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The North East has a rapidly growing digital sector, with an increasing number of businesses paving the way with innovative new applications for digital and tech.

Over the last couple of weeks we’ve got to know the Energy, Manufacturing and Healthcare businesses driving change in their sectors and featuring in the Innovation Showcase at VentureFest North East.

With the conference taking place next week on 17 March, today we look at three digital businesses who are using technology to disrupt how we move money, understand our customers and manage end-of-life admin.

Meet the Innovators


Settld is transforming deathcare and the end-of-life journey for bereaved individuals and professionals who support them. The platform automates cross-industry death notifications and manages administration through to resolution. Settld plans to transform into an end-to-end deathcare preparation tool and marketplace for end-of-life services, bringing compassion, transparency, and efficiency to an industry long in need of disruption.

The team has experience across start-up, private and public sectors, and is backed by an expert panel of advisors. It has won £283,000 in non-diluting grant funding and is raising its first seed round to help capitalise on its early successes.


Wordnerds is a software as a service (SaaS) platform that genuinely understands language, delivering metrics-led insight from unstructured text... in all its misspelt, sarcastic glory.

Traditional 'social listening' software does a great job with quantitative data (likes and impressions) but has never been good at understanding text. Their word clouds are meaningless and their abstract sentiment scores are unactionable.

As a result, brands have had no way of understanding what customers really think, on social or in reviews, customer complaint data, surveys and chat.

Wordnerds is different.

Using the very latest artificial (AI) and neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) techniques, its software groups ideas by meaning—not vocabulary—and links sentiment to topics.


Better banking, without the bank.

Bottlepay allows people to be part of a growing cashless society in a way that suits them. Instant payments are facilitated in conventional currencies and Bitcoin, meaning users can transact with as little as a penny.

The app also enables seamless social payments with a single tweet, message or post on social media platforms such as Twitter, Reddit and Discord. Bottlepay’s open payment network aims to bring change to the digital economy by making digital micropayments and cross border transactions viable by vastly reducing the excessive fees usually encountered with the incumbent payment rails.

Taking place entirely online for the first time, VentureFest North East will focus on bringing businesses practical advice and opportunities for support against the backdrop of COVID-19, with a focus on using innovation to build resilient and sustainable business models.

The Innovation Showcase is one of VentureFest’s most inspirational elements. It is delivered by the Innovation SuperNetwork in partnership with the North East BIC’s Innovation Programme. This year delegates can vote for their favourite innovation, with the most popular announced as ‘Innovation of the Year’ at the North East Innovation Awards.

In a change to previous years, the showcase will also make up the shortlist for North East Innovation Awards’ sector specific categories, with winners decided by an independent industry panel in advance. All winners will be announced at VentureFest.

VentureFest North East takes place on Wednesday 17 March 2021. To register for your FREE place visit:

VentureFest North East is part of the wider Catalysing Innovation in North East Cluster Project delivered by the Innovation SuperNetwork. The SuperNetwork is supported by the North East LEP, Northumbrian Water Group, North East BIC and P&G, with part-funding from the European Regional Development Fund. 

Neina Sheldon
Article by Neina Sheldon
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