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Tech Nation’s regional rising stars revealed

Five North East early-stage tech companies have been named regional winners in the Tech Nation Rising Stars competition.

Rising Stars is one of the most sought-after national competitions for early-stage tech businesses, designed to showcase the best the country has to offer and help innovative start-ups become investor ready.

The competition provides the opportunity for young businesses to be mentored by leading investors and corporates.

The five regional winners for each region and nation across the UK have been selected by a panel of industry experts.

This year’s winners for the North East are Middlesbrough-based data analytics and business intelligence company bubo.AI, Newcastle’s health tech and life sciences business Discova, Durham-based ed-tech business Education Equation, Newcastle’s sports tech business Okkulo and Opportuni, an e-commerce company based in Stockton-on-Tees.

Each will be vying to become part of the final top 20 UK companies being showcased online and promoted to a curated audience of investors, corporates, influencers and the wide tech ecosystem.

The Tech Nation judges will then deliberate over the final 20, selecting 10 companies to be named this year’s Rising Stars.

The 10 Rising Stars UK winners will be revealed in February 2021.

Esme Caulfield, competitions lead at Tech Nation, said: “We’re honoured that so many companies took the time to apply for Rising Stars 3.0 and dare truly excited about the calibre of our regional winners.

“The 55 Rising Stars Regional Winners are companies that are proving their resilience and adaptability, building products that will support businesses and customers both now, and into the future.

“They are all deserving of recognition – and here at Tech Nation, we’re thrilled to celebrate and showcase them.”

Alan Timothy, CEO of bubo.AI, commented: “At bubo.AI we strive to be the best, and relish this opportunity to stand on the shoulders of giants to learn and improve as we head towards our next funding round.”

Lizzy Hodcroft, CEO and co-founder of Discova, commented: “We are raising £500,000 investment in the early days of 2021 and we know that having the opportunity to be a part of the Rising Stars competition will really help us to reach that investment goal.”

Azhar Haris, head of sales at Education Equation, commented: “We are absolutely thrilled to represent the North East, but more importantly, to have a powerful platform driving change and innovation within education.”

Mel O’Connor, CEO of Okkulo, commented: “We are proud to represent the North East of England – it’s another fantastic milestone in what has been an incredible journey for all involved with team Okkulo.”

Tim Ward, director at Opportuni, commented: “The North East has a thriving tech sector and to be recognised as a Rising Stars regional winner is a real honour and testament to the team behind the scenes bringing our solution to life.”