Tech firms flying the flag for North West in latest UK Upscale cohort

Two Manchester firms have been selected for the latest Tech Nation leading growth programme.

The UK network for ambitious tech entrepreneurs has revealed the 30 companies joining its prestigious Upscale programme for the UK’s most exciting and fastest growing scale-up tech companies, which is now in its fifth year.

Arctic Shores and Pimberly are among the 30, which are predominantly London-based.

Flying the flag for diversity, inclusion and equality, Arctic Shores makes the recruitment process more engaging, objective and fair.

Using data-driven psychometric tests that combine neuroscience, AI and game technology, they try to eliminate bias when it comes to hiring and promoting people and look past the CV, focusing on potential rather than just experience, background or seniority.

Changing the game in SaaS, Pimberly delivers an immersive, hyper-personalised, omni-channel product experience for millions of products.

Made for Product Information Management and Digital Asset Management, it’s used by manufacturers, distributors and retailers to market and sell products across multiple sales channels.

Safe Hammad, co-founder and CTO of Arctic Shores, said: “Arctic Shores is solving the problem of bias and poor candidate experience in recruitment and career development whilst helping companies find the best fit for their job roles.

“We’re proud of what we’ve achieved so far, but we don’t have all the answers.

“As we enter a period where we rapidly scale our business, we face challenges on several levels, such as increasing headcount and market share whilst trying to retain the values, diversity and passion that got us here.

“We’re excited to be part of the Upscale 5.0 programme which will support us in addressing these challenges in a holistic way, and not simply focus on a single aspect, such as international growth or sales.

“We also look forward to sharing stories with others on the programme who are at a similar stage to us now.”

Martin Balaam, founder and chief executive of Pimberly added: “The Pimberly team are very proud and excited to be included on the Tech Nation Upscale 5.0 and especially so to be flying the flag for Manchester and the North West.

“We have had an incredible journey from start-up, first round of institutional funding and blasting through our first $1m ARR (accounting rate of return).

“We have so many things to do and learn, it’s such a privilege to work with the UK’s smartest tech scale-ups.”

He said: “Huge thanks to our amazingly talented team at Pimberly, for our awesome customers and investors and for the Tech Nation team for selecting us.”

Now in its fifth year, the Upscale 5.0 cohort reflects the maturity of the tech landscape in the UK with considerable growth in key company statistics.

Most of the companies on the programme have already raised a Series A round, and the average raise has increased from £4.2m in 2017, to £7.2m in 2020.

Average revenues have also increased by 64% from £1.1m to £1.8m over three years, while the average number of employees when joining the cohort has grown by 48% from 31 to 46.

Some of the biggest success stories of UK tech, such as Monzo, Bulb, Improbable and Bloom & Wild, have been through the programme, and the 30 new companies represent the next generation of digital household names.

Mike Jackson, entrepreneur success director at Tech Nation said: “As we enter our fifth year, the Upscale programme has built an incredible network of alumni, including UK unicorns Monzo and Improbable.

“The network has a wealth of experience to share with the cohort, reflected in our judging panel and programme sessions.

“I’m excited to welcome this year’s companies onto the programme which helps to tackle key challenges founders face, wherever they are based in the UK.”