Tech City UK Programmes

Entrepreneurs and digital businesses require different types of help at different stages of their growth. We offer programmes aimed at driving growth across the lifecycle of a digital business.

As examples, the Tech City UK Cluster Alliance connects digital businesses across the UK, whilst the Future Fifty programme offers concierge style support to for businesses with high growth. In November 2014, we launched the Digital Business Academy which provides free expert digital business courses to anyone in the UK.

Early in 2015, we released the most comprehensive analysis of the clusters powering the digital economy: Tech Nation. The next month we launched HQ-UK: an initiative which demonstrates the benefits of basing your international HQ in the UK.

Soon after, Tech North was established, delivered through Tech City UK. The specific goal of Tech North is to accelerate the development of the North’s digital economy through the promotion and support of digital entrepreneurship.

Most recently we announce the launch of Upscale, to support founders of Stage A technology companies in the UK.

You can find out more about each of our programmes below.

Tech City UK Future Fifty

The Future Fifty programme helps to accelerate the growth of a selected group of exciting, growth-stage UK-based digital companies.

The Future Fifty assists growth-stage digital companies:

  • We facilitate access to Government and its support mechanisms
  • We foster an environment in which companies can continue their growth in the UK, building links to London’s institutional investor base and capital markets

We deliver this through a curated suite of private sector expertise, equipping the companies with the knowledge and skills that help them effectively navigate the next steps in their growth journey. So far on the programme we have delivered:

  • Over 240 distinct 1-1 actions: providing a wide range of support, from practical assistance through to advising management on funding options
  • Numerous strategic introductions to key stakeholders, both in the UK and overseas
  • An additional neutral perspective on key strategic decisions for many companies
  • Access to a network of private sector support from partners with expertise across a diverse range of business areas
  • Creation of a range of 12 partner supported events: from roundtables to one day educational programmes on accounting, legal, HR, marketing and capital markets, as well as facilitating participation in numerous other events
  • Profile raising of companies on multiple levels to various audiences: via press, online and directly to institutional investors

A dedicated team at Tech City UK delivers the Future Fifty programme. For more information and to apply for the programme visit the Future Fifty website. New data from the Future Fifty businesses has revealed some great statistics on the programme since launch:

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Learn More

Discover the current Future Fifty Companies:

Learn More

Partners of the Future Fifty Programme include:


Future Fifty Alumni:


Future Fifty Report

The member companies are the stars of the Future Fifty programme. To celebrate their success and to highlight what it takes to build a successful, international digital business from the UK, we have produced a report that shines a spotlight on the current member companies. The Future Fifty report features profiles of all the current Future Fifty companies and tells the stories of a how a number of them have mastered the key building blocks needed to go big from the UK including:

  • Internationalising from the UK
  • Finance across the lifecycle of a digital business
  • Acquiring and retaining the best talent
  • Navigating the regulatory and policy environment
  • Building a scalable business structure

Following a high level of exceptional applications and a competitive judging process, the companies selected represent the emerging digital businesses with the most potential for rapid scale and international growth.





Upscale in numbers:

  • 90% of companies incorporated in the last six years
  • Average fund raise thus far: $8M
  • Average revenue: $1.8M
  • Average number of employees: 30
  • Average growth of sales revenue was 53% month-on-month – over the last three months, where indicated as primary business metric


The first intake of businesses reflects the growing diversity of the UK’s digital specialisms. Upscale companies also demonstrate the range of sectors being disrupted by data-led innovation, where growth businesses are making sophisticated use of data analytics to help with everything from determining credit risk to choosing what to wear.



The full list of Upscale companies is:


For companies


As part of the programme, the 30 Upscale companies will work with Scale Coaches that have a proven track record of growing successful tech companies across the world.

Full list of Scale Coaches:

  • Niklas Zennström – Skype, Atomico
  • Brad Feld – Techstars, Foundry Group
  • Alex Chesterman – Zoopla
  • Saul Klein – LoveFilm, Seedcamp
  • Sarah Wood – Unruly
  • Greg Marsh – One Fine Stay
  • Simon Calver – LoveFilm, Moo
  • Jerry Colonna –
  • Alexandra Depledge –
  • Tracy Doree – Llustre, Spring Ventures
  • Doug Monro – Adzuna
  • Anthony Fletcher – Graze

Scale Coaches will share their experience to help Upscale entrepreneurs address the specific challenges encountered by fast-growth businesses.

Scale Coaches - Upscale Twitter Cards
Upscale builds on Tech City UK’s commitment to support UK digital businesses at every stage of their lifecycle and growth trajectory from the Digital Business Academy for very early stage entrepreneurs to Future Fifty for much later stage businesses, where revenues are more than £3M/year.


Digital Business Academy

Three new courses have been added to the Digital Business Academy as 18,500 people enrol in 10 months!

To date, more than 18,500 people from across the UK have enrolled in Tech City UK’s flagship skills programme. Digital Business Academy is the world’s first government-backed online platform to give the whole UK population free access to digital business skills and opportunities.





Building on the expert course content that has been already provided from UCL and Cambridge Judge Business School, the new courses will be provided by current content provider, Founder Centric and Bristol-based content marketing specialist, Valuable Content. The new courses combine best practice learning from the grassroots skills experts and include:


























  • How to Track Performance in Early Stage Startups (By Founder Centric) will provide participants with the practical knowhow to identify the numbers that matter to businesses and how to start tracking them. Course participants will hear how other successful startups, such as Songkick and Pact Coffee, have utilised in depth tracking methods to increase their commercial performance.
  • How to Manage Customers (By Founder Centric) will impart the required wisdom to manage all the various ways customers can interact with businesses. The content will cover some great tools entrepreneurs can make use of to fast-track customer service improvements, including Streak and Intercom.
  • How to Use Social Media for Business (By Valuable Content) offers practical content that will teach participants how successful businesses use social media to generate leads, drive sales, deliver exceptional customer service and build loyalty. There will be real life case studies from established startups that have implemented successful strategies such as Beer Bods and Wriggle.



Read the numbers for yourself:

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Don’t just dream it. Do it.

When you finish the courses you can apply for exclusive rewards and opportunities to get ahead in digital business. Whether you dream of being your own boss or want to get hired by a digital business, rewards come from our leading partners including Microsoft Ventures, O2 Think Big, Ogilvy Labs and Smarta. Rewards can include startup loans, free co-working space, paid internships and more. Here are the friends we’ve collaborated with to make Digital Business Academy happen

The courses:

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Hear from our users:











































































Tech Nation Visa
Tech North

Empowering Digital Entrepreneurs in the North of England


Why the North?

The digital technology sector employs around 1.46M people across the UK and is predicted to outperform all other occupation categories by 2020. 75% of the digital companies driving the growth of the digital economy exist outside of the capital.

Today, the Northern Powerhouse is establishing itself as a centre for global excellence in digital innovation. The UK’s only FTSE 100 Technology company, Sage, was founded and is headquartered in the North East. Two of the biggest tech IPOs of 2014 were Manchester-based and – founded companies – and Boohoo. It is home to the UK’s fastest supercomputer at Tech Daresbury in Cheshire and its universities are undertaking groundbreaking R&D in areas from health to data and cloud computing. From global excellence in health tech, media tech, data analytics, gaming and ecommerce, the North’s digital economy is driving real change and growth.


Why we exist

At the heart of our mission is the desire to create prosperity and opportunity for the next generation, ensuring the North is and continues to be part of the UK’s ongoing journey to becoming the world’s leading digital economy.


Who we are

Established in 2015, Tech North is a government-funded initiative delivered through Tech City UK. The specific goal of Tech North is to accelerate the development of the North’s digital economy through the promotion and support of digital entrepreneurship. Our remit is to attract talent, entrepreneurs and investment to the North of England specifically the seven cities of Hull, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield and Sunderland.


What we do

Working in collaboration and partnership with stakeholders across the North we aim to  address the challenges tech entrepreneurs face in accessing finance, support, mentorship and talent. We champion initiatives that support the development of the North’s digital economy working with local and central government to inform policies that help accelerate growth. Working with Tech City UK, we’ll give digital entrepreneurs in the region a national and international voice.


Visit Tech North

Whilst it’s very un-British to brag, we believe the UK is the number one international hub for your digital business. Choose a UK international HQ. Here’s why.


Tech City UK Cluster Alliance


We like to think of the UK as one big brain, with tech clusters across the country – like different parts of the brain—talking to each other and sparking innovation.

That is why we’ve created the Tech City UK Cluster Alliance, made up of representatives across the country supporting their local ecosystem. It’s aim is to accelerate the growth of digital businesses in cities around the UK, share best practices, drive opportunities and link up groups across the UK engaged in digital innovation.

There is a huge opportunity to make the most of our cities’ respective digital strengths. Every city is a tech city, with its own unique DNA. Cities need to build up their local tech skills and infrastructure, while forging deep links with other tech clusters across the country.

The current clusters in the Alliance are Edinburgh, Belfast, Manchester, Liverpool, Sheffield, Leeds, Hull, North East (Newcastle and Sunderland), Birmingham, Bristol & Bath, Oxford, Cardiff, Cambridge, Norwich, Brighton and Bournemouth.


If you would like to find out more about the Tech City UK Cluster Alliance feel free to contact us

Our Tech City UK Cluster Alliance partners:


Tech City UK Internet of Things Launchpad

 Winners of Internet of Things Launchpad Unveiled

Along with our partners, Innovate UK and Cambridge Wireless, we recently announced the seven winners of the Internet of Things Launchpad competition. The winners represent some of the most exciting early stage companies in the IoT space. Based in London and Cambridge, the companies will share grant funding of up to £1m.

During the selection process the panel looked for pioneering projects taking Internet of Things activity into innovative new areas. The winning projects are:


  • Digital Shadows LimitedA project to identify, enumerate and attempt to mitigate some of the IoT-related security risks facing businesses, cities and individuals


  • Product Health Limited – A new service for connected batteries, representing a step change in the way batteries are managed in the off-grid energy sector


  • ThinkInnovate Limited – An IoT defence scanner, consisting of a portable scanning device, a mobile app and a web app and designed to increase confidence in IoT



  • 1248 Limited – A project to encourage and improve cycle journeys in London and Cambridge, by discovering, processing and providing relevant sensor data


  • OpenTRV Limited – A venture to work out the optimum combination of sensors to use inside buildings and outdoors to detect environmental information, such as the presence of people and the weather


  • Superflux LimitedA compact air quality monitoring and GPS tracking sensor that can be easily fitted to child’s pushchair


In addition to the funding grant, the winners will benefit from access to expertise and business support from the programme’s private sector partners: EE, John Lewis, Unilever, Bosch, Seedcamp, Red Gate, Cisco, Hive by British Gas, RPD and Fab Lab London. These partners will offer the winning companies the opportunity to access a range of support, from investment, and access to markets and mentorship, to retail for showcasing products to consumers.


IoT describes automatic ‘smart’ communications between objects – rather than between computers and mobiles – through the internet without human intervention. Through embedded sensors and other devices, such objects allow a wide variety of industrial and domestic activities to become fully automated, while also maximising efficiency and sustainability.


Market projections suggest an IoT industry comprising of 26bn devices by 2020, rising to a trillion by 2025. It is predicted to become a $500bn global technology market by 2019, supporting an even more extensive market for products and services.


Winners will have up to six months to start their projects and up to 24 months to complete the work they’ve set out to do. Innovate UK’s Monitoring Officers will observe the process.

What is match funding?

Funding of up to 60% of eligible costs (refunded on a monthly basis) with individual grants of up to £150k and estimated project sizes ranging between £50k and £250k will be available. We will look at applications for projects larger than £250k, but the grant funding will be capped at £150k. Projects can last up to 12 months and should be led by micro, small or medium-sized companies that we anticipate are likely to be in the early stages of their development. This will all be monitored by the Technology Strategy Board’s Monitoring Officers.

What are the Timescales?

Winners will have up to 6 months to start their projects once they have been given a conditional offer letter and will have up to 24 months to complete the work they’ve set out to do. This will all be monitored by the Technology Strategy Board’s Monitoring Officers.

Why the internet of things?

The Internet of Things refers to that magical point where the physical and digital connect. It’s about using the latest digital technology to allow physical objects to “talk” to each other.

The whole purpose is to improve our lives, to allow us to do things that once seemed impossible. On a consumer level, this might mean electricity meters that talk to the grid to get you the best deals. Or health monitors to keep an eye on your heart rate. On a macro level, it could result in new flood warning systems that use sensors and the Internet to predict problems ahead of time. Water pipes that warn of a fall in pressure. Or a more efficient bus transport system.

Research analysts Gartner predict by 2020, nearly 26 billion physical devices will be transmitting data to each other via the Internet. For innovators and tech engineers, the opportunity is staggering.

It’s a transformative development, and we want Britain to be a major player in this space. If you’d like more information on the IOT Launchpad competition you can find our press release here.

Tech City UK Pulse

We believe the UK can be the best place to build a digital business. But only if we are agile and responsive to the needs of entrepreneurs.

One of the ways we shape our goals and inform Government is via the Tech City UK Pulse, designed to collate feedback from the digital business community. Regular feedback from the community is key to shape our priorities and to inform Government on an ongoing basis.

Here are some of the results from our latest Tech City UK Pulse survey:

Tech City UK Pulse stats