Regional accolades for three high-flying local tech companies
Three tech firms in fields from ecommerce to sports facilities have been named Northern Ireland regional winners in a UK-wide competition.
Bluesona, Péarlaí and Pitchbooking have triumphed in the regional final of Rising Stars, the early-stage tech scale-up competition.
Rising Stars is run by Tech Nation, the Government body promoting the tech industry.
Péarlaí in Newry delivers shopper analytics and marketing capability to shopping centre operators, retailers and brand owners.
Bluesona in Belfast builds insurance products which are said to deter "distracted" driving and incentivise safe on-road behaviour.
And Pitchbooking aims to simplify the bookings process for sports facilities.
According to the company, its system eliminates the administration of managing facilities, increases bookings for facilities, and as a consequence, helps get local populations more active.
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Three companies were shortlisted - gofyt, OBBI Solutions and Oroson. OBBI Solutions also won an award at the Belfast Telegraph IT Awards this month.
According to a Tech Nation report earlier this year, digital tech businesses here are delivering turnover of £1.3bn every year. There are 1,600 tech businesses locally, with productivity per worker put at £85,000.
Gary Davidson, entrepreneur engagement manager for Northern Ireland at Tech Nation, said: "Northern Ireland may be small on the map, but we certainly know tech. It has gained a reputation as one of the most accessible and exciting places to start and scale a tech company.
"Collaboration and innovation are at the heart of our tech ecosystem. Culturally local founders want to help each to succeed and compete across the globe."
He added: "The year we have a record number of submissions across all sectors within the NI tech space for the Rising Stars competition."
Pitchbooking was founded by Fearghal Campbell and Chris McCann, while Bluesona was founded by Mel Morrison, Denis Bourne and Oliver Ferris. Péarlaí was founded by Peter McCaul, Jim Finnegan and Wayne McComb.
Mr Morrison said: "This is fantastic news, it's absolutely brilliant to be selected as one of the winners for Northern Ireland."