Venture capital investment into Leeds start-ups soars by 88%

Tech start-ups and scaleups in Leeds have raised £288m already in 2022, an increase of 88% on 2021’s figures (£153m), according to data from Dealroom analysed by the UK’s Digital Economy Council.

The data, released to coincide with Leeds Digital Festival, shows investment has increased five times the amount raised in 2020, when tech companies raised £42m.

While Leeds has acquired a reputation as home to an increasing number of tech companies in recent years – including Sky Betting & Gaming, Pharmacy2u, Communisis, GoIndustry DoveBird and Zest Eco – start-ups have also been growing rapidly.

Start-ups and scaleups that have seen the most growth in employee numbers are:

  1. Switchmobility – all-electric zero carbon buses and vans

  2. Event Genius – ticketing and event management platform

  3. XR Games – games development studio

  4. Taskbox – productivity software

  5. The Data City – open data and AI platform

There are now over 49,000 people working in tech start-ups and scaleups across Leeds, rising to around 82,000 across Yorkshire and the Humber, along with thousands of others working at larger corporate tech firms.

Yorkshire tech hiring has increased 49% since July last year, rising to 64% in Leeds.

Tech hiring accounted for a fifth of all available roles in Leeds in July, with over 2,500 jobs available compared to nearly 1,400 for accounting and finance and just over 1,300 for engineering.

The majority of the start-up funds raised during 2022 were invested in RAW Charging, a supplier of electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

RAW Charging, which was founded in 2018, raised £250m in growth funding to expand its rollout of charging points to meet growing consumer demand.

There is also a growing health tech cluster in the city, with over 60 health tech start-ups based here, attracted by NHS Digital, which has been located in the city since 2018.

Minister for Tech and Digital Economy, Damian Collins, said: “The sheer ingenuity and ambition behind Leeds’s tech sector is a force to behold. The city is a hotbed for start-ups and professionals driving new innovations to help us have healthier and more sustainable lives.

“These figures show people’s talent directly translates into new jobs and investment and I’m determined to ensure this growth and success in the city continues.”

Stuart Clarke, co-founder and director at Leeds Digital Festival, said: “We’ve been banging the drum for years that Leeds is an incredible place to set up and grow a tech business and it feels like all the hard work is paying off.

“We’ve built an amazing, supportive tech community in the city which is on hand to help new and established entrepreneurs as they scale their businesses and this is reflected in the brilliant number of start-ups, scaleups and corporates that call the city home.

“I’m looking forward to celebrating these achievements at Leeds Digital Festival and putting in place plans for how we can grow together in the future.”