Manchester boasts the third largest economy in the UK, along with the largest number of digital tech workers outside London; it’s no wonder the city is home to a thriving startup scene.
A rich industrial history, world-class educational institutions, fierce community spirit and relatively low startup costs make Manchester a great place to start a business, and success stories include Boohoo, AutoTrader and Beauty Bay.
Manchester startups saw a £200 million boost in funding in 2018, and the number of new businesses formed annually continues to grow every year. Today we’ll discuss some of the companies to watch in 2019.
Manchester fintech startups
Arro offers alternatives to traditional bank accounts for personal and business use. Signing up takes less than three minutes and requires no credit check as there are no overdraft or loan facilities.
Auden is a for-profit social enterprise that hopes to change the face of finance in the UK. Its first offering is an affordable short term loan that is responsibly sold, with no hidden fees or charges; the only added cost is interest.
Nivo, developed through the Barclays Accelerator, brings bank standard security to instant messaging for businesses. Customers sign up in a matter of minutes and go through a seamless identity verification process so that you can offer a fully secure customer service experience.
Manchester healthtech startups
Elucid’s technology helps healthcare providers to ensure that patients are taking their medication properly and track potential issues. The startup’s first product is a smart medicine bottle, which dispenses the correct dosage at a prescribed time and reports back immediately via Bluetooth. Doctors can see when patients are non-adherent and remotely lock down containers if necessary.
Elucid has secured £1.4 million in funding and works alongside the NHS.
Gelmetix (formerly Gelixir)
Gelmetix, a spinoff from the University of Manchester, has developed a polymer gel to relieve back pain without invasive surgery. Injected directly into cartilage, it helps to slow down degeneration and reduce the amount of pain the patient experiences. This will potentially help millions of people worldwide and save healthcare providers significant time and resources.
Having secured over £4 million in investment, Gelmetix is set to begin first-in-human studies this year.
Push Doctor makes it possible to book an appointment in just six minutes by connecting you to a network of 7,000 NHS listed GPs. The Manchester startup has scooped over $37.5 million in investor funding and recently inked deals with 13 primary care networks in Birmingham.
Texere Publishing breathes fresh air into scientific publishing with engaging, beautifully designed content that celebrates the people behind innovation. Its growing collection of titles includes The Analytical Scientist, The Cannabis Scientist and The Ophthalmologist.
Yourgene Health (formerly Premaitha)
Yourgene develops genetic services for healthcare professionals. Its first offering, the Iona test, is a non-invasive prenatal screen for genetic abnormalities including Down’s syndrome. Where standard testing is 85% accurate, Iona is 99% accurate—therefore fewer women are sent for amniocentesis and CVS, which are invasive screens that carry a small risk of miscarriage.
Yourgene hopes to apply its technology to other fields, including oncology: a new project in Taiwan has already begun work with newly-diagnosed breast cancer and leukaemia patients.
Manchester lifestyle startups
Bridebook is the easiest way to plan your wedding, from inspiration to ‘I do’. The site offers planning tools, real wedding stories and an extensive directory of venues and suppliers to cover a couple’s every need.
Gay Homestays offers an Airbnb-style platform where LGBTQ+ people can book safe, welcoming travel accommodation around the world. As most hosts are LGBTQ+ themselves, it’s an easy way to make new friends and explore local gay scenes and areas of interest.
Gig Pic is a photo sharing platform specifically for live music events. Check in at an event, take photos with the in-app camera and tag performing artists to connect with other fans.
GymStreak‘s AI-powered app creates dynamic bodybuilding and workout plans based on your body type, goals and experience. Its features include 3D animations of every move and automatic periodisation to keep your body on its toes.
Radio.co provides everything you need in order to set up an online radio station. The company’s all-in-one solution is completely cloud-based, so you can broadcast from anywhere.
TickX checks over 100 vendors for tickets and highlights the best price available. The platform pulls events big and small across music, theatre, clubbing and comedy and syncs with your Spotify library to automatically follow your favourite artists.
Manchester B2B startups
Autopaid (formerly DueCourse)
Autopaid takes the stress and cashflow issues out of invoicing by paying you within 24 hours and handling collection. Users can expect to receive around 95-97% of the total invoice value, even when clients fail to pay.
Bidooh (formerly OfferMoments)
Bidooh‘s digital billboards use facial recognition technology to identify the physical traits and shopping habits of a consumer and show ads tailored to their interests. The startup says that its technology makes marketing affordable for everybody—even the smallest business owners.
Bidooh billboards have sprung up across the UK and Europe, with South Korea and the USA in the pipeline.
Peak uses AI and machine learning to analyse business data and provide clever insights. Happy clients include retail giant Morrisons, which cut £1 million in food waste through better demand forecasting.