Who are the innovative tech startups making Leeds city region thrive?
By Bruntwood SciTech
In 2019 Leeds was named as the ‘best place to do business’ in the UK, ticking all of the boxes when it comes to start-up costs, access to a large talent pool and rent prices. Add to that the fact that Leeds is one of the fastest growing UK cities, plus responsible for a digital sector which contributes £6.6bn to the economy — it’s no wonder so many tech startups are flocking to the city.
The last 5 years have seen over £75million invested in Emerging Tech in Leeds, which is testament to the spirit of innovation and new ideas being fostered in the city.
For many of the startups located in the city, and especially those in the city’s ‘home for tech’ at Platform, this most probably confirms what they already knew — that Leeds truly is a thriving city and a great place to start a business.
So what kind of businesses are helping make this city ‘the best place to do business’? From techies to digital innovators Leeds has it all. In this series we’ll be catching up with four of the companies located at Platform to hear about the work they’re doing and why they love the city.
Here are the first two of our techies who make Leeds the thriving city it is today. First up is Jublo who have been offering pioneering digital services since 2008, and second is FluidIT whose IT consultancy was born out of wanting to ease the frustrations of small charities and ensure the best spend of their budget.
We caught up with Laura Kenny, Head of Marketing at Jublo...
Who is Jublo?
Jublo is a certified digital consultancy and language translations agency. Our highly-qualified native speaking linguists provide language translations - from editing to subtitling, MTPE, transcreation and localisation. The team of digital experts at Jublo can also help businesses by taking many of the ‘headaches’ involved in running a digital service, whether this is acting as interim CTOs, providing consultancy, web and app development as well as offering digital and brand marketing.
What was the inspiration behind setting up Jublo?
Jublo was created in 2008 when our founder Joshua Atkins was just 14 at the time. Joshua set up the business to support and develop open source software with a friend – he saw this as more of a hobby outside of school than anything else! The business continued to grow organically in the background as Joshua worked in other roles in the tech industry. It wasn’t until 2019 that he made the decision to scale up the business and work for Jublo full-time. Jublo is different because we offer work in two different markets, however there is actually potential for a lot of crossover in what we do. We’re able to not only construct a client’s website and offer consultancy, but we can also translate this website in 7 different languages.
Why do you love being located in Leeds?
We love being based in Leeds - and we’re right at the heart of the city centre at Platform! Even in lockdown it’s been brilliant to feel the vibrancy of the city and having everything right on your doorstep! Since locating in Platform Tech Hub we’ve received brilliant support from Deb Hetherington, the Head of Innovation here, who made us feel immediately welcome and has connected us to lots of helpful contacts. It was actually through Deb that we were involved with this year’s virtual Leeds Digital Festival which was great to be a part of. Deb also set up a partnership between Jublo and Leeds Beckett University and we now have a number of masters students working on a research project for us!
We’re also working with the city’s LEP who are great at supporting businesses like ours. Our plan for the next 12 months is to get even more involved with the digital community in Leeds, which will definitely be easier when life is a bit more ‘normal’.
Next we caught up with Gareth Murphy, Director at FluidIT Consulting...
Who is FluidIT Consulting?
FluidIT Consulting is a management consultancy. We help businesses grow using the power of technology to deliver meaningful change, improved performance and digital transformation. Fluid IT works with companies who have ambitious growth plans and see the value that technology can bring to their businesses.
What was the inspiration behind setting up FluidIT?
We wanted to do things differently to traditional consultancies, which we felt tended to be a bit more wedded to the idea that disruptive big bang strategic systems implementations were the answer to most problems, and were often incentivised in a way that emphasised short term profits ahead of long term partnerships. We don’t have an agenda when we start talking with clients. Every piece of work we do is bespoke to meet the needs and the best interests of the business. We often describe ourselves as ‘solution agnostic’, we’re completely independent and will only recommend the tools or solutions that are right for each client’s unique circumstances.
Why do you love being located in Leeds?
Being located in Leeds and at Platform is a brilliant environment. There’s a great community here and we can’t wait to get back in. Through lockdown the marketing and business development coaching from Deb Hetherington has been fantastic. The flexibility of desk usage was a plus too when the crisis hit.
Discover the home of tech in Leeds at Platform
Home to a cluster of over 80 of the region's most innovative and disruptive digital and tech start ups and scale ups, Platform offers access to the flexible workspace, specialist community and support your business needs to form, scale or grow. Located right next door to Leeds train station, Platform provides a secure location, meeting rooms, lounge, roof terrace and high speed connectivity, as well as being part of the wider Bruntwood SciTech network across Manchester, Cheshire, Birmingham and Liverpool. Visit the Platform website page here.