Software and technology experts from around the world have gathered in Middlesbrough to speak at an inaugural tech conference.

Middlesbrough Front End 2023 took place at Middlesbrough Town Hall and in the course of the day-long conference, 200 attendees heard from ten speakers from household names such as Spotify, Monzo and Shopify.

Organiser Lewis Morris said: “Bringing hundreds of people together for one day in Middlesbrough was awe-inspiring, and this was the first event of its kind to be ran in Middlesbrough at this scale.

“The whole day was a huge success, but highlights included speaker Jake Archibald, formerly of Google and now working at e-commerce giant Shopify, introducing himself by sharing his TeesEXPO profile from the early 2000s when he graduated from Teesside University.

“It was also great to hear from Teessider Sarah Heward, who delivered a powerful and impactful talk about the effects of digital poverty on children in Teesside and how tech companies can come together to do more to solve this issue.”

Fellow organiser Jamie Bradley added: “Times are tough for many people at the moment, so we were pleased to be able to keep ticket prices down.

Tickets for this year were priced at just £85 each, which represented incredible value for money; most speakers on the lineup are often talking at events which charge two or even three times that.

“Afterwards, we all celebrated with an afterparty, and the leftover food from this was donated to a local foodbank.”

Attendee Danni Young, a software developer at Datum 360, said: “Middlesbrough Front End’s first conference was excellent.

“They brought together some of the best speakers for a day of knowledge sharing and networking, all right on our doorstep here in Middlesbrough.”

Save the date – Middlesbrough Front End Conference will return to the Town Hall Crypt next year on 17 July 2024. Tickets will remain under £100.

Middlesbrough based WordPress agency, Big Bite, has been recognised by The Sunday Times as one of the best places to work in the UK.

The agency has been named in the prestigious Best Places to Work (10-49 employees) list with nine other companies, as well as being highly commended in the Best Place to Work for Employee Wellbeing award alongside tails.com, CGI and Quooker, with a wellbeing engagement score of 98%.

The Sunday Times Best Places to Work list is compiled using an employee experience survey, covering WorkL’s six key drivers of engagement; Reward and Recognition, Information Sharing, Empowerment, Pride, Job Satisfaction and Wellbeing. It is supported by a written submission from the company detailing all of the company’s benefits and employee initiatives.

Big Bite’s COO, Sarah McCormick, spoke of the news and said: “To say that we’re thrilled about featuring on The Sunday Times Best Places to Work list would be an understatement. To be recognised in the list is an amazing achievement, but to be highly commended for our employee wellbeing initiatives has blown us away.”

The news comes as the nation marks Mental Health Awareness Week – a national event which aims to highlight mental wellbeing, tackle stigma, and explore how to create a society that prevents mental health problems from developing.

“The past few years have been challenging for everyone in so many different ways, but we’ve worked hard to adapt, and together with our team we’ve identified and implemented numerous new initiatives including hybrid working, increased pension contributions, flexible hours, personal development budgets, and a wide range of wellbeing support. We’ve also recently introduced free healthy lunches for our team, provided by a local meal prep company, and we’ve removed probation periods for new starters so everyone at Big Bite enjoys the same level of benefits and job security from day one.”

A leading enterprise WordPress agency, Big Bite employs almost 30 people in central Middlesbrough and produces digital publishing systems and tools for major global brands including News Corp, Gumtree, and Amnesty International. The company is the only agency in the UK to hold the prestigious WordPress VIP Gold status.

SeerBI, a leading Tees Valley based data science agency, is excited to announce the launch of Profesh.ai, an innovative AI-driven application that transforms text into professional and sophisticated content. Profesh.ai is designed to help businesses, recent graduates, and individuals improve their written communication by refining language and ensuring a polished tone. 

Built on OpenAI’s cutting-edge GPT-4 API, Profesh.ai delivers high-quality text that is accurate, concise, and grammatically correct. The platform’s advanced natural language processing capabilities enable improved language understanding, better contextual analysis, and enhanced performance. With support for multiple languages, Profesh.ai caters to a diverse user base and ensures clear communication across various cultural and linguistic contexts. 

Profesh.ai provides a wide range of applications, from crafting professional emails and reports to enhancing marketing materials, ensuring that users leave a lasting positive impression through their written communication. 

Steve Dougan, Head of Enterprise at Teesside University, has praised Profesh.ai’s effectiveness, stating that “Profesh.ai is the ideal solution to ensure that your text is as professional as you are; it’s like having a professional copywriter available 24/7.” 

By leveraging state-of-the-art AI technology and a future-ready tech stack, SeerBI has created an invaluable tool for individuals and organizations looking to elevate their written communication. To learn more about Profesh.ai and how it can transform your content, visit their website.

About SeerBI 
Based in the North East SeerBI provide Business Intelligence, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence (AI) & Big Data  Development methods to create actionable solutions and make the industry more efficient with an award-winning team in Maritime, Logistics & Industry. 

After a year of growth, Salesfire celebrated two victories on Thursday, being named 46th in
the top 100 fastest-growing tech companies in the north, along with CEO, Rich Himsworth
taking home the title of Business Leader of the Year at the inaugural Tees Business Awards.


The top 100 fastest-growing tech companies in the north list is part of The Northern Tech
Awards, which are in their tenth year, as they showcase and celebrate the fastest-growing
tech companies in the North of the UK. The list rankings were revealed on Thursday 20th
April at the Assembly Rooms in Edinburgh.


Analysis from GP Bullhound revealed that the Top 100 fastest-growing tech companies in
the North recorded an average growth rate of 42%.


Chief Marketing Officer at Salesfire, Josh McGregor, said: “Making it into the top 50
fastest–growing businesses is a milestone for Salesfire, having worked to get the company
to where it is today, this feels like the recognition we’ve been striving for.”


Back in Teesside, Salesfire’s CEO, Rich Himsworth, was named Business Leader of the
Year at the first Tees Business Awards.


Last year was the year Salesfire secured a Series-A investment round of £3.05 million –
secured from a number of private investors, impressed by the rapid growth, plans for
international expansion and the ability to run it all from a central HQ in the North East.
Rich has grown Salesfire to a team of 60 staff, and is currently expanding the business into
the US.


The winners were revealed on Thursday 20 April at Hardwick Hall in Sedgefield.
Rich commented: “It’s an honour to be named Business Leader of the Year, but building this
business wouldn’t be possible without the support of the team around me.

Europe’s most sought-after experts in web development are headlining a conference in Middlesbrough that will bring together digital pioneers from around the country.

Middlesbrough Front End will feature guest slots from representatives of Google, Spotify and Shopify among others.

The 200-capacity event at Middlesbrough Town Hall will include live demos and networking on July 19.

The exciting day of activities – which will attract talent from the town’s own booming digital sector – is followed by an evening social event at the thriving PlayBrew taproom.

The digital sector is a key employer in Middlesbrough with over 1.500 jobs supported.

Firms headquartered in the town are doing businesses with worldwide brands on the global stage including Microsoft, Sony, and FIFA, to name a few.

MC for the event will be Shopify’s Senior UX Manager Gavin Elliott.

Google’s Jake Archibald returns to Middlesbrough Front End by popular demand and this year will deliver ‘Bringing Page Transitions to the Web’.

Sophie Koonin of Monzo will talk building a virtual synthesiser in JavaScript, with other guests and final details of topics to be confirmed.

Due to high demand early bird tickets have already sold out but standard tickets are now on sale priced at £165.

Organisers Lewis Morris and Jamie Bradley said in a statement: “We started Middlesbrough Front End in 2019 with one goal: to invite the best in web development to Middlesbrough and spread their knowledge amongst our incredible community.

“We have smashed this goal with our conference. It is a massive opportunity for us to put Middlesbrough on the map and bring top-quality speakers to our doorstep, something we feel Middlesbrough has needed for a long time.

“We have secured speakers from some of the biggest tech companies in the world, delivering excellent content about modern approaches to web development, making this event an absolute must. We can’t wait to see you there.”

Middlesbrough Front End is sponsored by Stack Up Digital and Middlesbrough Digital For All.

To purchase tickets or find out more visit www.middlesbroughfe.co.uk

New co-working space Flok is the latest tenant to move into Albert North, Middlesbrough’s most vibrant business community.

The 5,000 sq ft Flok office, which has capacity for 200 people, will be managed by integrated digital agency Alt Labs, who have a permanent office in the building.

Having experienced first-hand the benefits of co-working spaces in London and other big cities, Alt Labs CEO & Founder Imran Anwar has spent the last two years working on his vision for a world-class co-working space for Teesside.

“We viewed various locations to open the first Flok, and once we looked around Albert North, we knew straight away it was right.

“Being able to take such a large space meant it was very flexible, and we could build everything to match our vision. The location, surrounded by some of Middlesbrough’s most innovative digital and creative businesses, is the perfect match for the audience we’re looking to attract to Flok.”, said Imran.

Jomast has spent the last four years transforming Albert Road into Albert North. With the support of Middlesbrough Council, the area has benefited from significant regeneration, with many of the town’s iconic buildings renovated to create a bustling commercial district. It’s now a thriving business community and home to a number of world-leading companies and local independents.

“Teesside has a wealth of talent across the creative and digital sector, and it’s vital we retain that talent by providing them with aspirational, flexible workspaces that will support their growth and help them thrive”, added Imran.

Designed in conjunction with local interior design studio Cocoon & Bauer and fitted out by Jomast, Flok offers a purpose-built auditorium, a fully-equipped podcast room, meeting rooms, individual work pods, and a members-only café with a Modbar coffee system.

With several levels of tiered membership available, the versatile office space offers daily hot-desking and dedicated desks. Benefits include lunch and learn events, high-speed, secure wi-fi, bike storage and concierge services.

Mark Hill, commercial property director at Jomast, said: “Flok is a fantastic addition to Albert North and the space looks incredible. Its ambitious and welcoming approach to co-working is perfectly suited to our ever-expanding digital and creative community of high-profile businesses, including Big Bite, Wander Films, Salesfire, Sock Monkey, Techquity and Mabo.

With only four remaining upper floors available at 28/32 Albert Road, Jomast is focused on attracting smaller independents and food and beverage operators to the remaining ground floor units.

“We already have Pie Jackers, Alkaline Kitchen, King B, Salon Twenty-One, Derma Advanced Aesthetics and Artemis Cards at Albert North, and we would like to add more service operators such as independent retailers, cafes, bars and restaurants,” added Mark.

Businesses relocating to Albert North can take advantage of perks such as high-speed broadband, rent incentives and free public health initiatives for all staff. Anyone interested in leasing units should contact Jomast directly on 01642 666 936 or visit the Albert North website for more details.

Middlesbrough based games developer and publisher Double Eleven have announced they have tripled the size of their team, having welcomed their 300th employee.

It’s a significant milestone for the company, as it had already doubled its staff throughout the pandemic and opened an additional studio in Kuala Lumpur.

The 300th employee is Katie Atkins, who joins the company as Operations Assistant from the British bank Santander.

Katie said: “I’m thrilled to be joining Double Eleven. My partner works here as a junior programmer, he’s been with the company for two years, and he’s often talking about how great it is, so I already knew it was an incredibly special place to work.

“My new role is different to my previous job, but Double Eleven recognised my previous skills and experience were exactly what they were looking for.”

Originally from London, Katie moved to Teesside a couple of years ago when the rest of her family relocated.

“Friends from London often ask me why I would want to move here, but I’m so glad I did. There are lots of opportunities, the scenery is fantastic, there is so much to do, and now I’m working for one of the world’s biggest games developers and publishers,” added Katie.

Double Eleven’s recent growth has resulted from recruiting world-class talent locally, nationally, and internationally from America, Japan, Europe, and many other countries. And the company has brought experience from outside the games industry to support its scale of growth.

Lee Hutchinson, founder and CEO of Double Eleven, said, “The scale and complexity of the projects we have been working on have resulted in us tripling the size of our team in the past 18 months, which is phenomenal.

We’ve achieved this growth because we actively recruit people who have the right capabilities and experience, regardless of their games sector experience.

With 300 employees, Double Eleven is now one of the top three independent games publishers and developers headquartered in the UK. Trusted with some of the world’s biggest IPs, it is currently collaborating on Minecraft Dungeons with Mojang Studios, Prison Architect with Paradox Interactive, and Fallout 76 with Bethesda Game Studios, as well as working on other unannounced projects for Switch, Xbox Series S/X and PlayStation 5.

Opportunities at Double Eleven are available across various disciplines within the UK and Kuala Lumpur. To find out more, visit www.double11.com/careers.

Salesfire, the AI-driven, eCommerce software company, has announced a number of moves
in the business, appointing six new directors to build their C-suite.

The roles of Chief Operating Officer, Chief Marketing Officer, Chief Technology Officer, Chief
Customer Officer, Chief Sales Officer and Chief Information Officer have been established to
further accelerate growth in 2022 and years to come. These new board members will play a
critical role in the company’s expansion and demand for its offerings.

Five of the six appointments are internal promotions within the company. Charlie Gibson,
promoted from Head of Operations to COO, Josh McGregor, promoted from Head of
Marketing to CMO, Elliot Lings promoted from Head of Product to CTO, James Lees,
promoted from Head of Client Services to CCO and Stephen Honor, promoted from Head of
Technology to CIO.

Salesfire has also acquired Martin Walker, who has joined the team as CSO, having
previously worked as Sales Director at Visualsoft.

The fast-growing tech company has plans to scale this year, which involves branching out
overseas. CEO, Rich Himsworth said, “We recognise the potential of how far we can take
the growth of Salesfire, so appointing a board of directors gears us up to take things to the
next level.”

“Our new directors have extensive experience in the eCommerce industry, with knowledge of
SaaS offerings and customers’ needs. This move will set the precedent for Salesfire’s teams,
with good leaders in place, the team will be in the best position to reach new heights.”

Salesfire has grown rapidly over the past few years, having won Company of the Year in last
year’s Tees Tech Awards, expanding offices during a pandemic and rewarding staff efforts
with their employee share scheme. With plans to reach more than £10m turnover in the next
three years, Salesfire is planning to double its headcount in the next 12 months to reach this
target.

Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston has welcomed a new employer to the town as its new recruits get down to work.

Established customer services business Echo-U has opened its third UK base at Boho Zero, close to the railway station.

Mayor Preston visited the firm to hear more about their plans to recruit 150 full-time staff on permanent contacts.

Team leader and customer services roles are available with Echo-U also requiring an operations manager.

Staff will mainly work on Echo-U’s JD Sports contract.

Mayor Preston said: “It’s great that Echo-U have decided set up base in Middlesbrough.

“They’ve got lots of jobs available at different levels and I’d encourage anyone looking for work to get in touch with them.

“We’re working flat out to transform our town centre so it has the right mix of work, living, learning and leisure.

“Echo-U’s arrival at Boho Zero is another small piece of that jigsaw and I’m very happy to welcome them here.”

Echo-U co-director David Blakey said: “We’ve found exactly what we were looking for in Middlesbrough.

“We have a great office space and access to the staff we need in an ambitious town with a plan for the future.”

Fellow co-director Diana Bourke said: “We had a warm welcome at a recruitment fair in the town and have already had lots of positive interest in the roles.

“It’s a pleasure to set up a new base and we hope to put strong roots down in Middlesbrough and be part of the town’s success.”

The Council has thanked building owner Python Properties for their role in bringing Echo-U to the town.

Echo-U already employs more than 500 people across its Newcastle headquarters and a site in Bournemouth.

Independent film company, Ithica Films, is continuing its steady growth with six new appointments to its Middlesbrough team.

The award-winning firm, which specialises in creating remarkable films and documentaries for brands, has welcomed six new recruits to its filmmaking, operations and management team.

Paula McGough returns as director following maternity leave while Kevin Firman takes up the post of head of finance and operations. Both will enhance Ithica’s leadership team and focus on growing the business after the pandemic.

Ithica’s filmmaking capacity will be bolstered by cinematographer Joe Macdonald, who has a background in features and TV filming and worked on Oscar-winning film Judy, and London Metropolitan University graduate Sam Harrop as a dedicated editor.

Kara Wilson and Pennie Sharp will become permanent filmmakers following a Teesside University internship and content creator apprenticeship, respectively, and will work across all filming disciplines.

The recruitment drive follows Ithica’s move to new premises on Marsh Street in April 2021, which saw it expand its base to six times the size of its previous home. The 8,000 sq ft space is being completely renovated to include ten editing suites, a studio, production offices and a creative suite, plus high-speed digital infrastructure, soundproofing and cinematography equipment.

Matt McGough, Managing Director of Ithica, said: “I’m so pleased to welcome a mix of experience and new talent to the Ithica team with these six oustanding people. Their fantastic skills and passion for filmmaking will help us provide even bigger and better films for our clients.

“We’ve settled into our new studio really well and are excited about the opportunities the extra space and facilities give us to work with clients across the world. It’s opened up a lot of new ways of developing the company further and increasing our creative capabilities.”

Since its creation seven years ago, Ithica has grown year-on-year and now has  a global client base that includes Anglo American, Newcastle Building Society, thyssenkrupp, Port of Middlesbrough, PD Ports and Venator.

So far this year, Ithica has delivered key projects for OSBIT, Centre for LIfe, Clipper and Great North Air Ambulance.

Ithica Films also works closely with local schools and colleges to nurture the next generation of filmmaking talent. It sponsors Middlesbrough College’s film studio and supports nearby Northern School of Art with student placements and use of its studio space.