Top Tech: Yorkshire class of 2019 go for growth while adapting to Covid-19 challenges

The winners of Mills & Reeve’s Top Tech: Yorkshire 2019 have continued to grow after welcoming new clients and staff while adapting to the ‘new norm’ amid the coronavirus pandemic.

And with this year’s event now open for entries, the class of 2019 have shared their successes and challenges of 2020 and how the Top Tech: Yorkshire shine a light on their achievements.

Top Tech: Yorkshire, in partnership with, is open to companies which have developed world-leading technology, are disrupting markets and whose technology and services are helping others become leaders in their fields.

It has been a busy year for York-based Netsells which combines cutting-edge technologies with business insight to develop digital platforms and products for both web and mobile.

Netsells CEO Brannan Coady said: “We have continued to grow our team and win substantial new contracts to develop technology solutions for household names including FTSE 250 insurer Hiscox and baking giants Warburtons. This trajectory shows no signs of slowing down as we move into Q4.

“Alongside ensuring the business thrives, we are also acutely aware of the need to support our staff during the pandemic. To support our growing headcount, we quickly put in place solid remote onboarding plans to ensure new staff are solidly integrated into their teams and roles.

“We also introduced mental health check-ins to ensure that all staff have regular one-to-one meetings with a mental health first aider, alongside providing paid-for support from external providers.”

Anna Sutton

To help combat the pandemic Netsells has partnered with Oxford Brookes start-up, HandHeld Health, to launch a free mobile application to help COVID-19 patients recover and get back to full fitness. The app is backed by Innovate UK as part of a £40m government investment to fast-track new technology in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Brannan added: “It was an honour to be included in the Top Tech 2019 Report and have the hard work and successes of our team recognised in such a public manner. We’re extremely proud to be part of an ever-growing cohort of technology businesses that are putting Yorkshire firmly on the map as a centre of innovation and disruption.”

The last year has been a period of growth for The Data Shed, featuring a client wins and extensions, and seven new recruits. A particularly notable contract extension was Gamstop, the national scheme that allows people to exclude themselves from online gambling sites.

As a business built on data analysis, The Data Shed had been scrutinising data coming from countries hit by Coronavirus before its arrival in the UK. Based on the evidence available, remote working was implemented ten days before UK lockdown.

A buddy scheme was set up, access to mental health hotlines was provided, and Spill gave mental health and wellbeing advice in a presentation to all staff. The Data Shed has several fully trained mental health first-aiders.

Learning and development remained important: “There’s a danger that personal and professional development can fly under the radar at times like this, and I don’t want that to happen,” says CEO and co-founder Anna Sutton. “We’ve supported our team to undertake a range of L&D courses and exams, which benefits both the individuals and the business.”

The crisis has also prompted TDS to adapt its management style. Many decision-making processes have been decentralised and there is now less reliance on one group of people. Anna says: “The business has seen many positive outcomes from its response: staff have gained new skills and taken on greater responsibilities, and the business has thrived with new clients and seven team members coming on board.”

She added: “Being included in the Mills & Reeve Top Tech Yorkshire Report was really exciting for us. We chose to start our business in Leeds because of the vast amount of talent available, combined with a really unique ethos of collaboration in the city, so to be recognised as one of the companies contributing to Leeds’ technical excellence is quite an honour.”

Elsewhere, fast-growing SaaS company, Sonocent, continues to make waves in the EdTech industry. It has launched a new web and mobile app, Glean, to hundreds of colleges and thousands of students in the UK and US.  Sonocent has also recruited 23 new team members this year to bolster its growing presence in Yorkshire and beyond, and secured a significant Innovate UK grant to experiment further with using note taking technology to improve learning in the classroom.

Top Tech: Yorkshire entrants will be judged on technological innovation, leadership, growth and financial performance, client service and delivery and employee engagement.

Entries will close on 6 November 2020. The companies who made it into the Top Tech: Yorkshire will be revealed on 9 December 2020. The report will be published on and available for download.

To submit your entry Click Here

For further information visit Top Tech: Yorkshire