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2019: A look back at great year for Leeds tech!

Tuesday 24th December 2019

We’re coming to the end of 2019 and reflecting on what has happened, it has been yet another fantastic year for tech in Leeds. From exciting start-ups to digital achievements and tech hubs paving the way for innovation, 2019 was just another reminder of what an exciting time it is to be part of the tech community in Leeds!

Some of the great things that took place this year include…

Start-up growth and recognition

Leeds has solidified its position as one of the best locations in Europe for start-up innovation and 2019 showed an abundance of promise for start-ups striving for growth in the city.

Success stories include…

Vet AI

Leeds based Vet- AI is leading the way for start-up growth in the city by bringing AI to the global pet market.

Using ground-breaking technologies, Vet-AI are developing innovative products and services that are reshaping the animal health industry. They are the first company in the world to use AI to support the good health of our pets. Their evolving team consists of leading experts in a range of different sectors, and their partners include some of the biggest in the pet care industry.  2019 was undoubtably a great year for Vet- AI.

Notable milestones include: 

- Being listed in the prestigious Start-ups 100 2019 index 
- Securing One Million pounds of investment 
- Winner of Start-up of the Year at this year’s Leeds Digital Festival Awards 
- Founder Paul Hallett being recognised as the winner of Insider’s Yorkshire 42 under 42 award. 
- Winner of Tech Nation’s Rising Stars Award 2019. 

This year, Vet-AI also launched their new product – Joii. Joii is an app which enables pet owners to speak to Vet-AI’s team of dedicated Vets and Vet Nurses via video, in order to diagnose health concerns and receive recommended treatment. It is now available for download for all conscientious pet parents looking for convenient, affordable, yet attentive care!

Tech Hubs Driving Innovation

2019 saw a number of tech hubs launch in the city, providing a base for innovative tech businesses to thrive! 


Following 2 years of construction, Leeds University’s Nexus finally opened its doors at the beginning of the year.  Nexus has brought together world-class ideas, concepts and technologies to deliver breakthrough solutions to real world problems.  Since opening, Nexus has provided the ideal foundation for some of the city’s most compelling tech businesses to build and grow a business, including Vet-AI, Ligentia and Scaled Insights. 

Avenue HQ

Avenue HQ is a co-working / office / event space that aims to make their space an inclusive, community driven environment that breeds innovation.  Avenue HQ are supported by Barclays Eagle Labs, who are helping drive innovation and transformation across industry sectors through collaboration with industry leading corporates, universities and start-ups.  Along with all of this, Avenue HQ is host to multiple events which are supporting and enriching the tech community in Leeds.

Leeds Digital Festival: bigger and better than ever!

This year saw the return of the Leeds Digital Festival and another milestone as we saw the event get even bigger and better than previous years.  2019 saw over 240 events talking place over two weeks. This was an increase of an astonishing 30% compared to 2018’s festival.

Around 25,000 people attended with a huge variety of tech events being held across Fintech, Medtech, Data Science, AI and AR.  In 2018, it was reported that we saw more events in Leeds than San Francisco.

Once again, 2019’s Leeds Digital Festival saw more events in its second week alone than San Francisco, Paris and New York.  Along with the festival, the Leeds Digital Festival Awards made a return for the second year in a row.

The LDF Awards (sponsored by Amsource Technology and Ward Hadaway) are a celebration of all things great about tech. The prestigious awards up for grabs and voted for by the Leeds community were: Start-up of the Year, Facilitator of the Year, One to Watch 2019, Tech 4 Good, Entrepreneur of the Year, Tech Employer of the Year, Growth Company of the Year

What's Next for 2020?

With 2019 recognising Leeds as a prime spot for start-ups to ground their roots, we predict that 2020 will see more and more start-ups follow suit and flock to the city, breeding the next generation of tech scale-ups and unicorns. 

The digital community in Leeds has tremendous support from Leeds City Council and organisations such as North Invest, The Founders Institute and Barclays Eagle Labs, to name just a few!

Planning is well underway for Leeds Digital Festival 2020, which will put Leeds on the map once again as we increase in size and impact, and continue the upwards trend!

We’d love to know what you’re looking forward to in Leeds Tech in 2020. Tweet us or leave your comments below…   
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