Cornwall-based audio and ebook app xigxag has won a major award for being one of the most innovative tech companies in the UK.
The Gunnislake-headquartered company has been announced as a Tech Nation 4.0 Rising Stars winner. It is the first time a business associated with the publishing industry has won with Tech Nation.
The win acknowledges xigxag’s unique proposition in modernising audio and e-books. Tech Nation’s annual awards, now in their fourth year, “recognises the brightest and best early stage tech scale-ups”.
With more than 26,000 downloads since launching, the start-up is on a fast growth pathway, challenging other firms in the field and now xigxag is leading the revolution in modernising digital consumption of books with the most advanced digital book platform offering the first fully integrated listen-and-read experience without a subscription, which is called the x-book.
It’s catalogue holds more than 95% of the Sunday Times bestseller list, with users enjoying the dexterity of flipping from listening to reading at their ease without being locked into an ongoing subscription. Readers are rewarded with better prices as they enjoy more books.
Kelli Fairbrother, co-founder and chief executive at xigxag, said: “It is an absolute honour for xigxag to be recognised as one of the most innovative tech start-ups in the UK in 2022.
“Our aim has always been to make reading easier and more accessible, engaging, and sustainable so that everyone can enjoy more books. We are grateful to receive recognition for creating the first-ever listen-and-read concept, the best-ever digital reading app and content platform in the industry – an exciting alternative to big tech.
“We are also proud to represent the tremendous potential of Cornwall as an innovation hub within the UK tech ecosystem. Thanks to Tech Nation, our team and all our supporters.”
The Cornish company is one of 10 winners chosen from more than 400 applications whittled down to 55 regional winners then 20 finalists.
It had to demonstrate the essential ingredients of being a fast-growth scaleup including a passion for innovation, purposeful disruption and proven innovation.
Financially, it was tasked to show it had attracted more investment in 2022, than during the whole of 2021 and 2020. This key milestone is fundamental to set the firm on course for growth and place it in a position to help fuel tech industry stability, growth, and promote a stronger UK economy, society and future. Furthermore, the xigxag team had to evidence their intent and progress on diversity, inclusion and net zero ambitions
Mark Chaplin, co-founder, and chief technical officer, said: “It certainly is a fantastic end to the financial year. We have made incredible progress in building and improving the xigxag app and underlying tech-enabled content platform. We’ve expanded our development team and recently celebrated more than 26,000 downloads. The audiobook market is continuing to flourish, the format is adored by a broader demographic than in previous years and is still on track for huge growth.”
Esme Caulfield, competitions lead at Tech Nation, said: “I’m really excited to see xigxag as one of this year’s Rising Stars 4.0 Winners. Their innovative digital reading app and ambitious vision has truly set them apart at every stage of the competition. I wish them every success in their future and look forward to following their scaling journey.”
Cornwall’s xigxag – and all of the 10 Rising Stars 4.0 winners – will continue to be supported by the UK tech ecosystem as they are inducted into the Tech Nation alumni network. Recognising and empowering all of the winners of the Rising Stars competition is at the core of Tech Nation’s mission to fuel the growth of tech scaleups who are helping us create a stronger UK economy, society and future.
Business Live’s South West Business Reporter is William Telford. William has more than a decade’s experience reporting on the business scene in Plymouth and the South West. He is based in Plymouth but covers the entire region.
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Tech Nation said xigxag’s success as an early-stage tech company is reflective of the strength and growth of the South West’s tech sector, which received US$425m in venture capital investment funding in 2021 and is home to three of the UK’s tech “unicorns” (companies valued at US$1bn-plus). Tech startups and scaleups in the region currently employ more than 78,000 people and this number is growing rapidly.
This year’s winners were selected by a panel of seven judges – industry experts with extensive experience in starting and scaling tech businesses – including Emma Jones, founder of Enterprise Nation; Nahu Ghrebremichael, partner at Singular Ventures; and Jess Jackson, head of investment at GC Angels. Tech Nation has partnered with multinational law firm Pinsent Masons to deliver Rising Stars 4.0.