From award-winning marketing automation to fleet management technology, Leeds is packed with businesses blazing a trail.
Every year, GP Bullhound rolls out the red carpet for the Northern Tech Awards, revealing the 100 fastest growing tech companies in the North. These innovative industry leaders are shaping the way we do business, and 13 of them – including the winner – are based right here in Leeds. Find out who won, who else made the list and why…
Multi-award-winning agile business transformation specialists Burendo took home the coveted first place in this year’s Top 100, growing their revenue by an incredible 182% over the past three years. The Leeds-based firm provides consultancy, training and coaching to organisations across the private and public sector. They help companies to streamline operations, reduce costs and improve customer satisfaction – key clients include William Hill, Yorkshire Building Society and NHS England. They’ve gone from strength to strength since being founded in 2018 and recorded a turnover of £16m in 2021 – following just three years of business.
Edinburgh-founded xDesign opened its Leeds office in 2021, following the pandemic, to create social and business opportunities for employees in the region. The digital development agency provides design, app development, product strategy and more to a wide range of clients, including Tesco Bank, Yorkshire Building Society and PayPal, working with rapidly-scaling companies from around the globe. Now with 400 employees, the agency’s rise shows no sign of slowing down, taking an impressive seventh position in the Northern Tech Awards Top 100 after growing their revenue by 108% over the past three years.
Founded in 2017 but with over 40 years experience in business transformation and cyber security, Iridium Consulting aims to turn the traditional consulting model on its head. Leveraging innovation to drive sustainable growth, the team works around three core pillars of service – thought leadership, trusted expertise and a focus on outcomes. Their client base spans a number of sectors, from banking and finance through to energy and utilities. Iridium were ranked a respectable 12th in the Top 100 – the third-fastest growing Yorkshire firm on list. 2022 was an epic year for the company, as they secured £1.5m in funding from Santander UK.
Coming in at 26th out of 100 companies, Parallax is a digital transformation agency committed to challenging the status quo. Blending technical excellence with cutting edge innovation, they build sector-leading digital products for the likes of NASA, British Airways and the NHS. The work is challenging, varied and incredibly rewarding, with a culture centred around learning and improvement that is highlighted by regular company-wide Hack Days, where the team tinker around with code, take on challenges and work on something new. Their growth has been recognised by Prolific North, with the agency rising to 29th in 2022’s Top Digital Agencies list.
The Data Shed
Fast-growing scale-up The Data Shed has built a formidable reputation in the Leeds tech scene. The Shedders – a team of self-confessed data nerds – help clients demystify data, uncovering and analysing valuable insights to enhance customer experience and improve that all-important bottom line. An impressive client roster includes NHS Digital, Qantas and Evri (Hermes), while a wonderful working environment has led to multiple Employer of the Year awards. Ranked 29th in this list, the firm continues to go from strength to strength, and its recent acquisition by digital agency Hippo Digital paves the way for major success going forward.
Answer Digital is an employee-owned full-service digital agency based in Leeds, committed to helping clients innovate and achieve best practice. Providing a range of services from digital transformation through to AI, they assemble bespoke teams to meet the precise needs of each and every challenge. With specialisms in healthcare, financial and commercial, they’ve worked on exciting, high-reward projects, including helping the NHS to shape their digital Covid pass. They had an incredible 2022, landing an NHS Digital contract worth up to £37.5m to be delivered with consortium partner Made Tech Group, and ranked 48th on this year’s list.
Bolser is a full-service digital agency made up of web and mobile marketing specialists. Working with a blue-chip client roster, they build websites, apps and content management systems for companies like Microsoft, McDonald’s and EE. From improving the quality of grassroots football pitches across the country to helping patients prepare for surgery, they work collaboratively, immersing themselves in the brands they work with and becoming an extension of their clients’ marketing teams. The agency ranked 54th in this year’s Top 100, after a record-breaking 2022 saw its turnover increase by 50% up to £2.5m.
The SEO Works
Coming in at position 58 is The SEO Works – one of the UK’s leading SEO agencies, who provide search solutions to the likes of Decathlon, Just Eat and Tata Steel. When it comes to staying on top of its game, size matters – the agency’s healthy headcount offers the luxury of in-house strategists, primed to keep abreast of industry trends and changes to ensure they’re always offering the best possible service. A culture of continual improvement is reflected both in client service and operational processes. The agency recently made a number of senior leadership changes, as it continues to chase ambitious growth plans.
Leeds-based BOXT removes the hassle from getting a new boiler. They’ve digitised the full boiler-buying journey, from finding the right model and picking a package that’s tailored to you, through to installation and aftercare. With the ability to get a boiler delivered and installed within 24 hours by a certified Gas Safe engineer, they’ve streamlined a once-stressful process, pairing competitive prices with outstanding customer service to save customers time and money. That approach saw the firm ranked at 66 in GP Bullhound’s list. The company has continually delivered double-digit growth since 2017, and secured £20m in funding in 2022.
Nexus Vehicle Rental
Nexus Vehicle Rental’s award-winning rental management technology helps fleet managers control every aspect of their fleet, from vehicle booking through to trend-spotting and cost-cutting. Pulling together tens and thousands of vehicles from 2,000 locations across the UK, vehicles can be booked in a manner of seconds and delivered in just hours. It’s not just cars, either – you can get your hands on vans, HGVs and speciality vehicles, on short, medium and long-term hire basis. Nexus took position 90 in the list, with the news coming shortly after its acquisition by Equistone Partners Europe.
SmartSearch’s award-winning anti-money laundering solution helps to protect businesses and individuals from fraud, while ensuring compliance with ever-changing regulations. Log onto its handy platform and you can carry out an AML check in seconds, saving you valuable time and money. Partnerships with the likes of Experian, Equifax and Dow Jones make the whole process ultra-reliable, with identify-verifying data pulled from a number of online sources. It’s been a successful 2023 so far, with COO Collette Allen recently named Technology Businesswoman of the Year at the Great British Businesswoman Awards, and now a 92nd position in the list.
Lead generation experts Lead Tech help financial services companies to find and convert potential customers, and the company became FCA authorised in 2021. By building targeted digital campaigns and delivering them via the most appropriate channels, they can track down people who are actively looking for financial advice. Managing the entire customer journey from lead to appointment, they constantly optimise and adapt their approach, using performance insight to maximise their conversion rates and ROI. LeadTech were ranked at 97 in the list, after making the Top 100 for an incredible fifth year in a row.
Force24’s powerful marketing automation platform makes marketing a breeze for over 700 clients, helping businesses build complex multi-channel campaigns, emails and personalised landing pages in just a matter of minutes. The automation works its magic behind the scenes, constantly pushing customers through the sales funnel. By using Force24’s platform, marketers can save up to eight hours a week. Now that’s clever! An £4.8m investment backed by YFM in November 2020 spurred on ambitious growth plans, which led to an increase in revenue, employees and clients. The company sits at position 99 in this year’s Top 100.