Ultimate SaaS Startup Map of Greater Manchester

Software-as-a-service (SaaS) is one of the biggest sectors of Greater Manchester’s thriving startup scene. With more and more startups and investors making the North West their home, the region is often championed as a challenger to the London SaaS scene. To help you navigate Greater Manchester’s SaaS ecosystem, we’ve created a handy map including our pick of top SaaS startups, accelerators, incubators, VC’s, training programmes, coworking spaces and places to meet for a chat about growth.

 

Why Greater Manchester?

Manchester and the wider region has always been a hub of innovation. Compared to London, cheaper commercial rents for offices and heavy investment in digital infrastructure are big draws for SaaS startup founders. Although the city wasn’t ranked in the Global Startup Ecosystem Report 2019, its startup scene has transformed over the last five years. TechNation’s 2019 Startup Report attributes £4.98bn Digital tech turnover and 88,000 jobs to the North West of England, most of which comes from Manchester. As a result, the SaaS scene in Manchester has been touted as a competitor to London in the same way Toronto and Atlanta provide strong alternatives to Silicon Valley in the US.

 

With a tighter-knit SaaS scene than in the capital, getting to the heart of the action can have a huge impact on a startup’s growth. Our comprehensive overview of the Greater Manchester’s ecosystem is designed to help you identify the best opportunities and make valuable connections.

 

The SaaS scene in Greater Manchester is constantly changing, so if you’ve got a top recommendation for our map, please get in touch! Here’s what our Ultimate SaaS Startup Map of Greater Manchester has to offer:

 

 90+ growing businesses every SaaS startup founder in Greater Manchester should know about 

  Top Accelerators & Incubators for SaaS startups 

  Top VCs for investment 

  Training opportunities for founders 

  Our 14 favourite coworking spaces 

  Places to meet → 

90+ growing businesses every Greater Manchester SaaS startup founder should know about

 

The majority of SaaS startups in Greater Manchester at the Seed level of growth. However, big hitters such as Matillon, Sorted and AppLearn have raised £30m-£45m. Central Manchester is where you will find most SaaS startups, but the scene is constantly growing.

 

Highest density areas of SaaS startups

  1. Manchester
  2. Trafford
  3. Salford
  4. Stockport
  5. Bolton

 

We have selected over 90 growing SaaS businesses of varying sizes that we believe have huge potential.

Top Accelerators & Incubators for SaaS startups

 

New SaaS startups can hugely benefit from the support, business mentoring, workshops, office space, IT, and facilities that accelerators and incubators can offer. Although equity and investment models differ between organisations, Greater Manchester has healthy network of accelerators and incubators in recent years.

 

With an established group of organisations providing specialist support, there are opportunities for startups at each stage of their evolution:

 

Accelerate Me

The biggest student startup accelerator in the UK, helping young founders of Manchester become entrepreneurs.

 

Ignite

Boasting a portfolio of startups which have raised tens of millions in investment.

 

Open Future_North

Offering access state-of-the-art co-working space, successful founders also receive training in entrepreneurship and business skills.

 

UP

Supporting a range of entrepreneurs to create high growth, high value businesses.

 

Top VCs for investment

Manchester is not only attractive to VCs because of generous tax reliefs, but the city is celebrated across the UK for its culture of innovation and the pool of talent gained from the region’s top universities. Although the majority of Greater Manchester’s investment comes from organisations based in London, there are a number of local VCs investing in SaaS startups.

 

Top 5 funders by number of fundraisings

  1. Greater Manchester Investment Fund 
  2. NPIF Equity Finance 
  3. Praetura Ventures 
  4. Envestors
  5. GP Bullhound Asset Management

 

Top 5 funders by total value of fundraisings

  1. Sapphire Ventures – £41.8m
  2. Scale Venture Partners – £41.8m
  3. NVM Private Equity – £38.7m
  4. Battery Ventures – £27.6m
  5. Praetura Ventures – £23.7m

 

With such a diversity of SaaS startups based in the city, there is also a range of VCs offering funding and support to business’ at different stages of evolution:

 

GC Angel Network

Supporting over 400 registered associate angels alongside early-stage investment partners.

 

Praetura Ventures

Raising capital and investing in the early stages of business life cycles across a range of industries.

 

North West Fund for Digital & Creative

Providing a flexible equity package for growth oriented businesses operating within the Digital & Creative sector.

 

Mercia

Providing venture capital to businesses focused on innovative technologies.

 

 

Training opportunities for founders

Every SaaS startup is different, but with the right skills, small teams can make a big impact. Typically, the perfect recipe for a SaaS startup is expertise across engineering/technology and product/UX.

 

Constantly expanding technical and product design skills can therefore keep a business ahead of the curve, making it far more attractive to investors. Learning directly from experts in engineering/technology and product/UX often is the fastest way to master skills that can directly impact a startup’s growth.

 

Barclays Eagle Lab

Offering co-working, private offices, event space to rapid prototyping ideas.

 

Madlab

Not-for-profit, grassroots digital innovation organisation.

 

Tech Returners

Offering real skills development and practical training to diversify the tech sector.

 

Northcoders

A coding bootcamp offering career support and an extensive hiring network for new talent.

 

Code Nation

Leading coding bootcamp for graduates.

 

The Juice Academy

Digital Marketing Apprenticeship programme dedicated to finding and nurturing talent.

 

Tech Manchester

Offering networking events, business funding and a mentoring scheme.

 

GC Business Growth Hub

Fully-funded business support, masterclasses, workshops and events.

 

Barclays Ealge lab Salford

Providing a co-working space, expert mentoring networks, funding partners, event spaces and equipment.

 

Launch @SalfordUni

Business incubation centre on the university’s campus.

 

Our 14 favourite coworking spaces

Flexible and low-cost office spaces can offer a lifeline to SaaS startup teams looking to tap into Manchester’s startup scene. Being in a coworking space allows us to be at the heart of the scene and truly understand the growth needs of the startups we work alongside.

 

Knowing where you can find the best companies, facilities and coffee can be a real advantage. Here’s our pick of the bunch…

 

Accelerate Places MCR

Beehive Lofts

Biohub

Central Working Deansgate

Citylabs 1.0 – MSP

Colony Co-working

Headspace Manchester

Innospace – Manchester Metropolitan University

Madlab

The Sharp Project

The Assembly

OpenSpace

Old Granada Studios (OGS)

SpacePort X

The Landing

 

Places to Meet

We love hopping in the Growthmobile and meeting with new startups across Manchester. As a result, we’ve found some great spots across the city to to meet for a coffee (or a beer after 5pm) and chat about growth hacking.

 

Got a recommendation? Get in touch!