Leeds-based James Gupta, one of the Top 100 Asian Stars in UK Tech 2017, was last night (16th November 2017)  announced as one of the 10 winners of the Tech North Northern Stars after a Dragon’s Den style pitching event hosted by Martin Bryant. James Gupta’s  company Synap is an intelligent platform that uses machine learning to help students and professionals to learn more in less time.

Although around 25% of the applicants were non-white with Omar Rahim of Energi Mine, Aman Sharma of Modyst and James Gupta of Synap, among the 20 finalists pitching on the day, there was criticism of the final 10 all male winners of this year’s competition which was judged by Suzanne Ashman of LocalGlobe, James Foster of ADV, Sarah Turner of Angel Academe and investor Keith Wallington.

In a blog Esme Caulfield clarified the selection process, saying:

“We received fully-completed applications from 107 startups. Of the people who filled in the applications, around 25 percent were non white, and around 11 percent were female.

“Our 20 finalists were selected by an independent panel, entirely on the merit of their businesses, not who would be pitching. What’s more, some companies with female co-founders chose to field a man to pitch instead.

However, in the end it is the businesses, not the people, that win Northern Stars. Our judges selected the companies based on their business potential and the strength of their pitch. All companies had the opportunity to attend free pitch training workshops to help them prepare.”

Tech North Northern Stars 2017

Tech North Northern Stars 2017

The winners:

BigChange – The paperless way to plan, manage, schedule and track any mobile workforce. [Leeds]

Membr – Connecting the fitness industry with its members, helping inspire, educate and motivate them to a healthier lifestyle. [Manchester]

Nivo – The fastest, safest, and most cost effective way for service providers to talk to customers. [Cheshire]

Relative Insight – Helping brands choose the best language to use with their target audience. [Lancaster]

Ruler Analytics – Closing the loop between leads and revenue. The platform matches real customer form-fills, live chat and phone calls, against the marketing campaign and keyword from which they were generated. [Liverpool]

Sport:80 – A cloud-based platform designed to enable sports organisations to simplify the way they work and deliver online services to members. [Sheffield]

Synap – An intelligent platform that uses machine learning to help students and professionals to learn more in less time. [Leeds]

Technically Compatible – Helping tech recruiters make better hires and CTOs build better teams, by giving them a 360-degree view of potential IT hires via an innovative skills assessment platform. [Sunderland]

Tutora – Helping students and parents find the best local tutors for private, one-to-one tuition. [Sheffield]

VYPR – Enabling fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) businesses to turn product innovation into a science, ensuring successful outcomes of the product development process, every time. [Manchester]

Sponsors of the Northern Stars were Accelerate Places, Amazon Web Services, Barclays and EY.