What it means to be part of the Northern Tech Hub | Venn Digital

Last week we were recognised by GP Bullhound and Tech North as one of the 100 fastest growing tech companies in the North. Below, Venn’s founder, Brian Whigham, gives his take on why this is an accolade particularly close to his heart and looks at the importance of the Northern tech industry.

Why Tech 100?

We’ve never been a traditional marketing agency and, as such, tech has been a core part of the business. We have been developing our in-house CMS over the last 6 years to give our clients more flexibility and an alternative option to the limitations of off-the-shelf solutions.

Our solution, Apteve, allows users from business owners, marketing managers and ecommerce managers to edit the content on their website from anywhere in the world. Our cloud-based software also has a developer’s toolbox built specifically for front-end designers with a knowledge of code. The advanced settings negate the need for a back-end developer and gift the front-end designer full flexibility over modules and functionality.

The platform currently powers over 100 websites globally across 24 countries and we are just getting started.

What does it mean to be recognised?

To be recognised as one of the fastest growing tech companies in the North when there is such great competition was a huge testament to what the team have created. To be part of such a buoyant and exciting community of tech innovators is hugely exciting.

The combined turnover of tech disruptors in the room alone when the league table was announced was over £2billion, and to be rubbing shoulders with the likes of UK Fast and The Hut Group was hugely inspiring.

Why is tech so important in the North?

While we can’t recreate Silicon Valley, we can all work together to become an attractive area for employees and employers. London will always remain the financial capital, but the North is proving to be a very attractive home for businesses looking to grow. We hope to thrive off the community and continue to attract talent over the years to come.

The tech industry isn’t slowing down and the latest Tech Nation report shows that the UK digital tech sector is one of the country’s economic success stories. It is growing twice as fast as the wider economy (22% in five years), and creating skilled workers as well as well-paid jobs.

Some of the other highlights from the report speak for themselves:

  • The digital economy is growing twice as fast as the wider economy with an estimated turnover of £170 billion
  • Tech investment in the UK in 2016 reached £6.8 billion (double that of any other European country)
  • This created 1.64 million digital tech jobs at an advertised salary of £50K + (44% higher than the national average)
  • £4.6 billion tech investment outside of London (50% higher than 2015)


What 3 pieces of advice would you give to anyone looking to start their own tech business?

  1. Nothing is perfect at the first attempt and user data helps to refine products, so get it live and get people using it.
  2. Don’t look at your competition for inspiration, look out of your space.
  3. Mix in the right circles. Admittedly I’m not a great networker, but it’s these types of events that inspire you to keep meeting new people and you never know who you might be shaking hands with next.

And finally, what does the future look like for Venn?

We have organically grown a business with a multi-million pound turnover and have ambitious growth plans to become a European leader as we launch Apteve as a standalone product this year.

The future is bright and we have an exciting year ahead of us as we pitch for funding to launch our tech platform globally.

Message Sarah Toms, our Head of Marketing, at sarah@venndigital.co.uk if you would like to find out more about how we can support your business and give you more control and flexibility for your online solution.

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