When we talk about the UK’s thriving startup scene, we all think instinctively of London. But there’s definitely more glory elsewhere. Have you looked at Manchester for instance? It might not be the second city — that’s Birmingham — but it’s undeniably second in line in the startup stakes. A large base of talent stemming from the city’s strong student population and cheaper prices than London have led many startups to set up base in the city.
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With players like Beauty Bay, THG and Boohoo leading the way, the city has a number of big names already. But that’s not all: there’s some more unicorns on their way. That’s why this time we’re hopping on a train to the UK’s second biggest tech capital and stopping by some of the fastest growing startups the city has to offer. Stay tuned for the top Manchester startups.
Chewable vitamin gummies? We’ll take one! Yumi Nutrition is making vitamins trendy and appealing, so there’s no excuse to avoid your vitamins anymore. Sebastien Vanderlinden (winner of the Young Entrepreneur Award in 2020) founded Yumi in 2017 in his one bedroom apartment. Three years later, the company is projecting a seven figure turnover, while their vitamins and supplements can be found on their website and offline retailers like TK Maxx and Holland and Barrett across the UK.
The Modern Milkman
Inspired by David Attenborough’s Blue Planet and the need to reduce plastic waste, in 2018 Simon Mellin and a bunch of friends set out on a mission. With their headquarters in Manchester, this startup has developed a one-stop milk shop that allows customers to order milk online straight to their doorstep. Connecting them directly to the suppliers and driver apps, The Modern Milkman is a sustainable and convenient way to buy milk. And it’s not just milk these days: fresh fruits and vegetables, eggs, cereals and household goods are all available and sourced from sustainable suppliers, plastic-free.
Smartphone, check. Smartwatch, check. Smart clothes? Check Prevayl. Founded by personal trainer Adam Crofts (CEO), alongside serial entrepreneur David Newns, this startup is revolutionising workout gear as we know it. From shorts to sports bras, each item is equipped with their patented chip that syncs with your smartphone and tracks workouts in real-time. When you wear Prevayl’s clothing, their app monitors your biometrics during your workout and recovery, before offering personalised training tips and advice. And even though they’ve just launched — the first products went on the market this month in the UK — the future’s already looking bright for this Manchester startup. To assist in their growth strategy, Prevayl raised € 8.7 million in funding this year.
Moving to a new city is hard, but finding a place to stay is harder. Housemates ensures your uni life gets on the right track by providing easy, reliable student accommodation. Founded in 2020 by Lydia Jones, Housemates currently operates across the UK’s biggest cities. Their digital platform puts the needs of students first and makes everything transparent, so that looking for a new home is as easy as booking a holiday. With a recent funding round to propel their growth plans, we can’t wait to see what comes next in this house.
Micheal Brennan founded Tootoot with a simple mission: to give children a voice. Tootoot makes it easier for students to speak openly about mental health concerns at school or report bullying to their teachers. Their easy-to-use app connects pupils with their teachers in a safe environment and allows for transparent communication. And since 2015 over 15,000 teachers in the UK have trusted their app to ensure the wellbeing of their students. That’s why Tootoot is undeniably one of the best startups in Manchester — but also one of its most important.
“Charities make the world a better place. We’re here to help them,” claims GoodBox, one of the top startups in Manchester. Founded in 2016, GoodBox aims to make donations and fundraising easy and transparent, both for donors as well as NGOs. And to help tackle one of the biggest challenges of the charity sector — receiving cashless donations — they’ve pioneered two contactless payment machines, the GBx mini and GBxCore. And you can expect more innovation in the future too, with GoodBox raising £9 million in funding in 2021.