Earlier today Tech Nation released their annual Top 100 League Table, covering the North’s top 100 fastest growing technology companies.

The table and accompanying magazine provides a fantastic insight into the Northern tech market, and paints a picture of the North as an extremely healthy place to start and build a business (being based in Halifax, we couldn’t agree more).

And while the list itself is interesting and a great testament to the economic prosperity of the North, the real gems are hidden underneath.

Taking each entry, and grouping it by sector, we can get a high-level view of the Northern tech market.

Position Sector Number of Companies Avg Growth Rate (%)
1 Hardware 3 86.3%
2 Ecommerce & Marketplace 12 66.1%
3 Ecommerce 1 64.0%
4 Data Analytics 5 54.2%
5 Betting & Gaming 3 53.3%
6 Enterprise Software 25 38.8%
7 Digital Agency 12 36.8%
8 Fintech 6 36.7%
9 IT Services 30 36.0%
10 Edtech 3 20.7%

Granted, it’s a very small sample size since there are 223,360 tech companies in the UK. But marketers can infer some general trends and market attributes to strengthen their research.

1. It’s a good time to be a hardware company

The sector has only a few players but the best average growth rate. Despite government-backed programmes – such as the High Energy Density Battery project used by Hyperdrive Innovation – the capital-intensive sector, plus a general challenge finding talent, provides decent barriers to entry for new entrants.

Now would be a pretty good time to get into hardware, if you can.

2. IT Services is a crowded market

The large number of entrants in the IT services sector is surely weighing on the sector’s growth rate. Still, IT services is a big market. Statista, the statistics portal, estimates the market value to be somewhere around 59 billion euros (£51.7 billion) in 2017.

So while the growth rate is low, the market size is huge and a potential cash cow for businesses. Being the largest sector in the league table, there’s probably also better access to talent than some of the other sectors.

It’s an attractive segment. If you can compete.

3. The EdTech market is under-developed

At the lowest growth rate, and with the fewest sector entrants, the Northern EdTech market clearly looks to be in its infancy. Companies face an uphill battle to grow the market, and the fact that the UK as a whole is the number one place for Edtech investment in Europe isn’t driving high growth in the North yet.

It’s grim growing up North

Whichever market you decide to target, the Northern region is exploding with growing tech companies that contribute billions to the UK economy (and create thousands of jobs).

This year’s Leeds Digital Festival had 169 events across two weeks – in the second week there were more tech events in Leeds than in Silicon Valley. And we’ve seen Unicorn companies such as Sky Betting & Gaming and Callcredit acquired for £2.5bn and £1bn, respectively.

We think that makes it a pretty exciting place to work.

Header photo by Michael D Beckwith on Unsplash