It’s actually not (still) grim up North

Newcastle Quayside

Its been all over my twitters recently but I thought it was worth blogging for those who do not follow me on twitter for what ever reason.

Manoj Ranaweera from Northern Startup 2.0 in Manchester did a event (tech mission in London using Northern startups, Milo Yiannopoulos writes a article for the Telegraph about the event and how he felt Northern startups “were clearly being crippled by a lack of good advice and useful connections.” Then a massive amount of comments but the best comment is from Herb Kim who wrote what might as well be a blog post.

One other thing you should know about Nick is that his start-up,, is actually primarily funded by North East money between NorthStar Equity Investors ( and other North East angels. So, he’s probably “Geordie and proud” for more reasons than merely where he happened to have been born. NorthStar alone have invested £33m in more than 200 North East tech companies in just the past few years.

And continuing the Geordie theme, this is what the Economist wrote in an article entitled “Geordie Tech”..

‘Nor does Newcastle, known more for shipbuilding than for software, sound like the natural home for a high-tech company. Actually, it is. According to Rebecca Harding of the London Business School, of those firms that have started life in the north-east in the past three years, 20% are using or selling technology which was not available a year ago. In Britain as a whole, the figure is 11%. Only London has a higher rate of tech start-ups than the north-east.”

And from the Guardian..

“Just take a walk around the streets of South Shields, Gateshead or Wallsend and you won’t be far from some shiny new IT company. The once-notorious Pink Lane – Newcastle’s former red light district – is currently home to a suite of software developers, while the old casino now plays host to Mere Mortals, a chart-topping game development firm.

And it’s not just Newcastle where the chips are up. Any tour around the region’s hi-tech hotspots should include Sunderland, Middlesbrough and the digital delights of downtown Darlington. Away from the cities, even small Northumbrian towns are proving capable of growing innovative IT companies. Venture to windy Rothbury and you will find a company pioneering technology that simulates touch, while down the coast, the sleepy former coal port of Amble supports one of the UK’s leading companies in the emerging field of locative media.

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Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser. Can be found at, and