Two groundbreaking Birmingham-based businesses have made the shortlist of an inaugural awards scheme celebrating the best of UK new tech firms.

Online food app innovators and language learning product specialists Flashsticks make up two of the three Midlands finalists in the TechCities Awards.

Both companies have received investment from Midven, one of the UK’s leading venture capital specialists, also based in Birmingham.

There are a total of 14 awards up for grabs for regional technology clusters across the UK. They are open to newcomer, innovator, scale-up and tech businesses. The shortlist was made up from more than 200 applications from across the UK.

Flashsticks and Whisk make up two of the awards for the Midlands category, together with Deep-Secure, who provide online security products.

The awards are designed to celebrate the UK’s next generation of digital businesses, and winners will be announced at the TechCities Awards ceremony, to be held in London on November 26.

Gio Finocchio, investment manager at Midven, said the recognition was testament to how far both companies had come in such a relatively small space of time.

He said: “Whisk has now rolled out international versions of its app to 11 countries, so they’re genuinely making an impact on the world stage, whilst Flashsticks have developed their language learning notes from a simple idea to supplying household names such as Tesco. And both continue to go from strength to strength.”

Midven’s investment through its Early Advantage fund helped Flashsticks manufacture its full product range and take its idea to market, whilst with Whisk the investment helped fund the development of the technology and its marketing strategy.

Whisk’s founder and CEO Nick Holzherr said: “It’s a huge honour to be recognised as a leading digital business in the Midlands and the recognition further spurs us to keep innovating. We continue to enhance our platform to empower people to make better decision about food – something that’s hugely important for every person for health, financial and ecological reasons.”

Flashsticks chief executive Veejay Lingiah said: We now have a team of 12 people based at the Innovation Birmingham campus, and we’re currently heavily focused on the new FlashSticks language learning app. It’s great that the efforts of the whole team are being recognised via awards such as this.”


About Midven

Midven is the leading Midlands-based provider of venture capital funding to early stage and established businesses. The Birmingham-based venture capital firm currently manages five funds representing a total of £76m under management.   The funds have invested in a wide variety of sectors including software, biotechnology, healthcare, engineering, manufacturing and distribution. The Midven team has an established reputation for delivering solid commercial experience and creative business solutions to help their portfolio companies achieve exceptional outcomes.  

For more information, please visit or follow @Midven on Twitter.

About is a leading recipe finder and free shopping list app that makes the journey from online recipe inspiration and meal planning to real-life shopping a whole lot easier. Across thousands of online recipes, Whisk seamlessly displays a “Create a smart shopping list,” converting recipe ingredients into digital shopping lists that can be uploaded to online grocery trolleys at  Tesco, Ocado, Waitrose and Asda, or viewed on mobile devices to help users shop in store.

Whisk accolades include ranking in UK’s Top 100 Startups 2015 and a Talent Unleashed award, a Cisco British Innovation Gateway award, The Grocer’s “Top New Talent” and winner of PPA Digital’s “Newcomer of the Year”. Whisk’s free supermarket shopping list app is currently available for download on the iTunes and Android App Stores. It is also available as a browser plug-in.

Whisk was launched in January 2013 and was founded by Nick Holzherr, who raised funding for the venture after pitching the business to Lord Sugar as a finalist on the 2012 BBC TV series The Apprentice. Whisk is headquartered in Birmingham, United Kingdom.

For more information on Whisk, please visit or follow @WhiskTeam on Twitter.