Star of the WeekFast growthInterviews

Throughout 2022 the Star of the Week accolade has been awarded to the person or persons who most impressed TechBlast during the previous seven days.

The key criteria that the judges were looking for included growth, overcoming adversity and authenticity.

The full list includes founders, serial entrepreneurs and industry leaders, and covers all tech sectors.

The first TechBlast Star of the Week was Sarah Pawson, founder of Fruition IT in Leeds. The list is in chronological order, starting with the most recent award first.

  • The profiles are accurate at the time of publication. Click on the names to read more about our Stars of 2022, plus selected company profiles

Avin Rabheru MBE founded Housekeep in 2014 with £5,000 and one cleaner and has only taken £1m of investment to date, back in 2015. Today the business employs 60 people across development, UX, product, marketing and customer service teams, while 2,000 cleaners and tradespeople use the platform to find work.

Australian Keith Errey came to the UK in the 1980s to study at Oxford University and has gone on to become a serial entrepreneur. Today he’s the CEO of Isansys, which uses wireless sensors to monitor patients as if they’re in an intensive care unit.

Andy Peddar, 36, founded Deazy in 2018 with technical director Gus Chadney when his first venture, a hairdresser marketplace, fell flat. Based in Bristol, the developer marketplace platform connects enterprises, scaleups and some of Europe’s biggest agencies with high-quality development teams.

Jordan Brompton won the Great British Entrepreneur of the Year for Grimsby green technology scaleup myenergi, which started with just two employees in 2016 and quickly scaled to more than 400 team members.

London EdTech GoodCourse, co-founded by Chris Mansfield and Omar Mughal, launched earlier this year and is already bringing in hundreds of thousands of pounds of annual recurring revenue. It has plans to grow in the US.

Former nurse Emma-Louise Fusari set up In-House Health, which takes a data-first approach to tackling work-related stress and avoiding burnout. She looks at things like stress levels, alcohol dependency, muscular problems, risk of a heart attack then produces anonymised reports for companies and a plan to improve health where needed.

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When Kate Daly went through an expensive and protracted divorce, she and friend Pip Wilson decided to launch an app called ‘amicable’ to help divorcing and separating couples. They have helped 8,000 people going through divorce and separation.

Adam Root is the CEO and founder of sustainability company Matter. Founded in 2018, the company now has 19 employees and operates out of a warehouse in Bristol with an open-plan office and R&D facility.

Andrew Butt has always been a high-flier: he left school at 15 to focus on his tech business and was flying helicopters at 16. The serial entrepreneur co-founded Enable, which helps manufacturers, distributors and retailers take control of their rebate programmes and turn them into an engine for growth. Initially based in Stratford-upon-Avon, it has raised $156m funding in the last two years, moved its HQ to San Francisco and almost doubled staff numbers this year to 400 – the majority of them in the UK.

Fast-growing EdTech Zen Educate connects schools with temporary and full-time teachers and plans to double its workforce to 200. The co-founder and CEO is Slava Kremerman. Zen Educate secured a £19.3m Series A extension round to continue to grow its platform across the UK.

Mancunian Sam Burgess left home aged 16 to join the Army before reinventing himself as a tech entrepreneur with SamsonVT, which he believes could be a future unicorn. SamsonVT is a digital after sales and workflow instructions platform for manufacturers.

Philip Belamant is the CEO of Buy Now Pay Later company Zilch. The London business has amassed a customer base of nearly 6 per cent of the UK adult population in under two years – twice as fast as any other FinTech.

Mike Rhodes bootstrapped ConsultMyApp with his £10k savings into a company serving world leading brands including O2, Deliveroo,, Tide, Virgin, Trainline and Pure Gym.

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Oliver Muller, who spent his childhood in war-torn Lebanon – a bomb even hit the hospital on the day he was born – is a former Dubai-based derivatives trader and property fund manager who founded London-based PropertyCard. The property super-app is styled as a real-life version of Monopoly.

Serial founder Nicola Hartland has scaled and sold several businesses from Aberdeen to Basingstoke. When Falanx Cyber – part of publicly listed Reading-headquartered Falanx Group – sought someone to grow the business, Hartland was the perfect fit.

Dayo Akinrinade is the CEO of the social audio app Wisdom, which offers advice on building an investor network. It has  raised $2m seed funding after launching in the UK, US, Australia and Canada in October 2021.

Leeds entrepreneur Manpreet Singh launched Bobble Digital in 2017 after being diagnosed with a kidney condition called Berger’s disease and guided the business to 300 per cent growth in turnover from 2020 to 2021.

Leeds-based MarTech Bidnamic opened its first international base in Austin, Texas, as it looks to crack the US market. Adam Ellmore is the head of sales for Bidnamic in the US and UK.

Manchester-based tech-for-good firm Culture Shift hit £1m Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR) for the first time in 2022. Gemma McCall is the CEO of the startup, whose online reporting platform is now used by more than 90 organisations.

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Leeds startup HyperFinity is on a mission to become a global powerhouse in the world of decision intelligence. Since starting trading in 2019, HyperFinity has grown turnover to a ‘significant seven figure sum’ and its workforce to 26 with zero investment. Peter Denby is the co-founder and chief commercial officer.

Tobias Nolan is the CEO of award-winning Candle, which wants to support people struggling with their mental health. He and Tom Summerscales co-founded the Manchester-based on-demand mental wellbeing support platform in 2020.

Jaded financier Ahrum Pak went from advising on IPOs to fixing our ‘broken food system’ when she co-founded WNWN Food Labs. Born in Hawaii to Korean parents, she spent most of her childhood in California before building a successful career in investment banking.

Belinda Parmar OBE is the CEO of The Empathy Business and says creating an inclusive workforce is crucial to corporate success.

Julian David is the CEO of techUK as well as being a member of the UK Government’s Cyber Growth Partnership. David, who reinvented the trade association a few years ago, is now focused on boosting the regions.

Daniel Klier is HSBC’s former global head of sustainability and is now CEO of ESG Book, which raised £29m in Series B funding.

Entrepreneur Dez Derry self-funded his digital marketing agency mmadigital, now rebranded as Blume, a decade ago and is and is on track to hit £30m turnover by the end of 2023.

Will Hawkins hadn’t been expecting to set up a business when he organised a university reunion at the home of his beloved football club Southampton. He’s now the CEO of Manchester-based startup Circl, which is changing the world of sports entertainment.

A muscle disorder made school challenging for Josh Hough but he’s gone on to become a successful entrepreneur and is currently making waves with CareLineLive.  It has now grown to more than 275 customers managing more than 8,000 carers in seven countries around the world, with 20 staff.

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Verity Batchelder was 50 when she launched technology business Good Life Sorted, which connects older adults and their families with vetted and trained helpers.

Simon Mellin was inspired to launch The Modern Milkman after watching David Attenborough’s Blue Planet. The sustainable grocery delivery service has raised £50m in funding.

Ben Dorks was appointed CEO of UK-based global software business Ideagen in 2018 and quickly established himself as integral to its operation. It was acquired for £1.1 billion in June.

Leeds-based startup Vet-AI has been described as the ‘Babylon Health for pets’. Its AI app Joii provides customers with access to vets 24/7, 365 days of the year. Paul Hallett is the co-founder of Vet-AI, which has raised £12.6m since 2019.

Deyan Dimitrov is the CEO of Laundryheap, which has become the world’s biggest provider of on-demand laundry and dry-cleaning services.

When Paul Landau’s wife Lucy was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 2015 – days before she would give birth to their second child – it changed their lives. While supporting his wife through her treatment it inspired him to launch Careology, a data-driven platform supporting the care of people with cancer.

A trip to the airport when he was nine ignited Raam Shankar’s passion for engineering. Today he’s the leader of Equitus Design Engineering and Innovations.

Leeds startup Little Journey was co-founded by anaesthetist Dr Chris Evans and product designer Sophie Copley to change the way children view going to hospital. Little Journey has been shown to reduce anxiety by 32% in high-risk patients.

Leeds-based XR Games was founded in 2017 by Bobby Thandi and has made a string of hit titles, including Zombieland VR and Angry Birds: Under Pressure VR. The company secured £5.9m in investment earlier this year.

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Kadence is a hybrid working software company which coordinates people, places, and projects to help employees be in the right place at the right time with the right people. Dan Bladen is the CEO and co-founder of Kadence, which announced a $10m (£8m) seed funding round.

Qualified lawyer Tom Dunlop launched Summize in 2018 after working at a number of leading North West tech firms including Zuto and Appsense. The software combines human expertise and AI-powered technology to produce contract summaries. In October the company raised a £5m investment from YFM Equity Partners and Maven Capital.

Serial entrepreneur Gavin Wheeldon found TV fame on Dragons’ Den and The Secret Millionaire and has now clocked up 10 years at the helm of data analytics firm Purple WiFi. The Manchester company has 200 million end users and it’s estimated around 70% of the UK adult population use their WiFi.

Richard Kirk is the CEO and founder of PolyPhotonix – a Sedgefield-based business behind a sight-saving mask for diabetics. The technology delivers a precise type of light into the eyes to reduce and reverse the effects of diabetic retinopathy.

Martin Smith is the CEO of Warrington-based Dynamis Associates, which operates at the forefront of the UK’s renewable energy market and has raised £3.5m in investment.

Graham Donoghue is the CEO of Chester-based Sykes Holiday Cottages, which is tipped to become the next North West unicorn. When Donoghue joined as CEO in 2016 the company had 5,500 properties but is set to grow to 35,000 by the 2023.

Entrepreneur George Biddle’s business The Grad Soc fixes the skills gap problem and gives students real experience. The startup connects students and companies through internships.

Joe Darwen describes Veo as what would happen if Greta Thunberg went into business with Jeff Bezos. The Blackpool-born founder wants the Manchester startup to be the world’s most ethical online retail destination to help shoppers make more sustainable decisions.

Anish Kapoor has been at the helm of Manchester-based AccessPay for more than 10 years and its technology is now used in more than 200 million transactions a year. Kapoor says getting a coach transformed the fortunes of himself and his business.

Marc Schmid founded Chorley-based Redmoor Health in 2017, which he now runs with his wife Alison. In October the company received a ‘significant investment’ from Palatine Private Equity.

Stephen Upstone is CEO at LoopMe, which has applied artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies into the mobile advertising sector to optimise media campaign delivery in real-time. The business has been valued at £150m.

Green FinTech entrepreneurs Peter Kirby and Will Smith are the co-founders of the startup Tred, which uses technology to track a user’s carbon footprint with the aim of tackling climate change.

Sarah Pawson was named as the first winner of the TechBlast Star of the Week. Pawson launched her first business – Fruition IT – during the 2008 global financial crisis and her second – Fruition Consulting – in 2020 during the global pandemic. This year the two Leeds-based businesses will have an estimated combined turnover of £27m with zero investment.