Neville Roberts from Planixs, part of Manchester's fast-growth tech cluster
Neville Roberts from Planixs, part of Manchester's fast-growth tech cluster, says that access to talent has been key to the firm's success

Access to talent fuels Manchester’s fast-growth tech cluster

Greater Manchester’s fast-growth tech cluster owes its success to the ready availability of technology and talent, according to the region’s tech leaders.

Neville Roberts is Chief Executive and co-founder of Manchester FinTech software company Planixs, which recently ranked at number 22 in the Sunday Times Tech Track 100 list of the UK’s fastest growing tech firms based on revenue growth over three years.

In total, eight Greater Manchester companies were among 11 North West businesses within the top 100, the biggest concentration outside London.

“We started with just two people and have now grown to around 50 people,” Roberts said. “We moved into the middle of Manchester earlier this year, predominantly to access the right talent and to get hold of the technology we need. It’s been a great move and it’s a great place to work.

“Manchester has the right ingredients to be successful; big businesses have moved here recently so there is a draw for tech talent. The city also has a vibrant and fresh feel to it, people like living here and come to work with a smile.”

Planixs, a provider of analytical, forecasting and modelling software solutions with headquarters in Albert Square, Manchester, says it is leading the charge in how the latest cloud enabled technology is transforming the banking industry. It is a prime example of the tech innovators shaping the sector in the region.

The Creative, Digital and Technology sector contributes £4.1bn (GVA) to the Greater Manchester Economy and employs over 84,575 people – making it one of the region’s biggest industries.

Alongside a talent pool including staff at some of the biggest names in technology, the region boasts four major universities producing a steady pipeline of future tech talent. Significant new tech investment within Greater Manchester includes new bases for Moonpig, The Hut Group, Amazon and GCHQ, while Aviva Investors is investing £300m to support Allied London’s Enterprise City development on the site of the former Granada television studios in the St John’s area, with the aim of supporting a new community for the technology, digital, media and creative industries.

Technology companies are also being attracted to the region thanks to the strengths of MediaCityUK, which has helped to transform Salford Quays since welcoming major broadcasters the BBC and ITV alongside tech firms including TalkTalk and Tech Mahindra.

Greater Manchester’s role in the creative and digital industry was also recognised when the city was named in the top 20 European Digital City Index, noting strong university courses in computer science, and the region’s digital infrastructure.

Paying tribute to Planixs and other members of Greater Manchester fast-growth tech cluster, Andrew Toolan, Head of Business Development – Creative, Digital and Tech - at MIDAS, said: “The creative and digital tech sector is enormously important to the Greater Manchester economy, it’s great to see companies like Planixs thriving in Manchester, I think they’re a really good example of a business that’s come in, grown and is thriving within the community.

“The future of Manchester is really exciting, we’re the city that led the world’s first industrial revolution, and we can now lead the next digital revolution. We’re seeing huge growth across sectors like e-commerce, cybersecurity and existing strengths in broadcast media, and we want to position ourselves as a truly smart city.

“We have the skills, infrastructure and the talent base and all the right elements in the ecosystem to make creative, digital and tech businesses a success, and MIDAS can help companies expand and guide them through their next phase of growth.”

Lou Cordwell, CEO of magneticNorth and board member of the Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “The impressive rates of growth we’re witnessing are evidence of Manchester’s position as leading centre for the Creative, Digital and Tech sector as well as for those businesses outside of this sector but with strong digital ambitions.

“The sector contributes £4.1bn GVA to Greater Manchester’s economy, with nearly 1,600 tech start-ups formed in 2016 and many more since.

“Attracting, developing and retaining tech talent will be of vital importance in achieving our ambitions as a city region and that means that we must continue to invest in desirable and affordable transport and housing as well as our cultural offering, to maintain the city’s burgeoning reputation as a great place to live.”

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