cent.

Kinva - Lisburn - Healthtech

Kinva is a game-changing digital platform connecting health therapists and their clients. Through one-to-one support and tailored plans, Kinva creates a healthier future for patients, connecting them with health therapists and improving the effectiveness of therapy.

Kairos Sports Tech - Belfast - Sports tech

Kairos is a central communications hub for elite sports teams. The online web app and mobile platform allows teams to seamlessly and efficiently manage all aspects of team communication including; scheduling, messaging, subjective data collection, travel, and u18 guardian communication.

CropSafe - Belfast - Agritech

CropSafe aggregates weather and satellite data to provide better, more accurate guidance for farmers who want to fix on-farm issues like blight. With the power of satellite data, CropSafe makes insights and financing easier to understand, and helps farmers make more profitable decisions.

Ecko - Antrim - Createch

Ecko is a first of its kind collaboration platform that allows its users to monetise their sessions as NFTs. Ecko promises to empower and connect music creators through transformative technology.

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